I recently heard some fantastic news from friends, who have finally welcomed their new baby into the world. I am delighted for them, but also concerned. Becoming a parent, whatever the journey to get there, can be amazingly wonderful and also amazingly difficult. My wish for my friends is that they find ways to enjoy their new family that works for them and they get all the right help and support they need, at the right times.
Children can be fantastic. Many of us feel blessed to be parents. We might have had to fight hard to get to this moment, or know friends or family who haven’t been so lucky and we know we should feel grateful. But the process of becoming a parent can be really tough. It can take a massive toll on your mental health.
Mental health problems may have existed before pregnancy or childbirth, or they may have been caused by the experiences of birth trauma and adjustment to being a parent. Mental health issues for parents can have an impact on their ability to feel confident in caring for their child. It is estimated that around 5 in every 100 women will develop PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder with flashbacks, sleep trouble, anxiety etc) following a traumatic experience of giving birth. And it isn’t just mothers. A 2013-2014 study by the National Childbirth Trust found that 38% of first time fathers were concerned about their mental health too.
So I am delighted to say that we have recently been joined by Jo Steadman, a fabulous Clinical Psychologist who is a specialist in parental mental health, particularly birth-related trauma and worries about bonding and caring for new babies. If you would like to know more about the therapeutic support she can offer, please get in touch with us on email at firstname.lastname@example.org or see our website
And if therapy isn’t for you, but you are a parent who is worried about your mental health, there are places to go for help. You are definitely not alone and support is available - see Mind for their very helpful website on the issue.
We wish you all the very best for this amazing and challenging time.
Dr Helen Care, Clinical Psychologist at A Confident Start