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Coping strategies for new parents

May 30, 2022

By Mumtaz Moosa-Saley
30:05:2022

For many new parents, a new baby can be overwhelming, but few talk about their challenges. In between the lack of sleep and the endless supply of “tried and tested”  baby advice, new parents still battle with what society believes “comes naturally.”

Many assume that since fathers are not home consistently, they do not suffer the consequences of sleepless nights, diaper changes, and even the trauma of hormonal changes. During this new chapter in their lives, parents need time to make the adjustments and try to find their feet. 

Firstly, you are not alone. An online survey has shown that close to 70% of new parents battle during the first few years of their journey into parenthood.

Let’s begin with the emotions.

Yes, Mum, you are healing from the trauma of the birth, and then settling down of the hormones which can leave you feeling all over the place and bottling them up further exacerbates the struggle. If you feel overwhelmed, talk about it; if you need a professional help, please get it. The same goes for Dad, who is meant to support Mum through this time but can also find it challenging to deal with the mood swings, etc.

Between the endless feedings and lack of sleep, emotions run high, and this can cause an increase in the number of arguments with each other. Be compassionate and considerate when dealing with each other, but ensure that you talk about your feelings, cry if the need arises, and support and encourage each other through this journey.

Secondly, take time out for yourself and each other.

Time?! What time are you talking about is probably the question popping into your mind as you read this. I’m talking about “me and us” time. ” Make time” is the mantra we should adopt if we want to reach the destination sane. Ask a close family member or friend to help while you take a shower, nap, or sit in the sun for a few hours. Each week you and your spouse can set aside an hour to enjoy a little time with each other – to catch up, rekindle the bond or just shoot the wind. This will allow you to find your balance again, rest, and recharge.

Lastly, if you need help, ask for it. 

The old adage, “it takes a village to raise a child,” is very apt and accurate for our times.

There is no manual to parenthood, but I’m pretty confident that the one crucial thing included in one is “ASK FOR HELP.” Don’t decline any assistance offered by friends and family, especially if they offer to cook a meal, spend time with the baby whilst you catch up with sleep or just being available to talk over a coffee. Playing Super mum will leave you frazzled and moody, a situation not healthy for you, baby or hubby.

Joining a parenting group on WhatsApp or a blog can help with questions you need answers to questions or just a chat with others in the same boat; then, these are good options. This is an excellent boon for mothers living away from family and who need a network of support from understanding individuals sharing similar experiences.

Being a new parent is overwhelming; you will question your methods, even your sanity, but know that it’s okay to ask for help.

 

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