How Parenting Can Impact Our Own Mental Health

There are lots of ways parenting might affect our own mental health. Here’s some, with some follow up pages with more ideas on what might help in each situation.

  1. Postnatal Anxiety or Depression – Feeling uncomfortably anxious and/or sad most of the time in the first year or so after giving birth. There are lots of reasons its common to feel that way, and help is available. Unfortunately because people don’t always talk about it, it’s too easy to suffer in silence.
  2. PTSD following a difficult birth – Considering how common difficult births are, particularly for first time mums, experiencing a trauma response after should perhaps not be surprising either.
  3. Cumulative Parenting Stress and Anxiety – Perhaps most parents could identify with this one at some point. Whether its trouble juggling demands and tasks all the time, difficulty running on caffeine, no sleep and no adult conversation or trouble dealing with children’s behaviour, it’s very normal to experience this one too.
  4. Social Anxiety – For anyone who was socially anxious before having a child, parenting is likely to be confronting – from baby groups and classes to navigating toddler birthday parties, there’s a lot to negotiate.
  5. OCD – If you previously liked everything neat, clean and tidy children are likely to be confronting – particularly during the current period of covid-19.
  6. Cumulative low mood and burnout – sometimes demands build up beyond what your coping resources can manage, and it can be normal to feel overwhelmed or exhausted and low in motivation or joy.
  7. Anger and frustration – toddlers and pre-schoolers can be experts at learning to push parents trigger buttons due to their developmental need to test boundaries, but if you have a vulnerability to anger this can also be a tricky time.
  8. Insomnia and sleepless nights – some of us need more sleep than others. Sometimes sleep takes a hit due to the common baby waking up teething type challenges most of us sometimes need to get through, but it can also get tricky when your brain gets used to waking up at night and its hard to get back to sleep, even when the baby sleeps through. Whichever scenario strikes a chord, if there’s no help in the links below try the “further help” page for more signposts too.
  9. Grief – this may be following a miscarriage, be following news that our child will develop with a difference, be in relation to the loss of a friend or family member, or even the loss of a child.
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