MHAW: Loneliness with New Parents

Published: 12 May 2022 to 31 December 2098

This Mental Health Awareness Week, we are raising awareness of the impact of loneliness on our mental wellbeing and the practical steps we can take to address it.  

As part of this, today we are focusing on how loneliness can affect new parents, and the clinical importance of addressing loneliness in parenthood.

According to the International Journal of Mental Health Systems, there is growing evidence that isolation and loneliness are major risk factors for depression, including in the perinatal period.

A study by the British Red Cross found that more than 8 in 10 mums (83%) under the age of 30 have feelings of loneliness some of the time, while 43% said they feel lonely all of the time.

When it comes to finding ways to deal with loneliness in your life, it is important that you acknowledge the feelings as soon as you become aware of them. It can be hard to identify if you have feelings of loneliness, but already asking yourself the question is a good place to start.

There are resources online that can then help you to understand how you are feeling, such as Emma’s Diary, which also provides a whole host of tips on how to cope with loneliness after having a baby.

At this stage, part of being able to accept how you feel is also having an understanding that it is perfectly normal to feel this way, especially when handling the challenges of being a new parent and adjusting to new routines during maternity leave.

Once you feel you have some understanding of how you might be feeling, and have perhaps found some online resources and tools to help you, it is ok if you feel like you still need some additional support.

Face-to-face support can be of untold benefit to those experiencing loneliness in parenthood, as not only can it equip you with professional advice and guidance, but it helps you to get out and about, connect with others and slot something in your daily routine which is just for you.

Our ISPHN service is here for you

Our Integrated Specialist Public Health Nurses (ISPHN) provide a range of quality support services for new mothers in Hull and the East Riding.

Louise, Universal Children’s Service Manager from our ISPHN service, said:

“We recognise loneliness, especially following the Covid pandemic, in new parents and those who move into the area. Part of our Health Visitor role is to assess maternal mental health at all contacts. We offer ‘listening visits’ to mothers who are struggling with low mood or anxiety and we offer our baby 3-4 month development reviews as a group contact to discuss early development and introducing solid foods. This again encourages new parents to get out of the home and meet other parents in a friendly setting”.

You can find more information and the contact details for our ISPHN service here: https://humberisphn.nhs.uk/

Consider joining local groups

Wherever you live, there will be a variety of options available for new parents to attend classes and activities when pregnant and when your new baby arrives.

In the East Riding, our Children’s Centres offer sessions for early days, baby days and baby massage activities. Find details on their website here.

In Hull, ‘Us Mums’ is a physical activity and wellbeing programme for pregnant women and new mothers. They run a variety of different prenatal and postpartum sessions that range from pelvic floor strengthening exercises to mum and baby fitness. Find out more on their Facebook page, here.

These activities are perfect for new parents as they are health promotion oriented. Sessions are hosted at Children’s Centres and other similar places purposefully, to help new parents to make new friends and connect with people who are likely to be experiencing the same challenges.

Looking for further support?

If you feel that self-help techniques or local groups aren’t working for you, that’s ok too. There are options for one-to-one professional support locally. As part of our Trust, we offer the IAPT Emotional Wellbeing Service to all East Riding residents.

Find out how they may be able to support you and the service’s contact details here: www.humberews.co.uk

Alternatively, if you’re based in Hull, there is the IAPT Let’s Talk service which you can find more information and contact details for, here: https://www.letstalkhull.co.uk/

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