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Adjusting to parenthood

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Do you need support?

Consider whether you need help in:
• Household chores
• Watching the baby
• Emotional support
Think about what would be the most useful for you, and communicate this to the people around you. Don't be afraid to reach out to friends, other parents, neighbours and relatives. If you're experiencing ongoing distress, talk to a healthcare professional.

Dealing with mixed emotions

On one hand, you might experience a deep sense of love and connection with your partner and baby. On the other hand, there might also be feelings of frustration and regret at losing your old life.
You might also feel that your identity has been replaced by that of being a ‘parent'. You might also feel guilty for feeling this way. Bear in mind that these experiences are normal and part of the process.

Great expectations?

Try to be realistic about parenthood. Remember:
• Every parent will have good and bad days
• Parenting is a skill you learn
• Parenting can be intense, challenging and unrelenting. Make sure you take time out to have a break and do something fun
• Develop a network you can call when you need to
• Things don't have to be perfect
• If your baby continues to be unsettled, ask your health professional

Adjusting to change

• Physical changes
• Physical recovery (e.g. tiredness, pain, breastfeeding, loss of libido)
• Lifestyle changes (e.g. loss of time as a couple/ for yourself)
• Almost all couples have less sex and intimacy after having a baby
• Body image (can be both positive or negative)
• Remember to be patient and gentle with yourself

Information for new mothers

Hormone changes might make you feel more emotional after having a baby.
Many things can make you feel so:
1. Disappointment that the baby wasn't as you'd planned
2. Worrying about baby's health/ your parenting
3. Feeling upset if your baby is unsettled
4. Lack of emotional, financial support
5. Feeling sad, guilty that you're not with your baby when you return from work
6. Coping with physical complications that affect you and/ or the baby

Information for fathers and partners

• There might be changes in your relationship with your partner, family or friends
• You might be more stressed
• Your partner might be preoccupied with your baby's needs and feel left out
• You might want to be more involved but do not know how
• It might be difficult to juggle work and family demands
• Ask your partner how you can work as a team
• Tiredness, pain and breastfeeding might affect you and your partner's sex lives

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