While the arrival of a new baby brings about a whole new world of joy and wonder, many new parents admit they feel ‘boxed up’ in their new, unfamiliar roles and this can take a toll on their emotional balance. While the new mother may feel she’s now at the beck and call of baby 24/7, the new father may feel left out of the action.
“I felt sidelined and no one tells me how I can help; I also recall getting scolded if I can’t remember how to work the steriliser. Many dads would love to help out but they just need to be told what they can do to help. Parenting probably comes more naturally to mothers than to fathers, but fathers today are certainly more involved in parenting than it used to be, especially when women have a career as much as we do.” Jerry Tan
Although a newborn can bring some stress into your life, you can overcome them with simple and practical solutions. To manage the whirlpools of emotions that will flood you when baby arrives, you need to:
• Know the roles
Whether you are the main caregiver or the main support, list down the responsibilities ranging from cleaning bottles to buying diapers, alternating night feeds and even packing the baby bag for an outing.
• Ask for support
Discuss with your spouse or other caregivers when you feel overwhelmed and ask for support. In this way, you won’t feel alone and you can all work together to find acceptable solutions.
• Talk to your close friends
Talking about your problems can help you understand yourself better and also allows others to give you advice.
• Be aware of your emotions
Be aware of how your emotions are affecting you so you won’t vent your frustrations on others, even if you do so unwittingly.
• Have a time management plan
Improve time management skills and implement a time management plan that can help you cope better.
~ Song XiaoLing, Family Life Educator and Social Worker with Feiyue Community Services