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New Baby – New Parent!

Help! I’m a New Parent!

Having a new baby and becoming a new parent brings profound changes and enormous challenges. Although there are moments of deep joy when a baby arrives many parents at some point find themselves exhausted, stressed, anxious or overwhelmed. During the first couple of years when the biggest adjustments are taking place it is not unusual to struggle emotionally.

Parents may encounter feelings of loneliness, frustration or fear that their old life has disappeared forever. Sometimes new levels of anxiety or low mood can manifest. Fatigue and pressure can lead to tension in close relationships. Often these moments will pass but when difficulties persist it is important not to feel you are alone with it all. Seeking counselling support can help new parents through this transition period and often leads to happier outcomes for the whole family.


When we enter into parenthood it is usually with a lot of trepidation. We bring with us our complex past, our current circumstances and the hopes we had before this moment arrived. A baby is the most fragile and precious thing we have ever been asked to hold and the responsibility might seem overwhelming. Some of us have lots of family support but for many being at home with a baby can become quite isolating. Counselling can offer a supportive holding space where emotional responses are explored in safety and without fear of judgement.

 Real People Just Like You

The following statements are examples of the sort of feelings a parent might express when they are safe and supported enough to do so. All names are fictional but are based on years of experience working in this field.

Bobby: “ I just feel totally shut down. My dad left when I was five. I find it hard to process how he could do that now that I have my own child and still I’m thinking, will I do that too? It scares me.”

Jen: “I can’t bear meeting other mums. I feel like they have it all together and I’m ashamed to admit it….im not loving it at all. Most days I’m  just stuck in the house and I’m drowning.”

John: “ It sounds selfish but I feel like I don’t exist. She doesn’t let me do much with the baby anyway and I’m feeling just shut out. My mum struggled emotionally for years so I know what it’s like when someone just isn’t really there for you anymore.”

Meg: “ I keep second guessing myself. A lady commented the other day that maybe it was a bit hot for the baby to be wearing a thick baby jacket. I was so angry. I left the park in tears. Then I kept telling myself how stupid could I be. I don’t even know how to dress her for the weather. It’s easier not to go out because I get so anxious.”

Support is Available

Clients are often surprised at feelings or events that might bubble to the surface and cause distress during the transition into parenthood. Naturally, new parents tend to reflect on their own experiences of childhood. This can sometimes be a painful process of mixed emotions. Broken family relationships or unresolved grief might resurface in unexpected ways.

It is important to remember that with the right support this time of profound change can also help us to dig deep and find strength we never thought we could muster. The challenges we face often lead us into new areas of personal growth. As a counsellor who has shared the journey with many new parents I have often been able to witness self- doubt slowly turn into courage, fear become replaced with a new capacity for love and the hope of becoming a ‘good enough’ parent begin to take root and grow. Hopeful reflections are often expressed such as:

Meg: “ I have learned so much about myself…but most of all I trust myself more, I look after myself more and I know I’m a good enough mum.”

Bobby: “It’s been hard. At times I didn’t want to come, but now I’ve learned to separate back there from here and now and finally, I’m really starting to enjoy the wee man.”

If you are a parent and you want to talk then we’d love to listen. Check out our counselling service here

If you’d like to find out more about the impact of ACEs and how poor outcomes aren’t inevitable then check out this section of Hope’s Table. 

new parent new baby