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Postpartum care

New Parents: How to Prioritize Your Mental Health

Everyone benefits when you take time for yourself, seek support and try to enjoy the often difficult new baby phase.

New Parents: How to Prioritize Your Mental Health

Photo: iStock/FatCamera

Congratulations on your new arrival. Parenthood is an incredible journey filled with love, laughter, and precious moments. But let's be honest, it can also be a whirlwind of emotions, exhaustion, and challenges. That's why taking care of your mental health is crucial during this special time.

The Emotional Rollercoaster of Parenthood

Welcoming a baby is a major life change. Your daily life has been totally transformed so it's normal to feel a rollercoaster of emotions. Sleepless nights, feeding schedules, and constant caregiving can take a serious toll on both your mental and physical health. Feeling overwhelmed and wondering if you're doing anything right is natural.

Ditch the Pressure, Embrace the Journey

Social media and societal expectations can create an image of perfect parenthood that simply isn't realistic. This pressure to meet unrealistic standards often leaves parents with feelings of anxiety and inadequacy.

The fear of making mistakes can lead to more worry, self-criticism and second-guessing. Remember that every parent makes mistakes. Trust your instincts, learn from your experiences, and focus on building a loving bond with your baby. Every decision, every giggle, gurgle and cuddle is a step in that beautiful journey.

Beat the Isolation Blues

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Newborns demand a lot of attention and can leave parents feeling isolated, disconnected and alone in their struggles. But loneliness isn't a necessary part of parenthood. Reach out to family and friends or join a support group.

Talking to others who understand your struggles can be help a lot. It can also make it easier to cope with the emotional demands of parenthood. So don't be afraid to ask for help, whether with errands, childcare, or just a listening ear.

A middle aged mother resting on her couch holds up her baby on her chest with a tired and stressed expression. FatCamera/ Getty Images

Taking Care of You Makes You a Better Parent

Self-care isn't selfish, it's essential. Make time for things that nourish, like a relaxing bath, a mindfulness exercise or a phone call with a friend. Feeling good recharges your batteries and makes you a more patient and present parent.

Remember: You've Got This!

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Parenting is a learning experience. Expect ups and downs, but you're strong and capable. Prioritize your mental health, build a support system, and celebrate the little victories. You'll navigate this journey with grace and resilience.

Additional Mental Health Considerations

  • Start building your support network before your baby arrives. Identify family members, friends or therapists you can confide in and who can offer help when needed.
  • Don't be afraid to seek professional help. Therapists can provide valuable guidance and support.

Author: Stefanie Peachey is a Registered Social Worker and Accredited Family Mediator. She is the founder of Peachey Counselling and Family Support in Burlington, ON.

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