mother holding newborn

One thing about parenting that nobody prepares you for

Posted on 29 Jun, 2022.

We asked our community ‘What’s the one thing about parenting that nobody prepares you for?’ and were overwhelmed by the response. Mums began to share the things that really took them by surprise. The things that nobody had told them about beforehand.

Mums acknowledged that one thing they had never experienced before was the overwhelming sense of love for their new baby. But they also shared many of the things that frustrated, overwhelmed or even terrified them. Their shared experiences were really enlightening. How many of these did you feel too?

After birth I wasn’t prepared for…

  • The invisibility. Everyone asks about the baby and not mum and dad
  • How broken my body would feel months after birth
  • The loneliness
  • That being a parent is amazing, frustrating and terrifying in equal measure
The one thing nobody prepared me for after becoming a parent
  • The mental load that feels overwhelming
  • The fear of something bad happening to your baby
  • The sudden loss of identity
  • The intrusive thoughts and the trauma from birth
  • The relentlessness of it all
The things nobody prepares you for about parenting
  • The biggest burden I am carrying right now is pretending I’m OK and I’m coping
  • The guilt and judgement from all angles
  • How broken my body would feel months after birth
  • How you will be more tired than you possibly thought and can still function
  • That it’s normal not to cherish every moment because lots of times it’s tough, frustrating and even boring
the things you're not prepared for before birth
  • The complete loss of freedom
  • The overwhelming feeling of responsibility that seems almost impossible to manage
  • Why we don’t prepare enough before birth for the impact both mentally and emotionally
  • That being a parent is amazing, frustrating and terrifying in equal measure

Parenthood – the shock of the new

Although you can read all the books and go to antenatal classes there’s nothing that can completely prepare you for how much your life will change after having a baby. These responses do highlight how the biggest shock after birth is how much it affects you emotionally and mentally. If we talked about this more before birth then it might really help us better prepare. Or at least know some of the things to expect and be armed with knowledge of where to turn if we struggle.

Mental health checks for new mums

In 2018, the NHS introduced a brilliantly progressive introduction to mental health checks for new mums. Then Covid happened! The NHS recently promised that ‘ten sites will be up and running within months’ and ‘every area will have one by April 2024’. If that happens then it’s a big step towards supporting new parents and families. But that’s still two years away. And new mums need support right now.

What can you do now if you need support?

We’ve put together a list of places that you can go to find support, advice and help. Many include helplines and text messaging services as well as individual and group support. You can find them all here.

You might also like:

Where are our mental health checks for new mums?

How to tell if it’s PND or baby blues?

Is there too much pressure to be the perfect parent?

29 Jun, 2022

Created by parents, for parents, Happity is the place to find what’s happening in your local baby and toddler community – fast. Happity makes parenting life a little easier, and booking admin for small biz owners a doddle.

mother holding newborn

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