The birth of a baby creates a whole new way of doing life. Adjusting to this parenthood journey is a huge change at the best of times. Yet this pandemic season, with lockdowns, social isolation and social distancing, can increase distress, anxiety and feelings of extreme isolation. In this current climate, new parents’ mental wellbeing is more important than ever.
If you are a new parent or have just had another child, or you know of someone who is, here are some practical tips that Dr Rebecca Lounder put together for us, that could help you get through.
1. Look after yourself
- Take care of yourself, body, soul, and spirit
- Attending to your own sets a good example to your children.
- It helps you to be more settled and engaged and present in your world and relationships.
- Maintain focus and make healthier decisions which will improve mood, stress levels and energy. Look at how you are managing now, both the helpful and unhelpful ways.
- Find ways in which you can connect with the present moment and build wellbeing into your day.
- Allow some time for the things you enjoy and activities that have an achievement or pleasure associated with it (mood booster). e.g. playing worship music, hobbies, being creative
- Acknowledge the small achievements “you got out of bed”, “you had a shower” … all the way through to day-to-day responsibilities.
- In this COVID season, limit the frequency of exposure to media and ‘updates’. Get information from reputable sources, spend time looking after your physical, emotion and spiritual well-being; follow healthy hygiene measures.
- It is ok to acknowledge thoughts that having a baby currently, with limits on visits from family and friends, has been disappointing. But also find the joys too – the things that have worked well at this time.
2. Connecting with Others
- Despite the social distancing challenges, it is still important to keep connecting with people. The methods might be different, but continue to reach out to your current relationships that are healthy and safe such as family, friends, church groups (Sisterhood, church online, Connect groups, mum’s groups)
- Share your experiences with honesty
3. Seeking Community & Support
- It is so important during any period of transition, or life stage to have others around you. Sometimes friends and sometimes helpers.
- Consider what you need at the time, you can find pathways to access support and support comes in many forms:
Helpful information (how to feed your baby, how do I look after myself while feeling down)
1. Practical support (a cooked meal from a friend, someone to pick up some groceries for you)
2. Pastoral care & support (prayer and practical support)
3. Professional support (people who are trained to help us through transitioning, challenging or unexpected times – i.e. becoming a parent, responding to changes due to COVID-19).
4. Accessing support is a strength. It’s when our usual ‘resources’ aren’t meeting the need and we need something more or different to usual.
Despite the obvious challenges this unusual season has presented, it is possible for you to thrive, to enjoy this time as a new parent and come through it well. Always remember that help is available to you and as a church community we are here for you.
Further Support Services:
- PANDA Foundation (Peri-natal Anxiety and Depression Hotline) 1300 726 306; www.panda.org.au
- Gidget Foundation (pre and peri-natal support): www.gidgetfoundation.org.au
- Beyond Blue (Support and information depression & anxiety): 1300 224636; www.beyondblue.org.au
- Lifeline: 131114; www.lifeline.org.au