We were never supposed to do this on our own. Raising a child was something that the whole tribe likely would have taken a role in. And as for the mother, she would’ve been surrounded by others who had either been there before, or ones who were in the same boat as she was. Essentially, she would constantly be in a baby group of some sort. If you’re struggling because you’re doing this on your own, then it’s because you were never supposed to.
Attending Baby Groups
One thing we both regret from the early days of having Isabelle is not immediately going to whatever groups we could attend. I’ll admit, that we probably didn’t even think about it. We had never done this before. Isabelle is our first child, so we were more focused on working out what the hell we were doing rather than thinking about what groups we could attend. But they’re incredibly beneficial.
They’re also quite varied. We would attend baby massage, sensory play, ones that were more focused on general chat for parents. And then my wife would attend a breastfeeding group. This was especially beneficial for her and her breastfeeding journey. If you are breastfeeding, then we both highly recommend attending a baby group for this if you can.
But it doesn’t matter what stage you’re at with your baby, you can still probably attend some sort of baby group.
Why Baby Groups Might be Able to Help with Postnatal Depression
As well as simply getting you out of the house, these baby groups all give you the same thing. People who have been through what you’re going through and the support to help you through it.
We are community based creatures. Being isolated from people for long periods of time is incredibly harmful to our health. We’re also far more likely to exacerbate our problems when we fail to broaden our perceptive. When you find yourself talking to other parents and hearing about their struggles, it can easily make you feel at ease with your own. Having that “I’m not alone” feeling will certainly help lift your spirits. And chances are, you won’t be the only one going through postnatal depression.
Making New Parenting Friends
Not only that, but there’s also a chance you’ll make new friends who are in a similar position to you. One thing new parents often find is a sense of abandonment from old friends once they have the baby. All of a sudden you can’t go out as much, go to whatever social occasions you once frequented, and instead you’re stuck inside on a Friday night with a baby who wants to scream. Yes, they might come around a lot at first. At the end of the day a new baby is a wonderful novelty. But people might slowly come less and less as you drift apart in what you’re able to do.
Just Give Them a Go
If you’ve never been to these baby groups, then I highly suggest that you give them a go. If you’re the father in all this, then yes you can, and should, still go. I’ll admit, I hardly ever saw a dad at these groups. I did go on a weekly basis during the first 6 months or so of Isabelle’s life. But then they were mostly mid week and mid day, and many people are in work at this time. I guess that’s one of the many perks of being a postman.
At the end of the day, it’s worth a shot. Baby groups are often free, so you won’t be out of pocket. And you’ll be surrounded by helpful, experienced people who know how you feel. If you happen to find yourself in a group with judgemental parents who look down on you for whatever reason, then simply give that group a miss and find another.
There are bad people everywhere, so of course you will meet all sorts at a baby group. Don’t let a bad experience put you off them completely.