Parental Mental Health
As a parent, you are constantly worrying about the well-being of your baby and are conscious of establishing a healthy and happy home environment, your own mental health often comes last.
Many parents have their own personal struggles when becoming a parent. When a baby is born, there is much joy, love and often overpowering emotions. With plenty of attention from friends and family during this wonderful time, it’s a time of great celebration but also dramatic change. Many parents with a young baby report feelings of loneliness, loss of identity and self-doubt.
If this is you, you’re not alone. The dramatic change in parents’ lives when a baby arrives is not to be underestimated. No matter what your situation before your baby arrived, most parents experience extreme emotions from time to time, not helped by the lack of sleep that comes with a newborn baby. Birth mothers also have the physical recovery and hormonal fluctuations to cope with.
Loneliness and the feeling of losing your identity is common amongst new parents. It can just take time to adjust to being a parent, adding this to your identity.
Parents can feel this change keenly, feeling they have lost many aspects of their life:
- professional identity
- social life
- time for leisure activities and hobbies
- time with partner and friends
- time to just be alone
- structure and routine
It takes time to adjust, adding being a parent to who you are. Be kind to yourself and allow yourself time, having a baby happens quickly, adjusting to being a parent can take time. Avoid comparing yourself to others, your time as a new parent with your baby is unique to you as are all your experiences.
Talk to friends and family, join baby groups and get out when you can, share your feelings. You’ll find you’re not alone and this can be very reassuring.
If you’re struggling, reach out to your health professionals, contact your GP or Health Visitor and share your concerns. Mental health should not be stigmatised, we must support one another. If you are struggling, don’t feel guilty, prioritising yourself, your physical and mental health is important too.
Friends and family often talk about the baby as the focus and parents can feel more isolated, lonely and confused. If you have a friend or family member with a new baby, make sure to check in with them regularly. First ask how they are and then ask about the baby, little things make a lot of difference.
If you feel you need to reach out for advice or support, here are some suggestions:27 January 2023