Becoming a parent is one of the biggest things that can happen in anyone’s life, changing everything completely. But throw a global pandemic that means social distancing and strict restrictions are the norm into the mix and it’s no wonder so many of us are struggling.
In December 2020, Conservative MP Andrea Leadsom warned of an ‘epidemic’ of postnatal depression due to the restrictions on new parents, with isolation thought to be the biggest factor taking its toll. However, there are several ways to get support, connect with other mums and feel better. Here are just a few things that may help.
1. Use your support bubble
All parents in the UK with a baby under the age of one as of 2 December 2020 are entitled to form a support bubble with another household according to current government guidelines in the UK. If you have friends or family living nearby and you feel safe to do so, forming a support bubble can provide you with valuable company and support.
2. Talk it out
A problem shared is a problem halved, so if you feel like you’re struggling, don’t shy away from telling your partner, a friend or family member how you’re feeling.
Impartial, professional advice is also available from organisations like PANDAs, who offer support to families suffering with perinatal mental illness. Their free UK helpline is available daily from 11am-10pm on 0808 1961 776. If you’re struggling with your mental health, contact your doctor for help.
3. Online baby classes
Baby classes can be just as valuable for mums as they are for babies, but are sadly one of the many things that have had to close during the lockdowns. However, many classes are now taking place online, and connecting with other mums and babies is sure to boost your mood and help you feel less alone – even if it is only over Zoom. Sign up for a local class in your area, or check out Mummy Pickles for free baby classes on Instagram and YouTube.
Peanut is a free app that will help you to meet other mums in your area who may share the same interests, have a baby of a similar age and will likely be feeling the same as you do. Who knows, you might end up with a new friend to meet for a socially distanced walk.
5. Get moving
Exercise can have a big impact on your mental health, so try and make use of our permitted one daily outing by going out for a walk with your baby in a pram or carrier. The fresh air and exercise will do you both good, and it’s often a fail safe way to get your little one to nap.
Alternatively, try some gentle exercise at home. We’ve rounded up five of the best postnatal fitness programmes including Kayla Itsines and Results with Bump, which will help you to build your fitness back after having a baby.
6. Mums Matter
This initiative from Mind, the mental health charity, includes free meditation videos , breathing exercises and resources for some headspace as, like us, they believe mums matter too. Take five minutes out of your day for some meditation or deep breathing and you may be surprised at how quickly it can ease feelings of anxiety and lighten you mood. Visit mind.org.uk/information-support/mums-matter for more.
What has your experience of parenting during the COVID-19 pandemic been like? What resources have helped you?