New mum encourages parents to reach out for help

First-time mother, Taylor, says mums and dads need to talk more about the challenges they face and help normalise the emotional battles that come with parenting.

29 Apr 2021

Taylor and her husband welcomed first born daughter, Aria, into their lives at the end of 2019. 

Like many new mums and dads, Taylor experienced some emotional changes following the birth of her daughter. 

“I had a difficult labour which left me feeling down and out of sorts. I was unable to connect with my daughter and lost interest in caring for her, which was just awful,” Taylor said.

“I sought help and was diagnosed with postnatal depression.” Mum holding baby

Through treatment, Taylor learnt to manage her emotional wellbeing and started to feel the joy all parents want to experience in their new role as a mum or dad. However, later in the year after managing the challenges of parenting compounded by the impacts of COVID-19, she started to feel unwell again. 

“Aria was eight months old and things were really hard, especially with lockdown,” she said. 

“Having been unwell before I recognised some of the symptoms of my depression and decided to get support. I called the PANDA helpline and they encouraged me to visit my GP and seek professional help.” 

Taylor’s GP referred her to St John of God Raphael Services and she was quickly assessed and appointed to a clinician at the service. 

“I was seen through telehealth, because of lockdown and COVID-19 restrictions,” said Taylor. 

“As a health professional I am used to telehealth, however I’ve not been on the client side before. While I would have preferred to meet with my clinician in person, I thought the approach worked really well and I was happy to be able to receive support especially when I was unable to leave my home due to the restrictions. 

“I spoke to Jess, my clinician, every few weeks and we worked through my negative thoughts and what was triggering me to feel so down again.” 

Now discharged from the service, Taylor is back to enjoying all of the highs of parenting and quality time with her daughter. 

“She is my absolute everything! I never stopped loving Aria when I was unwell, but when you lose that get-up-and-go you need as a new parent, everything becomes hard and it’s difficult to find pleasure in the simple things like playing with your baby,” she said. 

Taylor says that she wishes more parents talked about the tough sides to parenting so that mums and dads didn’t feel like they’re alone. 

“I don’t think mums or dads talk to each other enough about the hard stuff. I eventually reached out to my friends to talk about the realities of parenting, at a deeper level, which really helped me understand that I wasn’t the only one finding parenting overwhelming at times,” said Taylor. 

“My advice to any new parents is to share your feelings with your partner, family or friends. Talk about the good bits and the things you’re finding difficult as a new parent – by opening up you’ll encourage others to share what they’re really feeling and you won’t feel so alone. If you need professional help, call your GP to find out what the best options are for you and your family.”