Parenthood should never be a solitary journey. If you're finding yourself feeling overwhelmed, you are not alone. According to Nestle’s 2021 Parenting Index report, 32% of new parents feel lonely and isolated during their first few months.
Despite living in an uber-connected world, it’s easy to feel alone as you sort through all the transitions that come with parenthood. It's okay to ask for help and normalizing this practice will actually make you a better parent.
Let’s dive into the importance of building your postpartum support system.
Why Asking for Help is Crucial
Being a fantastic parent doesn’t require superpowers, no matter what countless diaper commercials might suggest. What you do need is a supportive network. Parenthood isn't about being the one going it alone—it's about teamwork, shared experiences, and shared burdens.
From a psychological standpoint, human beings thrive on connection. In fact, studies have shown that social support can help reduce postpartum depression and anxiety. So, by asking for help, you're not just making your life easier — you're contributing to your mental wellbeing, too.
Inviting others into your support system creates a network of diverse skills, experiences, and perspectives. These can translate into practical assistance (like babysitting or meal prep), valuable advice, and emotional support – all of which will benefit you and your baby!
Creating a Robust Support System
Friends and family members often want to help you but might be unsure how to best offer their assistance. Don’t be afraid to be open about your needs— whether it's someone to watch the baby while you catch a nap, a loved one to do a quick grocery run, or even just a friendly ear to vent your worries.
Professionals like lactation consultants, pediatricians, and postpartum doulas are also available to support you during this transitional phase. Reach out to your team for their professional advice or guidance. Leverage their expertise to relieve some of your concerns and allow more time to focus on bonding with your baby.
Don’t have a support system close to home? Use social media or resources in your hometown to find support. From Facebook groups to local meet-ups, there are numerous parenting communities available. Connecting with other parents provides a sense of camaraderie and offers a platform for shared experiences and advice.
Prioritize Your Self-Care with Support
Being a new parent sometimes feels like juggling a million balls – with our own needs being the ones we drop first. Self-care is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. By looking after your physical and mental wellbeing, you'll be better equipped to care for your little one. Your support system can be the key to allowing you some extra time to breathe between all the things you’re juggling.
It's okay to take breaks. Finding a balance between caring for your baby and yourself may seem challenging at first – but over time you will start to become more comfortable with caring for you as much as your baby. Utilizing your support system can be a great way to free up some time for self-care, whether it's a relaxing bath, a quiet read, or just a much-needed nap.
In your journey as a new parent, building a solid support system isn't just a helpful strategy—it's essential. It involves shedding the myth of 'doing it all', understanding the psychological benefits of seeking help, and assembling a diverse team ready to assist, guide, and emotionally support you. Prioritize your self-care, balance your responsibilities, and remember that you're not alone in this wonderful, wild journey of parenthood.