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The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change. Carl Rogers

@ Peace Counselling Blog

Thoughts and ideas on mental health.

How hard is it to be a new parent?

 

                       

You’ve had nine months to prepare for your first child. Be excited. Worry. Scans, tests and appointments fill your diary. Your bathroom cupboard groans with indigestion medicine.

The last month drags by as baby paraphernalia slowly fills your house.

Then it’s the day you’ve been waiting for.

Whether you have a natural birth or C-section, pain relief or none, labour that goes as you expected or hoped, or not, eventually your child is born.

Suddenly you’re a parent. 

The first three months of parenthood are really hard

For most new parents, the first three months are really tough. Depending on if you have family support or paid help, this can be a very difficult time for any parent.

All that pre-birth chat about no sleep? That’s true. You will probably not be able to tell day from night for a good few weeks as you will be feeding, sleeping, cuddling, rocking, soothing and thinking “what on earth is the matter?” around the clock. Some days you’ll be proud of yourself if you have time to clean your teeth and get in to (somewhat) clean clothes.

As well as sleep deprivation, new mums will be chock full of hormones. It’s usual to be worried about being a new parent and all that brings. You may feel overwhelming love for your baby, and also terror about having to look after something so fragile and precious. Mood changes, being irritable and tearful are common after giving birth, so don’t be ashamed or embarrassed at having these feelings. After all, your life has changed beyond all recognition. You may feel lonely. Sometimes – once you’ve got used to your new way of life – you may even feel bored.

Whatever the age of your baby, it’s good to talk about how you feel to your partner if you have one, friends and family, and accept all the support you’re offered. You’d be surprised how many people feel the same way as you do.

Remember, you don’t need to be super-mum. Good enough is good enough!

It is very hard to be a new parent. Every day make sure you congratulate yourself for what you have achieved, and try not to dwell on what you haven’t done.

Postnatal depression is an illness. Do you need help?

 

 “I felt anxious, panicky and terrified of motherhood and no love for my baby at all. I was thinking I had made a dreadful mistake in having her.” – Liz Wise, The Independent Blog, 21.12.2012

There are usual feelings associated with being a new parent. These include huge surges of love and joy, terror, worry, anxiety about the future – sometimes all of these in an hour!

However, some feelings are actually symptoms of postnatal depression (PND) including low mood, inability to enjoy or look forward to anything, high anxiety levels, feeling unable to cope, irrational obsessional thoughts and difficulty sleeping.  This can start around six weeks after birth, but it’s often not apparent until six months later.  PND can also affect women who have previously given birth.

It’s sometimes hard for new mothers to admit to such feelings as they think it could be interpreted as if they don’t love their new baby or as if they are a bad mother.   However, postnatal depression is an illness. If you have it, it does not mean that you don’t love your baby. It just means you have an illness, and an illness which can be treated. If you suspect that that you – or anyone you know – may have PND then go and see your GP and they will be able to help. This can include offering self-help advice, talking therapies and medication.

If you need to talk, I am here to listen

 

 

If you’d like to talk to someone about how you are feeling, my door is always open. You may be feeling as if you are not sure who you are anymore; what’s your role in life?

  • Can you be a mum; wife or partner (if you're in a relationship), friend, working person and the person who you were before?
  • Is it normal to be so happy but also bored and lonely?
  • Is it normal to love your baby but want to go back to work quickly?
  • If you have a partner or are married, will you and your partner/husband stop bickering and feel in love again?
  • How can you cope with competitive parents who treat developmental milestones like a race?

If you need to talk, I am here to listen. You are not alone.

DEPRESSION
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