Support is key for new mums and parent to parent support is something that perhaps not many of us ever really considered when we were pregnant.
When you become a parent it is easy to underestimate just how much support you need yourself.
The attention and focus is so intensely on the baby that your own needs and emotional wellbeing
can come second in line. The reality is that when you feel your best everyone else gets the best of you too, including your baby.
is key for new parents. It tends to start within the family
if you are lucky enough to have a supportive family network close by.
With the internet, it does not even necessarily require proximity but rather a good line of communication and help on hand if it is needed.
Parent to parent support is something that perhaps not many of us ever really considered when we were pregnant.
I remember being invited to a parenting course in my local health centre and I quickly realised just how vital that network would come to be for me. It was just once a week that we met up.
The topics varied from practical tips about feeding and changing to speech and language, caring for teeth and baby’s developmental milestones.
Although the focus was on the baby I firmly believe that the most important thing the course offered for me was the opportunity to stand beside other parents who were going through the same experiences as me.
While the help and support from my family and friends was essential I just benefited so much from the support of other parents in my area. I didn’t have to explain myself a whole lot because most of the parents were experiencing the very same things.
We were sleep-deprived, adjusting to change and besotted with our little ones. I went on to become great friends with some of the people I met at that course and they’ve come to be a really important network of support and friendship for me.
You might think that your baby is too young to benefit from attending a baby massage course or a sensory class in your area. It might seem ridiculous when you can surely offer the baby those experiences from your home for free. But what about you?
Those courses are as much about you as the baby.
Connecting with other parents on a weekly basis can be just enough to remind you that you are not alone.
When you are up doing night feeds in the dead of night it can feel as though you are the only person in the world awake.
But now that you’ve exchanged numbers with the girl who sits beside you at the playgroup you’ve noticed she’s reading your messages at 4am. You are all in this together.
Parenting, although splendid and wonderful, can be a really lonely experience and many parents adjust to their new lifestyle a lot slower than others.
Change can be a trigger for anxiety and depression as well as losing one's confidence and sense of identity.
Being around other parents helps dissolve that panic. It reminds you that you are part of an exclusive club now. A club that involves learning on-the-go and building confidence by the day. But it’s not a lonely club.
It’s full of members just like you and I that could also do with a reminder that they are not alone either.
Written by Tracey Quinn staff writer at FFHQ who also blogs at www.loveofliving.ie.