Having a baby and becoming a parent is a major life event, usually accompanied by changes to your home life, social life and relationship. Parents of a new baby experience a variety of emotions after the birth. You may feel happy and proud of yourself, or just relieved that the birth is over.
Whether this is your first, second or third baby, parenthood is very demanding both physically and emotionally, particularly in the early weeks.
It can be difficult to find time for yourself, your partner or your family when you have the 24 hour demands of a new baby to deal with. Meeting the needs of a baby can be rewarding, but during pregnancy and in the weeks and months following the birth of a baby, it is normal to sometimes feel overwhelmed and exhausted. Try not to expect too much of yourself, or if you are in a relationship, your partner.
It is likely during the first few weeks and months of parenthood you will feel a mixture of emotions. It is very important you talk openly to your partner, friends or family about how you feel.
In reality becoming and being a parent means constantly experiencing new events and carrying out tasks we are not sure we can manage. A new set of skills to cope with these situations have to be learnt. More information here
This booklet is intended to give you information about the emotional changes that can happen during pregnancy and after having a baby. It will focus on low mood, anxiety, depression, psychosis and trauma and will outline symptoms and possible treatments. In addition, advice is offered to the woman, her partner, family and friends about self help and recovery.
This information should help you decide if the emotions you (or your partner) are experiencing during pregnancy and after having your baby are common place or whether you may need extra support.
A list of useful organisations and support groups for parents is available from your health visitor or from the website: www.nhft.nhs.uk
Remember – if you experience mental health difficulties whilst pregnant or after your baby is born, do not despair. Most women will recover completely.
“Women do not automatically know how to be a mother. Men do not automatically know how to be a father”. Information for partners and significant others about the emotional changes /experiences during pregnancy and following childbirth can be found here
Information leaflets for perinatal mental health
Also key is:-
Resources aimed at partners and carers
The RCGP have recently launched their Perinatal Mental Health Toolkit
Intimate partner violence
Culturally sensitive care
Sadness post birth occurs in all countries but is not always considered an illness. Migrant women therefore may be unable to express their feelings and present more frequently with somatic symptoms. Unfamiliarity with healthcare pathways, lack of social support, economic hardship, cultural stigma and traumatic past experiences may pose a barrier to seeking help, in addition to language.
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