Adjustment to life in the post natal period
Transition to becoming parents can be an emotional rollercoaster. Accessing support to restore and maintain positive mental health is essential. In the vulnerable postpartum period of the weeks and months after your baby is born into the world, it can feel like whatever you do is wrong or ‘not good enough’. The ‘I should be’ or ‘I shouldn’t be’ tendency can feel overpowering at times. Struggling with our mental health can leave us vulnerable to post natal depression and post partum anxiety.
When we enter this phase in our lives, the only thing that is absolutely certain is that wanting to become a parent or indeed having a baby changes everything, and life will never be the same again. This truth can feel overwhelming and create postpartum anxiety or post natal depression if we do not prioritise looking after ourselves as well as our newborn baby.
We talk about the birth of a mother and the birth of a father. Whilst being a parent is the real you, it is a part of you that never existed before. It is a new role requiring new skills and a completely new set of rules. What’s more, this new ‘job description’ can change on a weekly, sometimes a daily basis. Taking care of a newborn, especially if you have other children already requires a lot of juggling and much energy. Our post natal support service is there to guide you through any challenges you may face.
How common is post natal depression and postpartum anxiety
As many as 1 in 10 women can suffer post natal depression within the first year after giving birth. Postpartum anxiety is even more common at 1 in 5 women. Therefore it is vital that you remember that you are not alone and seek help and support as soon as possible.
But what about Dads? Just because you have not given birth themselves, partners need to look after their own post natal mental health. The presence of a new baby is a major life change for everyone involved. Men are thought to be most vulnerable to postnatal depression when their baby is 3-6 months old. Postpartum anxiety in dads is extremely common also as they are also working out how to negotiate this "new normal" in the early days and weeks.
Post natal support for the postpartum relationship
There are times when you may feel tired, occasionally overwhelmed and anxious about the changes, but allow time for you, your partner and your family to adjust to the new reality. It is important to manage your expectations of motherhood and fatherhood. Don’t expect perfection; you will make mistakes and not always get it right. It is important to give yourself the space to be human!
Having a baby offers you the opportunity to assess and reassess the meaning and purpose in your life, your identity as an individual and as a couple, your life’s goals and what your priorities are.
Whilst your life has undoubtedly changed and you are getting used to a new ‘normal’, make sure you make time for you and your partner. They are likely to be your greatest source and stability, so support each other in developing new routines and schedule in some time together whenever you can. Honest communication about what you need and what you are feeling can help prevent either parent suffering post natal depression or postpartum anxiety.
It is important that you have the right post natal support available to enable a smooth transition to parenthood so that you can enjoy the experience with your partner, any older children and your new baby. Don’t be afraid to ask friends and family for help and support on both an emotional and practical level.
There is no doubt that becoming a new parent can be fulfilling and enjoyable. However for some women and men it can continue to feel very daunting and overwhelming after the initial few days/weeks. They may benefit from professional help to adjust to their new lives as a mum and dad. If you find you are feeling low for long periods, unable to switch your worried mind off or struggling with gaining a sense of control over your life as a parent, seek external support. Knowing there is help available should you need it and wish to access it is important. Talking to someone impartial to your family situation can be incredibly liberating. Reaching out for help shows tremendous strength, it shows you have insight into your situation and are ready to move forward.
At easibirthing® Fertility to Parenthood we empower our clients to recognise and overcome unhelpful thoughts, and to gain a sense of control in their lives. We enable you to reassess your identity as an individual and as a couple, your life’s goals and what your priorities are.
We can help you to become ‘good enough’ parents, rather than striving for perfection. We can assist you to resist the temptation to criticize what you do and what you don’t do. To relax into your new role as a parent, whilst also keeping the juggling balls in the air of your individual needs, your needs as a couple as well as the needs of your new baby. Check out our ONLINE How to be a 'good enough' parent course which only takes 1 hour to complete in your own time and at your own pace.
As part of our post natal support service, we also work with parents to empower and support them to overcome subconscious blocks to conception and decisions about future births, also previous birth trauma or perinatal trauma. In addition we work with birth partners who may have witnessed a traumatic birth experience.
As your family matures and develops we are there to support you along the way in our parenting styles and family relationships service including online parenting courses and one-to-one therapy. Our ONLINE courses include How to help your child develop a positive sense of self in their first five years
"Being honest in communicating your needs and feelings can help prevent postpartum anxiety and post natal depression"
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