Ever felt like your problems aren’t “serious enough” to talk to someone about? That maybe you’re just being silly? That it’ll pass, and you should just be strong and get through it?
Life with a new baby is tough. If you’ve toyed with the idea of reaching out for help, here’s 3 signs it’s time to take that step.
1. Nobody else gets it
When you start to talk about the way you’re feeling, your mum nods and says “everyone gets the baby blues”. Everyone in your mothers’ group seems to be breastfeeding like a champ, with a great balance of daily gym sessions, coffee catchups and washing their hair. Your mother-of-3 friend says it will pass, and your well intentioned neighbour is dispensing parenting tips every time you dare step out onto the front porch (no my 2 month old does not need to start on solids thank you!). Despite their good intentions, no one gets it, and it feels lonely and scary.
2. You’re googling post-natal depression
You’re filling in post-natal depression questionnaires during the 3am feed – and you find yourself reading blogs on the topic well after the feed is finished. You wake up with a startle, overwhelmed by the thought of a day alone with baby with nothing to do, yet the thought of tackling the mountain of laundry and washing in the sink is too much. And it just feels like it’s taking. over. your. life.
3. You’re angry at your partner. A lot.
Your partner is doing all the right things (or not!) and you know you love your baby, but somehow find yourself envious of their 50 minute commute, and 10 hour work day. You yell at them when they forget to pick up a block of Cadbury on their way home, and yell at them when they do because clearly they’re not helping you kick your habit.
So why is it so hard?
The role of being a parent is shared by billions around the world, but can be the loneliest of life’s journeys. Sometimes our pregnancy or birth experience is so different from what we expected, that it’s hard to make sense of or talk about with others. Sometimes the images of baby bliss in our Instagram feed are far removed from our experience, and the hours of unsettled baby seem to trump content time. Sometimes the idea of leaving the house can feel overwhelming, as can the thought of someone visiting our chaotic home. Sometimes we’re able to find the right support within those around us – our spouse, family, friends, neighbours, mothers’ group. But sometimes we need further support. Finding the support that’s right for you is so important.
Sometimes we’re worried that our problems will be too big/ too small/ too tricky/ too silly to speak to someone. Not true! There are so many variables between people’s situations, their personal history, their current support, birth experience, that no one’s experience is exactly the same. Having a trusted person like a psychologist can help you work through this tricky web and find a way to enjoy life again.
Your GP can be a great place to start the conversation. They should have a list of psychologists or local services they recommend. The Centre for Perinatal Psychology also have a number of therapists based all around Australia.
There’s no wrong time to ask for help, so go on, you’ve got this.