New Parent Anxiety
Proud New Father
Being The Perfect Parent
Congratulations, you have a new baby in your home! Now you are on center stage spotlighting your parenting skills for all the world to see. With each visitor to your home, the need to demonstrate your knowledge and skill of raising your child is important. Comments made by parents, relatives and visitors are all reflections on how well you are caring for your baby, to some extent.
Now let's look at the reality of being a new parent, many new parents believe society expects perfection in parenting from the very beginning. Self-imposed pressure to be the perfect parent will often cause anxiety in the baby and delay the happiness in raising a child.
It is also interesting to note that dads differ in their standards of raising children than moms and this causes tension between the two.
Baby Care Tips For New Parents
Sources of Anxiety
Limited paternity leave is a concern for working parents. Some companies allow parents to take an extended leave of absence, even allowing them to work from home the first few months afterwards. There is a real concern when the parent(s) cannot afford to take more than the allotted time and this causes anxiety in both parents as they face having to return to work.
Financial concerns center around health care, clothing, food and other supplies needed to raise a child. Working parents must consider the cost of child care, or becoming a one income family. If a decision was made "pre-baby" to purchase a new home, the expense of house payments may cause additional anxiety.
Loss of Intimacy in a marriage relationship usually affects fathers more than mothers. They often feel abandoned or left out as the baby needs mom's full attention. Mothers' may not have the energy after caring for a little one to fully enjoy sexual intimacy, which causes a rift to build in a relationship.
Depression is a health factor usually associated with mothers after birth, but fathers may also experience depression to the extent that they withdraw from loved ones. A recent study based on 26,000 patients completed by Dr. P. G. Ramchandani (2005) showed that 4% of fathers had clinically significant depressive symptoms eight weeks after a child's birth. Postpartum depression is usually diagnosed two weeks after giving birth and should be addressed as soon as possible as it can affect a baby's care and development.
Social life can also cause concern as parents realize friendships change due to priorities in raising a child. Mothers may feel that they are lacking quality relationships because the baby keeps them busy and at home.
Quiz: New Parent Anxiety Concerns
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Managing The Anxiety
Returning to work can provide welcome social interaction for parents and keep the doors of opportunity open in careers. For those who have an option, look at all the angles and choices and make a decision based upon what works for your whole family. Considerations may include working from home, part-time employment, job-sharing and temporary leave.
Financial budgeting must consider the baby's needs, child care, insurance, food costs, and other associated expense in raising a child. Making a list of all the expenses will help you to discover what to budget. You may have to adjust your extracurricular activities and change your shopping preferences (try consignment shops, garage sales and online auction sights for additional savings). As the weeks and months pass, you will be able to adjust your costs and realize that opening a savings account may be an option.
Keeping your relationship strong during this early stage of your baby's life is important. Men, especially suffer from the lack of intimacy and will need the support of family and close friends to advise and encourage them through this phase of life. Taking time to play with baby and taking turns feeding your little one as a couple will strengthen your family bonds. And of course, all parents must plan some time as a couple to keep the romance alive. Find a few hours, perhaps while baby naps, to do fun things together such as watch a movie, cook a special dinner, or give each other a massage. Establishing some couple time on a regular basis will only serve to make your parenting enjoyable and benefit your relationship.
Dealing with postpartum depression requires a parent to face the fact that outside help is needed. Many keep this disorder to themselves, suffering silently because they believe others will view them as inadequate. Opening up to a partner, family, pastor, or a doctor will help to alleviate the feeling of shame and guilt that often comes with this depression. Other suggestions in combating these blues are joining a support group, counseling, eating healthy, getting enough rest; and if needed, taking medication such as an antidepressant. Make sure you talk to your doctor about the type of medication needed and discuss the effect on your baby if you are nursing.
New parent anxiety is quite common. Don't worry, no one is expecting you to be perfect and the most experienced parents will admit that they made mistakes along the way. The most important thing to remember is that your preparation prior to baby and afterwards, along with knowing what to expect, will help parents to maintain a healthy, balanced, and enjoyable lifestyle.