It's so easy to focus on a newborn baby that sometimes parents forget to take care of themselves. All parents need physical and emotional support, especially in the first year of parenting. If you need more help on how to take better care of yourself, talk to your health care provider or Public Health Nurse.
When family and friends offer help, take them up on it.
Make sure you are taking the time eat when you're hungry and drink lots of water.
Find time to relax and do something you enjoy.
Connect with other new parents who are supportive.
Sleep when you can (housework can wait).
80% of new parents will go through a few days of difficult adjustment after giving birth, called the baby blues. It's normal and common to feel irritable, sad/tearful or overwhelmed. Most parents recover quickly on their own.
However, some parents face a much harder struggle. One in six new moms and one in ten new dads will develop a perinatal mood disorder like postpartum depression and anxiety. This can happen whether they've gone through a pregnancy or adopted their child.
These are some of the signs that a mom might need help:
Feeling that something isn't right
Feeling helpless or overwhelmed by everyday activities
Not bonding with baby or feeling resentment or lack of interest
Feeling angry or aggressive
Feeling numb or being unable to feel emotions
Crying often, even when you don't know why
Afraid to be alone
Thoughts of suicide
Frightening, intrusive thoughts about you or baby getting hurt
Feeling overwhelmed by anxiety or panic attacks
Loss of appetite or overeating
Difficulty sleeping, even when you get the opportunity
Constantly worrying about baby or feelings of doom
Feeling like you're alone or have no support
Feeling like you're not good enough or are a 'bad mom'
Dads can have similar symptoms. However, signs of depression in men are more likely to include increased anger, emotional withdrawal and/or risk-taking behaviour (e.g., having an affair or driving recklessly).
A new baby can be very hard on your relationship with your partner. When there is another little human demanding your attention and you're not getting enough sleep, it's easy to become irritable with your partner or to drift apart from them. Make sure you take time every day to connect with your partner about something other than the baby.
Pregnancy and new parenthood can be a time when domestic abuse (intimate partner violence) increases. Nobody has the right to threaten you, or verbally, emotionally, sexually or physically abuse you. If you or someone you love is in danger, call 9-1-1.
Apologetic and making excuses for their partners aggression/anger
Nervous when their partner is around
Often sick or missing work
Seems to be "accident prone" with lots of bruises that they try to cover
Sad, lonely, withdrawn
Using drugs or alcohol to cope
Puts you/your loved one down
Does all of the talking and dominates the conversation
Checks up on you/your loved one all the time, even at work
Tries to act like the victim; blames you/your loved one for the abuse
Tries to keep you/them from seeing friends and family
Acts as if they own you/your loved one
Acts like they are superior and have more value than you/your loved one
Nobody has the right to threaten you, or verbally, emotionally, sexually or physically abuse you. If this is happening to you, it's also harming your children, even if they aren't being abused. You must get help. Clear your browser history after, if needed.