Know Why New Parents Experience Mental Illness?

They say having a new baby is one of the biggest joys of life. Yet, a poll conducted by Royal College of Nursing with 2,000 new parents has revealed that two in five parents experience mental illness. What’s worse, less than half seek professional help, as many parents loathe admitting openly that having a baby is the reason behind their depression, insomnia and anxiety. Why is this so? 

Mental Health Issues In New Parents

Postpartum depression is prevalent in at least 10% -15% of expectant mothers, though researchers are slowly finding out that these figuring are overtly underestimated. As the poll conducted by RCN finds, the numbers are more like two in five parents.

In fact, a Danish study has found out that 1 in 1000 women suffer a serious psychotic disorder like severe depression, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder within 3 months of having their baby. But it isn’t just the women who become victims of mental illness post a baby; men are at high risk too. What makes matters worse is that men have lack of support as most doctors and healthcare experts focus more on new mothers and their babies.

Not only to 46% of new parents suffering from mental illness do not seek professional help because of the on-going stigma attached to mental illness, most are often scared to openly admit their ‘baby blues’ are a tad more serious for the fear of being labeled as ‘unfit parents’.

Are You At Risk?

New moms face an increased risk of mental illness, according to several research studies. How to know if you are at risk too? Here are a few risk factors:

  • Previous history of depression or mental illness
  • A difficult delivery with medical complications
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Constant stress as you try to cope with a new baby and regular life
  • Lack of support with the new baby
  • Problems with the baby’s health
  • Changes in your job and financial status because of a baby
  • Difficulty getting any restful sleep
  • Severe PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome)

Tips To Beat Baby Blues

If you are suffering from ‘Baby Blues’, now is the time to take care of yourself and focus on self-healing; before your postpartum depression turns into a full-blown mental illness. Here are our top tips to beat baby blues:

  1. Make time for yourself to relax, eat your meals on time, and get some physical exercise
  2. Ensure that you aren’t the only one caring for a difficult or demanding baby. Hire help and seek the support of family and friends
  3. Make an effort to have open, honest conversations with your spouse/partner so that both of you are aware of how the other person actually feels about the new baby. Don’t forget about the new daddy; many men suffer from lack of support.
  4. Join a group for new parents so that you have an emotional support group who is dealing with similar situations.

Seek medical help if your disturbing thoughts and physical symptoms are disrupting a normal lifestyle.