Becoming a parent presents a time of significant change that is both demanding and rewarding. New parents often experience a whole range of positive and negative emotions as they learn their new role of parenthood. There are times though when this challenge becomes overwhelming and when this occurs it is important to speak with loved ones and seek support from medical or mental health professionals.
Common challenges experienced by new parents:
There are many factors which may contribute to parents having difficulty in adjusting to parenthood, some of the common challenges include:
- Change in identity – “Parent”, employment, social life, freedom.
- Recovering from birth
- Exhaustion while adapting to a new or demanding sleep / feed schedule
- The physical demands of breastfeeding
- Competing demands of running a household and the needs of the baby
- Lack of confidence in your abilities as a parent
- Family and friend expectations
- Change in relationship with your partner
- Different ideas about how to care for and raise your child
- Change in family dynamic
What can be helpful?
The gestation period provides a great deal of time to be able to prepare for the arrival of your new baby. This also provides time to become swamped with too much parenting information. It is important to keep realistic expectations of parenting; trust that you are doing your best to care for your baby (which takes time); allow a period of adjustment and don’t be too critical of yourself; care for you own health and time out; and finally maintain a good support network of medical professionals, friends and family.
Becoming a parent can be a wonderful and fulfilling experience, but it can also come with its demands. It is important to remember that to be able to provide the best care for your baby, starts with caring for yourself. There is no need to try to cope with these challenges alone as there are many supports available. Generally most of the difficulties faced by parents can be resolved with appropriate care, information and support.
PANDA: Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia
Beyond Blue https://www.beyondblue.org.au/