Post-natal depression and anxiety
The rates of post-natal depression and anxiety in new parents has more than doubled during Covid. Research out of Europe and the UK indicates that 47% of mums with a baby 6 months and younger are meeting the threshold for post-natal depression and anxiety.
This is a significant increase to the normal rate of 23%. In Australia right now, new mums and dads are at a much greater risk of struggling through their early days of parenthood.
Support during COVID
Having a baby during a pandemic means that the usual support, ranging from mother’s group, activities for babies, visits from grandparents and more, aren’t available. Women are leaving hospital earlier for fear of contracting COVID, or they are being sent home earlier without the usual amount of advice from midwives on settling, feeding and parenting a newborn. New parents are alone with their baby for weeks, even months without seeing family members and friends.
In Australia right now, there is a 19 week wait for some post-natal support services and mental health hotlines such as Lifeline are receiving 222 more calls a day than before the pandemic.
Baby101 Online Event
In an attempt to battle these increasing rates, there is a new initiative dedicated to helping expectant parents navigate their way through the maze of post birth and parenting. Baby101 is an online event that will provide education, support, community and information sharing opportunities to empower expectant parents with the knowledge and confidence they need to enjoy those early days with their new baby, even when isolated.
Supported by an impressive line up of leaders in the pregnancy, birth and baby space, the event will be facilitated by TV Journalist and new mum, Jessica Ridley. Jessica became a mum for the first time during Covid in 2020, she says “Becoming new parents is anxiety inducing enough, let alone having a baby during a pandemic.
My maternity leave last year was nothing like I had imagined. I thought there would be lots of visits and help from family, mothers' group dates and pilates classes. Instead, there was the hospital system to navigate and talk of not being able to have a support person at the birth. A lot of preparation courses were cancelled or went online. We didn't have any family support in the first six months, due to lockdowns and border closures.
My husband's work was impacted and times were tough. While I was over the moon with our baby Frank and managing exhaustion well, it was these COVID curveballs that caused extreme anxiety and stress. I know a lot of new Mums and Dads who are going through similar challenges right now. That's why I'm passionate about anything that makes life easier for them.”
Words from Claire Wootton
Providing a platform to prepare new parents with the education they need to survive and thrive during those early days is Claire Wootton, creator of this series of Baby101 educational events.
“There is no one size fits all scenario when it comes to raising a newborn. I’m a mum of three, and when my first child came along I was completely overwhelmed with the daunting task of caring for a newborn. I struggled with breastfeeding and sleep deprivation and not having my family close by to help left me feeling isolated and vulnerable.
We’re told that we are not alone, but it wasn’t until I was among other new mothers where I could openly share my experiences that I started to feel less beleaguered with advice, and more able to enjoy my motherhood journey. I came to realise that people spend so much time researching pregnancy, labour and birth, and not nearly enough time preparing for when reality hits and the baby arrives - cue the birth of Baby101!”
Other speakers confirmed for the online event include:
Neonatal Paediatrician - Dr Howard Chilton
Mothercraft Nurse and Founder of WOT Baby - Jennifer Hamilton
Relationship Counsellor and author of Becoming Us - Elly Taylor
Pregnancy and Birth Doula - Jules Coffey
Founder of Birthing Dads - Steven Kennedy
Lactation Consultant Meg Nagle aka The Milk Meg
Midwife in My Pocket creator - Zoe Robson
Director of the Father Hood - Jeremy Macvean and more!
The online event will be held on 13th and 14th September and tickets are available here https://baby101event.webflow.io.