07 November, 2022

There’s a lot of pressure to be in a bubble of love and joy when bub comes long.

But it’s common for parents of newborns to feel a sense of isolation and loneliness – particularly for first-time mums.

This may be tied to missing your old life and/or feeling like your sense of identity has changed or blurred.

Feelings of isolation and loneliness are thought to be risk factors for postnatal depression (PND) and anxiety, which are reported to affect up to 1 in 5 Australian women.

This blog post offers advice to combat loneliness as a new parent, and preventative measures for anyone concerned about developing PND.


Take care of yourself

You may not have time to take a long bubble bath or go for a relaxing massage right now, but that doesn’t mean your self-care should suffer completely.

Make sure you’re meeting your basic needs as best you can while you’re putting all your energy into attending to baby’s needs.

Taking care of yourself by showering, moving your body, and eating nutritious meals may help increase your coping capacity.

It’s not selfish to prioritise your self-care. When you feel good about yourself, your baby will benefit.


Reach out to your support network

It takes a village to raise a child, but new mums seem to be more isolated than ever.

It’s not uncommon for friends and family to take a step back once bub comes along. They might think you’d like some alone time with your new family, or maybe they want to avoid overwhelming you with messages and visitors.

If you’re feeling lonely or need more support, let your loved ones know how you’re feeling. Chances are they’d love to put more time and effort into nurturing your relationship and helping you feel connected and supported during this time.


Accept help from loved ones

This is not the time to decline offers of help out of pride or not wanting to be a burden.

If the people around you offer to bring over some meals or do a load of laundry, let them. This will shorten your to-do list while increasing your social interactions – win, win!

These acts of service come from a genuine place of love and care. The people around you want to lift you up and pitch in where they can, so accept and embrace the offers while they’re on the table.


Seek support from other parents

During the tougher days, it can be especially helpful to know you’re not alone and to have support from someone who can relate to what you’re going through.

Connect with friends who have kids for advice or just an empathetic ear.

If you don’t have parents in your social circles, consider joining a local mothers’ or parents’ group, or turn to the internet to find your people. There are endless Facebook groups and forums you can join.


Take steps to prevent postnatal depression

There’s no silver bullet to prevent postnatal depression, but there are a few things you can do that may help reduce the risk of developing PND.

  • Educate yourself – Learning about postnatal depression can help you identify the signs and seek help early if you do experience it.
  • Talk to a professional – It can be helpful to see a counsellor leading up to your parenting journey. This will allow you to explore any concerns around PND and address any other issues in your life that may impact your mental health.
  • Look after your body – Physical health and mental health go hand in hand. Eat nutritious foods, exercise regularly, and sleep as much as you can during pregnancy and post-birth.
  • Avoid major life changes – Try to maintain a calm and comfortable routine during pregnancy and post-birth, and don’t make any other big life changes (e.g. moving house).
  • Enlist good support during labour – Who will be in the labour room with you? Your partner? Your mother? A private midwife? Consider who will be able to best support you and advocate for you.
  • Consider household help – If you can afford a cleaner or a meal-delivery service, it’s worth booking it in for the postpartum period.
  • Find a strong support group – Surrounding yourself with supportive, loving people you can trust will make a world of difference when you’re struggling. If you’re particularly concerned about developing PND, be open and let them know.


Seek professional support

If you need someone to talk to, our counsellors offer a safe space to explore your thoughts and feelings and find coping strategies that work for you.

You can learn more about our counselling service here, or call 1300 364 277 to make an appointment.

Some other support services include:

National Helpline, Monday to Friday, 9am - 7.30pm (AEST/AEDT): 1300 726 306

Helpline: 1300 851 758

View other service options (including telehealth counselling and group programs)

24/7 helpline: 1300 22 4636


email (email response provided within 24 hours)

24/7 crisis support: 13 11 14

24/7 crisis chat

24/7 crisis text