Holding Space for New Parents
Holiday season is always emotionally charged, especially for new parents who are stressed about introducing their new bundles to loved ones, attending first family-friendly social gatherings since emerging from their pregnancy or newborn “bubble,” feeling pressure to host, or trying to present themselves as more “put together” than they actually feel during this massive life stage transition. A recent article from “Self Magazine” reminds us how support for new parents can come in many forms. Alexis Barad-Cutler, mother and director of the maternal advocacy nonprofit called The Chamber of Mothers, advocates, “Helping is not holding the sleeping baby. It means letting the new parent nap, doing laundry, doing dishes, or tidying up.” Indeed, rest and sleep are especially important for a new parent’s recovery and mental well-being. Chronic sleep deprivation can significantly contribute to symptoms of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders for either parent, which is why some savvy baby registries now include “sleep funds” to help new parents afford overnight support such as a baby nurse or postpartum doula. Barad-Cutler believes, “giving new parents the gift of rest is so important to their mental health, recovery, and their relationships.”
But protecting parental sleep is not the only way to offer support. Sending loving texts with no pressure or expectation for a response, having a hot meal delivered to their doorstep, or, most importantly, holding space for however they are adjusting to new parenthood in that moment can all be enormously helpful. It is rare that new parents feel they can reveal the “messiness” around this life stage without guilt, shame, social comparison, or fear of judgment. Paige Bellenbaum, LMSW of The Motherhood Center explains,“We need to give new parents permission to talk about how hard this can be. If we can normalize the hard parts, maybe then we can start to address some of the fundamental needs in this country like adequate and extended paid family leave, subsidized childcare, and better supporting the needs of new and expecting parents.” #newparents #holidayseason #emotionalsupport #postpartum #perinatalmentalhealth #stress #parenting #cocreatearttherapy
Post by Sharon Itkoff Nacache ATR-BC LCAT PMH-C
Original Photo by Josh Boot via Unsplash
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