New parent? Buy a whiteboard
Conceiving, growing, birthing and raising a child can be hard. PANDA (Perinatal Depression & Anxiety Australia) remind us that:
- One in five mothers and two in 10 fathers will experience perinatal depression or anxiety
- One in three mothers will experience their birth as traumatic
- A significant number of non-birth parents experience similar rates of mental illness
6 – 12 November is PANDA’s Perinatal Mental Health Week. The theme and call to action is to ‘build your community of care’.
Perinatal Psychiatrist Adaobi Udechuku encourages every parent to build their community of care as early as possible.
“Everyone’s community will look different, but could include yourself, your partner, family, friends, neighbours, online supports, community supports alternative, primary care and specialists,” she said.
“I also share a piece of advice I first heard from perinatal relationship counsellor Ellie Taylor. I am consistently told this advice saved parents in those early weeks.”
I advise them to buy a whiteboard.
After your you come home with your new baby your family and friends will visit and ask “what can I do to help”.
- You will be focused on your new baby, tired, in pain etc and it be too hard to think of what they can to do help. So you may end up saying “that’s fine we don’t need anything… let me make you a cup of tea”!!!!
- Buy a whiteboard – nothing fancy
- List on the whiteboard ALL the tasks that need to happen to keep your life going
- When family and friend come to visit and ask “what can I do to help” direct them to the whiteboard.
- The best thing about the whiteboard is that it only takes one visit to “train” your family and friends so that they arrive, say hello and go straight to the whiteboard hoping that their favourite task has not been completed already!
Sample White Board List
“Thank you in advance – please cross off the job that you helped us with today”
- Make us a cup of tea/coffee/snack/lunch…..
- Play/entertain/take out the older children
- Walk the dog
- Folding/putting away laundry
- Put away the shopping
- Stack/empty the dishwasher/washing the dishes
- Tidying the living areas
To learn more about Maternity support services at Cabrini visit www.cabrini.com.au/maternity/