Building a support network
Parents often need extra support during the transition to parenthood to meet practical, emotional and social needs. Sometimes they live away from their parents or do not feel able to ask or receive necessary help either. The lack of everyday adult company, more time at home, and physical limitations, can understandably lead to feelings of isolation. It can be useful for expectant parents to think about a support network before the baby arrives. It may also be helpful to ask for help before the baby arrives and plan for some extra back up or at least make a list of contacts so your partner or friend can make some calls if you are unable to.
Family circumstances vary – some people have extended family members nearby; some have a partner who can take extra leave. Other supports can include:
- Friends nearby who can drop in during the day
- Friends or family available for phone or video calls when you need to chat
- A midwife, maternal health nurse, lactation consultant or GP
- A new parents’ group
- Online or virtual support groups such as the Gidget Virtual Village
Helpful supports include people who can listen without being judgemental or dismissive of your new experiences. The need for social connection is widely recognised, therefore maternal health centres usually organise new parent groups. These can provide company, local support, and shared experiences in the early months of parenthood and beyond.
Online support groups are becoming increasingly popular. Many parents prefer the combination of connection and convenience. For people experiencing social anxiety or difficulty leaving home, online groups can feel more accessible.