We do know that having a newborn can be quite isolating, especially for new mums and dads who don’t have the benefit of local family support. The days, weeks, months following the birth of a child are intense to say the least. It is a time full of change and emotions (some amazing, some scary). It can also be quite isolating when you don’t have the support around you that you feel like you need. Connection is very important. It is important to feel connected to people that understand us, celebrate with us and can also empathise with us when we aren’t doing so great.
Who is in YOUR village?
This is an important area to discuss because so many things will happen and so many different experiences will arise in every parent’s life but the thing that will not change is how important having a good support system is. This is what we mean by ’village’.
So, let’s have a think about how we can feel connected:
- We know that Mother’s Groups have been around forever. If you have yet to give birth, ask the nurse running your prenatal classes about the groups available to you. If, on the other hand you have had your baby, head to your local community health centre or ask the nurse at your local baby clinic.
- Playgroup QLD is another great resource.
- Check in with your local library about parent and baby activities.
- Social media is a great place to meet with other parents in your area. There are location-based Mother’s Groups all over SE QLD.
- Local councils offer many free activities – call in or look them up online.
Don’t forget your pre-kid world
One of the big changes that doesn’t get spoken about enough, is the potential disconnect we may feel from our pre-kid village. This is the group who supported us before our little ones arrive. This is such an important group to invest in as well. We know our pre-kid village loves us. We know that they have been there for us in the past. And if we take a moment, we know that they would want to be there for us now. Having children is a big transition in our life but it should not come at the expense of everything before it. We connected with our friends over many things. These things still exist. Our village people are all capable of dealing with change and are able to compensate when we are going through something new. Communication is always key.
We want to keep our old trusty village, we want to continue to invest in them when we have the energy to do so. Communicate this and they will understand. Just remember, it is always handy to look out for new ways to connect with people. New villages with shared stories. And as the ‘El Paso’ girl says, why not have both.
We are better for our children when we as parents are feeling supported and connected, so take time to look after you. And if you haven’t found your village, give Parentline a call on 1300 30 1300, 8am to 10pm 365 days a year, or visit Parentline.com.au.
By Kimberley Harper, Parentline Manager