By Joanna Lin

There’s a lot of adjustment that comes with becoming a new parent. Newborns bring huge change to families and individuals, which can be overwhelming and result in stress, anxiety or depression. Up to 80% of new mums experience emotional ups and downs known as the ‘baby blues’ in the first few weeks.

However sometimes feelings can worsen and last longer than the first few weeks, resulting in perinatal anxiety and depression. Infact, it’s a serious illness that affects up to one in five Australian women who are expecting or giving birth each year and even one in 10 are expecting or new dads too.

Like many mental health concerns, it can leave new mums feeling isolated and insecure. If not recognised or treated, the condition can become more severe, affecting mums ability to care for her baby and also have an impact on other members of the family.

The Australian government recently announced as part of its 2021-22 Federal Budget that $47.4 million will be invested to support the mental health and wellbeing of new and expectant parents.

For Mental Health Awareness Month in May, Cubo Ai’s co-founder Joanna Lin has highlighted three resources available for any parent experiencing ‘baby blues’ or a more severe bout of postnatal anxiety and depression.

Perinatal anxiety and depression affects up to one in five Australian women each year.

PANDA 

PANDA, or Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia, is an organisation supporting new parents affected by anxiety and depression during pregnancy and in the first year of parenthood. PANDA operates a helpline for new parents and their families to address perinatal mental health concerns.

PANDA also has an online mental health checklist, resource hub, information on playgroup programs and support throughout all stages of the new parenting journey. PANDA will receive increased funding as part of the Australian government’s federal budget which will help it enhance and deliver universal perinatal mental health screenings and improved data collection for mental health concerns for new parents.

Support groups and talking to your network

It’s important to seek help early with any mental health concerns if you’re a new or expectant parent experiencing lows. Accessing support groups in person and online through organisations such as PANDA or Beyond Blue can assist in getting back on track and remembering you’re not alone in your parenting journey.

Mental health is not a one-size-fits-all, but parents  often forget to mention they’re struggling to those closest to them, which can help lessen isolating feelings associated with postnatal anxiety and depression. It offers people within new parent’s support networks an opportunity to help with the new baby, check-in more often and monitor whether symptoms are getting better or worse, including ensuring good physical health and adequate sleep is being had by parents and baby. After all, various studies reveal the physical and mental impact of disrupted sleep, on both fathers and mothers.

The 2021-22 Federal Budget will invest $47.4 million into supporting the mental health and wellbeing of new and expectant parents.

Talk to your GP or OB GYN

Whilst the resources available to Aussie parents can help ease symptoms of postnatal anxiety and depression, talking to your GP or OB GYN about any struggles can help fast track referrals to mental health professionals and counsellors.

Taking care of your mental health as a parent is crucial, and needs to be done to help your baby as well as yourself. Self-care isn’t selfish when it comes to your new family and parental burnout and postnatal depression can impact everyone in your network. Talking about these lows with medical professionals with training in specific areas can help you lessen the load and pressures of becoming a new parent.  

Baby blues and longer term postnatal depression symptoms are normal, but with the right resources, education and support – new parents will be able to enjoy the highs and lows of parenting without feeling overwhelmed. If you’re struggling with postnatal depression, call the specialists at PANDA on 1300 726 306.

Cubo Ai Plus is the first baby monitor to apply AI to baby sleep and safety.

About Joanna Lin, co-founder, Cubo Ai:

After six IVF attempts, Joanna finally met her son. But when she found her baby’s face accidentally covered, she couldn’t sleep for months. Something new parents are all aware might be an issue, but when even six cameras couldn’t ease her worries, she and her husband partnered with Dr. Kenneth Yeh to design a proactive smart baby monitor for worried parents like Joanna.

With a mission to protect every baby in the world, she co-created Cubo Ai’s proprietary technology to proactively warn parents of dangerous situations such as Covered Face events so parents can step in when needed. Cubo Ai Plus is the first baby monitor to apply AI to baby sleep and safety.