What a big week it is... the awareness of supporting parents of newborns through the huge steps of the shift into Parenthood. This week it's all about PANDA... Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Awareness.
The organisation panda.org.au do an amazing job of bringing much needed awareness to this problem, and the support services they offer are exceptional. Interestingly, there are many unheard of statistics that relate to the stigma of anxiety and depression in this stage of your life.
Did you know:
Up to 1 in 3 Mums experience the birth of their baby as Traumatic
Up to 1 in 5 expecting or new mums will be affected by anxiety or depression
As many as 1 in 10 expecting or new dads will too
Across Australia, 100,000 families will be impacted each year
A significant number of Non-birth parents experience similar rates of mental illness.
I see this everyday in practice. The mums and dads coming in with the brave face of new parenthood. Wearing the mask that they have got their shit together, when really on the inside they feel like they are failing. We live in a society that doesn't acknowledge well that these parents need a safe space to feel they can ask questions.
That it's normal for nothing to feel normal.
That intuition might be telling them one thing, but the books are saying another. (and you all know my thoughts on this, intuition always wins)
That questioning what is happening and feeling unsure is part of this thing called parenthood.... and it's ok to ask.
Placing the mask of 'everything being ok' on at this time can definitely be a trigger for anxiety and depression. Combined with the hormonal cascade changes that occur... it can be a recipe for a tough time.
But reaching out, seeking help, asking questions ... it all doesn't make you weak. In fact it makes you STRONG! The human brain requires social connection and thrives on mirroring great behaviour. It loves spending time with people that love and support you. In fact it becomes a better brain when shown how to do something, and then being given the chance to practice and do it.
This theory goes just as much as it does for new parenthood as it does for a new job. Give yourself the permission to explore your matrescence and parenthood, to honour your intution and to ask questions of the support people around you.
This is how as a community we can help our world to grow. How we can decrease the stigmas surrounding mental health, and just allow people to be where they are at right now... and be part of their TEAM moving forward.
Who is on your team?
Who are your safe people to ask?
How do you need to be supported right at this moment?
Share these answers with the people around you. They only want the best for you! Let's bring down the stigma and do this together!