Most of us have heard that powerful African proverb about it taking a village to raise a child. Here in Australia, where one in five new mums and up to one in 10 dads experience perinatal anxiety and/or depression, we need to start embracing that proverb as our own.
With so many mums and dads now raising their babies in isolation and suffering overwhelming mental challenges in silence, it’s probably time we proactively sought to rebuild those villages that our ancestors thrived in.
Raising babies is tough. It’s exhausting and confusing and mindboggling and expensive and before you know it, overwhelmed parents can quickly hit the wall.
Without the built-in network of “village” support, these new parents are often faced with having to ask for help, which can often feel like admitting defeat and contribute to feelings of inadequacy.
But by carefully hand-selecting your village before you are up against the chaos of being a new parent, you can wrestle back some control.
Simple ways to build your postpartum village
Outsource jobs: Why not make a list of essential household jobs that could quickly overwhelm you under the strain of a new baby. Things like washing nappies, cooking dinner, ironing, household cleaning, or grocery shopping (hello online shopping) and babysitting. Are these jobs able to be outsourced to well-meaning family, friends, or even small businesses?
Next, think of who within your family will be happy to chip in and help. Also, who is likely to be the more reliable cook or babysitter?
And for those without a family network, don’t be shy to ask your friends or even neighbours. In fact, you could be pleasantly surprised at who puts up their hand ready to help.
And if the budget stretches far enough, you could even splash out on a nappy or household cleaning service. Even if it’s a one-off to give you some breathing space.
Tap into your community: You mightn’t know this, but your local community is brimming with community resources for you and your family to tap in to. These are people with lived or professional experience who can offer guidance, advocacy and support whenever you need it.
Here at South Coastal Health & Community Services/South Coastal Babbingur Mia, we have a range of perinatal mental health services for new mums and dads.
It’s also worth browsing the internet for “support for new mums near me”.
Come to South Coastal Health & Community Services
Perinatal Mental Health – Individual Counselling
Our Perinatal Mental Health (PMH) program is a counselling service for expectant or new mothers (0-3 years of age). We require a referral from a GP or child health nurse to access this service.
The perinatal period (from conception through the early years of life) is one of the most significant and exciting times of a woman’s life. It is also very common to experience high anxiety, depression and other mental health concerns, which is why it is important to seek support early.
Perinatal Mental Health – Group Support
Our Perinatal Mental Health group is a supportive, therapeutic space for expectant or new mothers to get together and build connections, while working on improving self-esteem, finding your identity in your new role, and coping better with the stressors of family life.
What to do next
For individual counselling ask your Doctor or Health Service Provider to complete our Referral Form
- Please call us to discuss further on 9550 0900 . And to learn more about our services for new parents and families, please click here.