How to deal with becoming a parent?

December 10, 2018

Find out how to deal with becoming a new parent. Here are a few basic tips to help you lay some groundwork for a smooth transition to parenthood.

Here are a few basic tips to help you lay some groundwork for a smooth transition to parenthood.

Having a baby is one of the most life-changing events that many people will experience. And each new delivery brings the immediate family closer with a mix of joy, drama, smiles, and strife too!

Life with a new baby is demanding and unpredictable. A new mother may find it overwhelming to handle even the basics.

The months before and after the birth are often stressful. It is important to address the emotional health at this stage of parenthood; because it has a positive effect on the development of the newborn baby.

What kind of emotional problems can arise for new parents?

Adjustment problems: Parenthood turns a new chapter in one's life. With the arrival of the baby, life's routine goes topsy-turvy. Needless to say, priorities change and life centres around the baby calling for an immediate adjustment to be made -- physically, mentally, & emotionally. While these adjustments may be temporary, a new routine is formed around the baby. And the time it takes to adjust can sometimes cause distress.

Baby blues: This refers to mood swings which occur after the baby is born. The birth of a baby is a joyous occasion but after a couple of days other emotions like irritation, restlessness, impatience, anxiety, sadness, fatigue, weepiness may creep in.

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And these are called baby blues that are common in new mothers. Evidently, there are a lot of hormonal changes related to pregnancy and childbirth. As a result, these may cause baby blues. One way to deal with these is to take care of the mother and ensure that she is adequately rested. A balanced meal and fresh air may also help in the process. However, if these symptoms extend for more than two weeks then it may be a matter of concern.

Attachment problems: In most cases, an instant bond between the mother and baby, and the father and baby is formed soon after the delivery.

But for some, this may not be the case. In fact, some new mothers can be resentful towards the baby. It may take a few days/weeks to feel a sense of connection with the baby. This may in turn cause guilt, stress and a sense of disappointment. These feelings generally go away in due course with adequate support and rest. But for some, this may continue and cause additional problems.

Anxiety: A little worry about the newborn is common but if there is too much distress and anxiety, it might affect ones ability to cope with the challenges of adjusting to a newborn. You might feel that you are losing control. You may indulge in self-doubt about your parenthood. If the feeling continues long then it's best to reach out for professional help.

Postpartum depression: When symptoms are more severe than baby blues and last for more than 2 weeks after giving birth it could be the sign of postpartum depression. It interferes with normal functioning. It is marked by feelings of sadness, anxiety, irritability, lack of interest in the baby, changes in eating and sleep habits. One might also feel worthless, incompetent and hopeless about the future. At this stage, professional help is needed to overcome this state.

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Postpartum psychosis: This is a very rare occurrence. The symptoms of this condition generally surface within one month of childbirth. These may include delusions or strange beliefs, hallucinations, hyperactivity, decreased need or ability to sleep, rapid mood swings and the like. This condition calls for professional intervention and should be treated as an emergency.

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How can I deal with my postpartum depressions and relationships?

  • One of the most important things you can do when seeking treatment for a perinatal mood disorder is to involve your partner.
  • Counselling and group therapy helps a great deal. Counselors can help you with specific techniques for dealing with your particular symptoms, such as relaxation techniques for women who often feel anxious, and thought-stopping for obsessive negative thoughts.
  • Establishing a support system. Friends help, especially other new mothers who have empathy for what youre going through.
  • Lifestyle Interventions. Improving nutrition and getting sufficient sleep can lessen symptoms. And, couples must remember to care for one another while in treatment for postpartum depression
  • Tend to your relationship. Embrace it. Take care of each other. One of the best ways to meet your own needs is to take care of your partners needs. It makes them feel better, and it enables them to do a better job taking care of you.

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Having a baby definitely is a natural process, but parenting certainly does not come naturally to many people. Don't worry if it feels distinctly unnatural, to begin with. Youre not alone!


Article by Ms. Jayashree Sarda (Mphil)
Consultant Psychologist, CallHealth

Have a question? Consult Ms. Jayashree online.

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