Postnatal depression and loneliness advice

Parenting Consultant Barbara Olinger, MSW, shares advice for new mothers on how to best deal with the postnatal feelings of anxiety, depression, and isolation that are common, and why it's important to know you are not alone
Advice For Dealing With Postnatal Depression and Loneliness
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Postnatal depression and loneliness advice

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Being at home with your newborn can be very difficult. The myth is is that all new parents are feeling happy and fulfilled. That’s true for some mothers. But other mothers who don’t feel that way can feel an added sense of failure and a sense of needing to keep those feelings secret. The first few weeks or few months of having a baby can be very challenging. Your whole world has changed. There’s anxiety about how to take care of the baby. And there’s often social isolation. One of the best things you can do for yourself is to join a group of mothers, whether it’s an existing group, or going to the park and having a consistent time to meet. Another thing is to have your partner or another adult care of your baby, for even a half an hour if you feel comfortable, so you can do something for yourself. Meeting your individual needs can really help you be there for your baby. If you feel like you have postpartum depression, or really are struggling to get through daily routines, you might need to seek professional help. But remember, there are a lot of other mothers that are feeling the same way you are. Parenting is a huge job and we all need support.

Parenting Consultant Barbara Olinger, MSW, shares advice for new mothers on how to best deal with the postnatal feelings of anxiety, depression, and isolation that are common, and why it's important to know you are not alone

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Barbara Olinger, MSW

Family Consultant

Barbara Olinger has her Masters in Social Work and has worked with children and families in both educational and therapeutic settings for over 35 years. This has included being a Child and Family Therapist, the Supervising Clinician in an outpatient mental health clinic, a co-founder of a co-operative preschool, and Director of Family Development at the YWCA Santa Monica / Westside. In her current private practice, Barbara focuses on parent education and support for parents of children ages 1-10 years old and preschool teacher training. She offers on-going groups, individual/couples sessions, a monthly Dads Group, workshops on a variety of parenting topics, and phone consultations. Barbara has two sons, 29 and 26 years old.

The roots of healthy development begins with having our needs met. This is a requirement for growth: to separate, to feel confident physically, emotionally and socially, to gain a healthy sense of self, to be able to become compassionate. When our needs are supported, we develop from a foundation of trust- in our relationships and in our exploration of the world.

Strong families are built on a foundation in which development is understood and celebrated, mistakes are allowed, feelings are validated and connecting with others is emphasized. Parents can set limits with behavior while supporting needs in a way which promotes learning and self-esteem.

During this whole parenting journey, it is crucial to be conscious of our own needs and to take care of ourselves. Sharing our fears and anxieties about parenting with others can help us realize we all feel vulnerable at times and this can provide a space for growth and connection. Every parent need support!

Barbara’s parenting book “Growing From the Roots” and two DVDs (“Growing From the Roots” and “Welcoming Your Second Child”) are available through Amazon.com

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