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Being A New Parent – Dealing With Baby Blues & Postnatal Depression

While we all talk about the enormous change having children will make to our lives, most of us don’t plan what to do about it. We assume our existing relationship will simply fit around the baby, but in reality, you will need to be organised and try to plan some baby-free time in advance.

Taking Time Out

It is amazing how liberating two hours without a baby can be. Wanting time apart from your baby doesn’t make you a bad parent- in fact, taking time out for yourself, nurturing your relationship with your partner and coming back to your baby with renewed delight will benefit everyone. Because spontaneity is difficult, it is a good idea to arrange nights out in advance. Being vague about arrangements usually means you end up staying in.

Baby Blues And Postnatal Depression(PND)

If you are still feeling down, it is time to get help from your health visitor or a general psychologist as the “baby blues” should have passed by. You may be suffering from postnatal depression (PND), a condition that affects up to one in 10 mums and can become severe enough to interfere with the ability to get on with life. Mothers of twins or special needs babies are particularly vulnerable to PND. It frequently starts within a month of the birth, but can occur up to a year later. Symptoms can vary but include feeling low, anxious, negative, and sleepless; plus, a loss of appetite, and an inability to cope. These feelings can be completely overwhelming and may be accompanied by guilt and panic attacks.

Mothers feel that they are expected to be happy with their new baby and are often ashamed about feeling low, but PND can happen to anybody and needs to be treated as early as possible. Counselling and/or medications are very effective, so don’t subject yourself to unnecessary suffering. Untreated, PND can ruin your joy in your new child, interfere with bonding, and set destructive parenting and relationship patterns that may persist for years. So do seek help as soon as possible. Most women who are not diagnosed for some time regret it was not recognized earlier

Fathers’ Blues

Everyone has heard of new mums getting the baby blues, but the daddy blues is less well acknowledged. The trigger for this is the complete life- change that a new baby brings, particularly the change it brings to your relationship. While new mums often feel that their bodies are no longer their own, their partners frequently feel that they are suddenly second in line.

 The physical and emotional closeness that sex can bring may still be absent because even if your partner has recovered from the birth, she may not feel the same as before anymore. This feeling is being excluded, coupled with exhaustion and the fact that some men find tint babies relatively uninteresting (so that the compensations for this loss of position in your partner’s life may seem small), can make new parenthood a dangerous time in your relationship.

The most important thing is to keep talking. It’s essential to communicate so that problems are discussed, shared, and understood and don’t fester into misunderstanding and resentment. Cuddle and be physically close- although she may not want to because your partner will notice if you seem reserved and lacking in affection. Get involved in baby care and make sure you spend time alone with your baby.