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Parent well-being before and after birth

In the UK around 1 in 5 women will experience mental health problems during or after pregnancy and studies outside of the UK show that 1 in 10 men struggle with depression and anxiety as well in that time period too.


At Close-Knit, we share resources that support parents to build a relationship with their babies and we recognise that when parents are struggling with their mental health that can be harder to do.


As an organisation, we are not here to create perfect parents, because perfect parents do not exist, but we do want to support you through our resources because we know that parenting babies can be hard work at times.


So, when parents told us that they wanted tips on looking after their well-being while also looking after their babies we decided to make a video about it, with parents, for parents.


Something that regularly came up when we were speaking to parents about the video content was that they felt it was important for parents to know that they were not alone; not alone in the challenges, not alone when wondering if they were doing it ‘right’ and not alone in times of feeling overwhelmed.


Sometimes you just need to know – you are not alone!


As well as the challenges that come with parenting babies there are many other reasons parents may struggle with their emotional well-being before and after birth, for example; if they had pregnancy-related health difficulties or birth trauma, previous baby loss, conception difficulties, a baby with higher needs or health problems or a history of mental health problems or trauma.


It is important to seek help if you are struggling with any of this from your GP, midwife or health visitor, see also the support links at the end of this post.


At Close-Knit we are passionate about showing parents that by looking after yourself, you are looking after your baby too.


We want to help parents understand that by doing things to care for themselves, they are more likely to create a relaxed and calm environment, which has a positive impact on baby development as well as being positive for their own well-being. Our video shares a few ideas about how parents can better care for themselves.


There are some simple things we can do which can make a difference. For example, if we are busy and feeling anxious, physically slowing down decreases our stress levels.

If we are finding it hard to be motivated and feeling low, moving our bodies in any way, and just stepping outside can boost our mood and energy. Spending time simply being with your baby and noticing their features releases feel-good hormones which can strengthen your bond and lift your mood, helping both you and baby.


Sometimes as a parent, you can almost forget who you are, what your interests are and even what you like. Doing something that you enjoy, something for you, can really help your well-being. It doesn’t have to take lots of time or money. Little things like listening to your favourite song or speaking to someone who makes you laugh can help.


If you are finding it hard to think of what you like, it might help to something you enjoyed doing when you were younger and think about how you can include this in your life now.


Remember when you are looking after yourself, you are looking after your baby too. What will you do to look after yourself today?


Check out our parent well-being video resource and other resources at www.close-knit.org.uk/parents and www.close-knit.org.uk/signposting for helpful numbers and links if you need support. You can follow us on Instagram and Facebook for more tips and information -@close.knit.families


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