For New Mums and Dads Dealing with Negative Feelings
I would like to dedicate this article to all those mums and dads, who aren't joyously celebrating the birth of their baby. Not that they wouldn't like to! Instead they are battling with negative feelings and thoughts, trying to make it through the day.
Dear suffering new parents, please remember that you are not alone. Yes, you are not alone and there is help available to you out there.
There are health professionals whose job is to support you, and there are other valuable support networks, including an army of mums and dads who understand you, because they went through the same thing and got better (some of them blog about it very well too, like Smalltimemum1). There are wonderful and inexpensive books, like “Why Perinatal Depression Matters” by Mia Scotland; support groups such as PANDAS; and helplines and live chats (e.g. #PNDhour or #BirthTraumaChat via Twitter). There are counsellors and psychotherapists – all of us are here to help you get better. And you can get better.
Your road to recovery starts from acknowledging that things are not OK and asking for help. Simple, but not simple at all, I know.
You may be already struggling with thoughts that you aren't a good parent or that you should just “pull yourself together” and get over it. You may even be hearing it from others around you. You may be ashamed of feeling the way you do and blaming yourself that it is your fault, or that there is something wrong with you.
Do not listen to these thoughts and words, as this is actually doing yourself harm. It takes some time and practice to change this “negative tape” playing on a loop in your head into a clear, positive and self-affirming mindset, but it is possible.
One way to start this process is to become your own friend. Just imagine, what would you tell your best friend if you saw him or her struggling, very miserable, and in fact suffering from an illness? (And depression is very much an illness). Would you start blaming your friend, seeing how miserably ill she is and telling her that it is her own fault? Or rather would it not be natural to offer help, let her rest and be taken care of?
And this is what you need now – tell your family and friends that you are not well, accept help and therapy, try to get as much rest as you can, and have lots of care and love around you.
You can get better.