The needs of perinatal parents are wide ranging, evolving and needs can differ between Mum and Dad. We also know with babies their needs are like phases; they come and go like the waves of the sea.
So what are some of the needs of perinatal parents...
(this is not an infinite list 😊
Education for mum and dad is key. Not to overwhelm but to guide their focus. Listening to the questions and concerns of parents. Working from evidence-based info to give relevant support that is what they need going forward.
For Dads; we can’t miss out them, giving support and info from their shoes. Not doing this has knock on effect on relationships, partner support, correct understanding.
Support for Mental Health & Emotional Wellbeing
Past trauma. Intrusive thoughts. Low mood. Isolation/loneliness. Stress. Anxiety. Depression are some of what is experienced by new parents.
You may experience some of these at varying levels and you may have sought help previously, which is great. However, you may find the events, circumstances in the perinatal period trigger one of these and place you in a new space. A space to navigate, understand, seek support for. There a number of places to start with – Talking to friends/family, GP, Midwives, Health Visitors, Charities, Private groups & organisations, Counsellors.
This is a big one – how we prepare parents going into parenthood is key. In research studies here are a few reasons as to why mums and dads (in some of these examples) felt unprepared:
· Unresolved trauma
· Identity going into parenthood
· Mental load inc constant questioning
· Intrusive thoughts
· Lack of info for dads
· Fear of something happening to the baby
· General family life day to day
· Work guilt
. Unsure of practical to-do's
. Breastfeeding prep
. Physical prep
Questions were also asked as to why mental and emotion changes were not part of antenatal prep. These points (and more) are worked through in my Preparing for Postnatal Sessions – get yourselves in a good position and not have a huge list like this!
To use a quote “parenting is amazing and frustrating in equal measures”
We are not an island. As humans we are not meant to be on our own. Feelings of isolation, loneliness, anxiety, no one to share stories with or ask questions to, to call up and talk through the tired tears. Support network can be friends and facilitating that, or professional help when needed, or charities, groups…
How long should I work for? Managing on reduced household incomes. Questions around maternity pay.
Being in a position where you can get some help with the baby and/or toddler in the early days whilst partner is working long hours.
Getting back to work and how that works with childcare costs.
All this will add to the mental load and should be planned for where possible.
Communication is up there for being one of the biggest reasons for a break up. Not communicating to each other and understanding how the others feel.
Ask yourselves how can you work together as a team? Appreciate that both are doing a tough job in different areas.
And if you are a single parent, it’s even more important to have your support network around you.
Relationships can also mean with friendships - you may notice a shift which is a new thing to get your head around.
You have been you for so many years then you find yourself pregnant/expectant dad. Life changes and it’s how to make that transition the least bumpy as possible. Comes with it is the mentla load of questioning how its all going to work out, your own perceived abilities, hankering over old lives and needing to adjust to your new one, and becoming parents together.
We don’t know what we don’t know.
· What foods are good to eat postnatally?
· Baby care
· Milestones of pregnancy or baby development,
· What is the Fourth Trimester all about – why doesn’t my baby want to be put down
· Setting parents with REALISTIC NORMS for feeding or sleep for example –
· Getting back to work is a whole conversation in itself
· What’s the help on offer – groups, classes, local support, free, paid-for
· A big one for me is expectations – is how we perceive a situation to go … unrealistic benchmarks, high/low, societal
Alot of these things are covered in Preparing for Postnatal sessions with me, a Postnatal Doula.
Designed for mums-to-be before the throes of newborn-new mum life. I have seen where mums and families thrive & flourish and where their challenges come from. It's because of this experience and knowledge I have created a framework that walks you through different areas relating to the Postnatal space.
For expectations of the session and why women say they feel unprepared, have a read here.