Expecting a child can be one of the most exciting prospects there is. However, it’s normal to experience a certain level of worry and anxiety. This is particularly true for pregnant people in the first and second trimesters.
Since turning the world upside down last year, COVID-19 continues to pose a global health threat. Vulnerable groups are particularly at risk, including pregnant people. Pre-term anxiety is often already at play, in addition to the postpartum baby blues. Add a global health pandemic to the mix and anxiety levels are reaching new heights.
A recent study of over 9000 pregnant and breastfeeding people found high levels of anxiety and depression among pregnant and breastfeeding women during the COVID‐19 outbreak. 15% of participants suffered major depressive symptoms.
We know this is a challenging time for many new and expecting parents out there. Although we may all be more physically distanced than before, we want you to know you’re not alone. In this blog, we share tips and resources for helping expecting or new parents deal with the anxiety of parenthood preparation!
Online Antenatal Classes
If the last year has taught us anything, it’s that maintaining human connection is vital in navigating the COVID-19 rollercoaster. Prenatal classes are strongly recommended by medical health professionals to prepare parents for their baby’s arrival. However, they can play more than just an educational role during your third trimester.
We know that attending classes online isn’t always the same as in person, but that's not to say they’re not effective. Being able to virtually engage with others going through the same thing, especially during such unusual times, can bring comfort. Seeing and hearing other people, even virtually, can help tackle feelings of isolation or anxiety.
Babylist.com put together a list of their recommended pre-natal and childbirth classes, including free options and classes for couples.
Counseling and other Mental Health Resources
Thankfully, living in the digital age means that attending counseling doesn’t rely on physical, face-to-face contact. Online counseling has soared in popularity over the past year as people seek extra support during an emotionally challenging period.
Betterhelp.com has been the standout service for online counselling in 2020 and into 2021. Offering affordable, private online counselling, BetterHelp will match you to one of 15,000 licensed therapists. Suitable for any background or circumstance, it’s a great way to share the burden of some of your biggest anxieties, fears or concerns as you prepare for parenthood in a pandemic.
Free online therapy options are more difficult to come by, but not impossible! Freeonlinetherapy.org offers free counseling and advice for people struggling with anxiety, depression or relationship issues. Paindoctor.com also recommends these free online therapy options, available to anyone with internet access!
The Canadian Mental Health Association is also a great resource for Canadians seeking support with anxiety or other mental health disorders.
Self-help Literature (or Just a Good old Book!)
Social media can be a great source of information and positivity, but endless scrolling can end up having a negative impact on our mental health as we compare our lives to those of others. Many of us crave online engagement through news sites or social media. When it comes to switching off, though, picking up a book can help our busy brains take a much-needed break.
Physical distance can cause feelings of loneliness, but there’s nowhere more isolating than being stuck for too long inside your own head. The right self-help books can be an extremely effective tool when you’re feeling overwhelmed or in need of guidance. This Forbes list of pregnancy and new parenthood books includes some important reads for new and expecting parents. We also love ‘Impossible Parenting: Creating a New Culture of Mental Health for Parents’ by Olivia Scobie. In it, the author outlines the systems messages and pressures put on parents of infants and young children, and provides practical solutions for parents who are struggling to meet impossible standards.
Nurture Key Relationships (and Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help!)
It can seem hard to pick up the phone or communicate with others when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Depression, low mood, anxiety or stress can cause us to retreat further into ourselves. But reaching out to those closest to you can help to alleviate those feelings of isolation. A quick video chat, phone call, Zoom session or even a bit of texting back and forth can lift your mood and alter your mindset into something a little more positive.
It’s also important to ask for help when you need it. Juggling work and pregnancy in the middle of a pandemic is no easy task. Ask your partner to help more with household chores, or see if a friend or family member is able to pick up groceries or other necessities.
Are you expecting a baby, or maybe you have a newborn? Follow us on Facebook or Instagram. You can also subscribe to our newsletter for our latest news and updates, or for more useful, baby-handling knowledge from our experienced Joeyband™ team.