Until very recently, post-natal mental health problems were seen as only affecting women. But in fact partners are clearly affected too – and how could they not be, as they also go through such major life transitions. Post natal depression is now thought to affect 1 in 10 dads. Despite this, partners are not routinely asked about their mental health.
And while self-care has hit the news recently, it often focuses on women.
Tony Crone, of PND Daddies, is working to change this – raising awareness of postnatal mental health problems in dads and encouraging dads to look after themselves too. I asked him to tell me Just One Thing he’d say to new dads – “Make sure you take time in your new busy life for just you and for just you and your partner”.
‘So I have been asked to write this guest blog with my one bit of advice I would give to new and soon to be parents. I have to admit this has been the hardest guest blog I have ever written. I was asked over 3 months ago to write this and its took me that long to write and publish this blog not because I didn’t know what to say, the exact opposite I had too much to say I couldn’t think about that just one thing, I had so much to advise.
I have finally decided what my one bit of advice I would give to parents and I think its one of the most important bits of advice any new parent could be given and it’s this bit of advice.
Make sure you take time in your new busy life for Just you and for just you and your partner. And when I say just you I mean yes without the new baby. I know this might sound strange but trust me you are going to need this time. I also know how hard this can be and how little time you have in your schedule with out having to worry about your time.
When Elizabeth was born I didn’t bother with any selfcare I was so wrapped up with looking after Elizabeth that I didn’t look after my own mental health. It wasn’t until I got PND and had a break down that I was made to realise by my health visitor that I needed to take time out for just me. I took up baking and that for me was my one hour every week that I had to myself and was able to just bake a cake and switch off. Mel, my wife always loved a long soak in the bath. I don’t know what your thing is, but I know you will have that one thing that relaxes you and you enjoy so keep on doing it find time in your schedule and fit in that little bit of time just for you. And as a couple to try and make one night a month just you and the other half. Plan a romantic meal and spoil the one you love. If you don’t have other half, then go out with your mates.
Your life does not stop when you have a baby it changes but it doesn’t stop. If you just keep going focusing on baby without even looking at yourself, you are going to burn yourself out and be no use to anyone let alone your baby. This time lets you relax and lets you switch off and recharge for the hard work that is being a parent. And it also lets you feel like you in a time when your life is being taken over. Trust me if you follow this advice and it will change your mood for the better. Being a new parent is hard and you need time to recharge your life
So there is my advice. Make time for self-care and time for just you’