Your Mental Health: Being a Parent at a Time of Crisis

By: Laura Thompson

Every now and again I get an email in my overflowing inbox that makes me sit up and pay attention: this week I received a newsletter from PANDA (Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia). I read the following two paragraphs and it struck a chord:

“Climate change, natural disasters or other global crises can have a major impact on how expecting and new parents feel about being pregnant or bringing a new little one into the world. It can be hard to balance the joy and excitement of pregnancy or having a new baby with a concern for what the future holds. In addition, there may be direct concerns for your health or the health of your baby from fires, smoke, an epidemic or other event.

It’s important to remember that any and all of these responses to these events are normal. It’s also important to remember that worrying about the future and the health of your baby is something that has been felt by parents forever! And there are ways to manage these feelings and maintain emotional wellbeing on your journey to building a family.”

I found being a new parent unbelievably stressful – was I doing everything right, was my baby ill, was I going to drop her? But despite these worries, I didn’t have to deal with external threats that I had no control over – I wasn’t faced by Coronavirus, bush fires, floods or conflict. This great article on managing emotions as a new parent when faced with local and global crises made me realise two things. First, how lucky I have been with my commonplace motherhood stresses, and second, that I have not been checking in enough with my new parent friends to make sure they are ok.

If you are finding the thought of bringing a new child into our world overwhelming, please reach out to support organisations such as PANDA and take a look at their tips for mental wellbeing. If you have friends or family with infants, please check in with them and make sure to ask RUOK?