Good Mental Health for New Parents

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Stressed woman

Good mental health for parents,  including expecting parents, is so important and I cannot it emphasise it enough. This week is Perinatal Depression and Anxiety Awareness Week. PANDA was established in 2005 and since then has been a leader in the perinatal mental health sector. PANDA aims to promote awareness about perinatal anxiety and depression, including signs to look for and where to go to seek support.

Mental Health Issues are Common

I’ve been blown away by the statistics on mental illness whilst researching for this blog article.  Mental illness is so very common but there is still a stigma attached to it. Did you know that one in five (that’s 20%) of Australians aged 16-85 experience a mental illness in any year. 45% of Australians will experience a mental illness in their lifetime! Beyond the facts and figures are real people suffering from mental illness!  Most people have been touched at some point by mental illness whether it’s a friend, family member or personally.

Everyone Needs to Help

We all need to help promote social and emotional well being to the community, encourage people to maximise their health potential, enhance the coping capacity of communities, families, individuals and increase good mental health recovery.

Both Parents Need Attention

Good mental health means that both Mum and Dad are feeling positive and getting the support they need. Up to one in five expecting or new mothers and one in ten expecting or new fathers will experience perinatal anxiety or depression.

Mums often have to adjust quickly to the demands of motherhood, usually under a cloud of sleep deprivation. New fathers also need support as they adjust to their new role and try to support their partner.  It happened to me – I know that sleep deprivation and the health issues with my first born Jacob lead me down a very dark path. I did manage to get myself back on track, but I realise now that life is never going to be easy and I need to manage my stress!  I’ve found that if I’m mentally healthy and positive this permeates through to the whole family.

Some Questions You Might Ask Yourself

Some feelings new Mums and Dads might have are:

I don’t know what’s going on but I just don’t feel like myself

It’s hard not to stop thinking about the birth…it was nothing like I had planned

I’m so raw and on edge if anyone says anything to me I’m going to break down and cry

I hate being a mother/father…I feel so guilty

I’m struggling in my relationship…everything has changed since the birth of my baby

Why don’t I feel that instant bond with my baby?…I’m a bad parent

I am so tired I just can’t do this anymore

This parenting thing is just too hard…I want to run away

Ask for Help If You Need It

If you have any thoughts or feelings along these lines you’re definitely not alone and should seek help and support as soon as possible, please don’t suffer in silence – reach out to someone that you trust and ask for help. It takes courage to ask for help, but you need to do it for yourself, your baby and your family.

Ways to Improve Good Mental Health

We have also written another Blog on 11 tips to help stay mentally healthy which may be helpful to you and your family if you’re not suffering from anxiety or depression and want to make sure you stay on track. Good mental health requires effort and attention to make sure you stay on track.

You also need to be aware of Postnatal Psychosis which is a very serious mental health illness that is potentially life threatening for both Mum and baby.  It can happen without any prior history of mental illness.  Severe sleep deprivation and rapid changes after birth can be contributing factors.  If you suspect you, your partner or relative may be experiencing Postnatal Psychosis then please seek help immediately.

Where to Get Help

Some organisations you can contact for help and support are:
Your GP or other healthcare professional
Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia – www.panda.org.au or phone 1300 726 306
Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636 – www.beyondblue.org.au
Act Belong Commit www.actbelongcommit.org.au
Community Child Health nurse – contact via the Health Department in your state

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Nicole Cassey

written by

Nicole Cassey

Nicole Cassey, Mum to Jacob and Emily, founder and general dog’s body at Bubbaroo. Nicole was inspired to create Bubbaroo and Australia’s first swaddle after the personal experience she had with her first child, Jacob.

Nicole explains "It is such a steep learning curve becoming a parent. Getting to know the baby you created and finding your groove as a parent. You sometimes feel like you need to become a detective to try to interpret your baby's cues, personality, cries and behaviour. This is my passion to help parents on their journey, especially new parents as they transition to parenthood."

Nicole has a passion for sharing knowledge and community, regularly organising and presenting at various expectant parent and sleep workshops. Nicole ensures she is up to date with the latest evidence-based safe sleep and health research. Bubbaroo collaborates with experts in their field that share similar values and philosophies and have a passion for helping and supporting parents and expectant parents.

Nicole’s attention to detail with the creation of her premium quality baby, toddler and child sleepwear is exceptional. Nicole has been committed to ensure that Bubbaroo is not just a mass market brand producing products, Nicole’s focus is on helping your baby sleep safely in products that stand the test of time.

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