According to Postpartum Support International, postpartum depression affects 1 in 7 new mothers and 1 in ten dads. The numbers are even more daunting for people of color, affecting 1 in 3 new mothers.
You are not alone
Welcoming a new life into your family is exciting, it can also feel overwhelming. With our cultural focus is on that sweet little baby, it can be difficult to talk openly about how challenging it can feel. Whether welcoming a new child through adoption or birth, growing a family is hard work. From a fundamental lack of sleep, to the jealousy of older children, that little bundle of joy can sometimes feel very heavy. Add in COVID-19 and social distancing and having a baby can feel even more isolating. But you are not alone.
Good Beginnings of Central Vermont helps families navigate this change by supporting them as they begin their new adventure together, celebrating the good parts and helping you through the hard ones.
“Caring for a newborn can be an especially isolating phase of parenthood, even under the best of circumstances. New parents need sustained social connections and emotional support, now more than ever,” said Good Beginnings Executive Director Gretchen Elias. “Staff and volunteers have remained available to families via phone and text throughout the COVID crisis, and we are now starting to offer in-person visits from our volunteers again as well.”
During normal times, Good Beginnings connects parents with volunteers who support the family by helping with chores, rocking the baby so parents can get a much-needed nap, or even taking older siblings for an adventure in the backyard.
Tips on staying connected if you’re a new parent
Good Beginnings urges parents to connect with others, call a friend, get out for a walk in your own backyard, or out at a nearby natural area. Here are a few local, family-friendly suggestions:
- Cold Brook Path, trailhead on Nasmith Brook Road
- Marshfield Sodom Pond road walk
- Adamant Randolph Flood Plain Forest, trailhead on Prince St by Valley Bowl, Randolph
- Barr Hill Natural Area, Greensboro
- Hardwick Trails, trailhead at Hazen Union School, Hardwick
- Barre Cow Pasture, Barre
- East Montpelier Trails, various trailheads
- Warren Falls, Route 100, Warren
- Moss Glen Falls, Route 100 between Granville and Warren Texas Falls, Route 125, Hancock
- Osmore Pond, New Discovery State Park, Peacham
- Lamoille Valley Rail Trail from Hyde Park to Johnson OR from Danville to St Johnsbury
While enjoying the outdoors, remember to practice COVID-19 social distancing precautions. Protect others by wearing a cloth face covering or mask, avoid touching your face, and wash your hands or sanitize them often.
Support one another
We all can make a difference in the lives of those in our community. If you know a family who is expecting a new child, or recently had a baby, consider some of these ways that you can help:
- Organize a meal train
- Offer to go grocery shopping
- Drop off a bouquet of wildflowers
- Send a card to let them know you are thinking of them
- Offer to wash and fold a load of laundry (those little onesies really add up)
- Offer to take the older sibling out for a walk on the bike path
- Call and leave a message with a silly joke or a funny story
- Offer to walk the family dog
- Remember that when the newness wears off, people tend to stop offering to help
- Continue to check in and offer support as the baby grows
- To reach a postpartum helpline, call (800) 944-4773 or text (503) 894-9453
- Good Beginnings offers free tools and tips for new or expectant parents.
As Vermont’s health and wellness company, we are proud to support Climb Out of the Darkness. When our families have the support they need, our entire community is better off.
There has never been a more important time to support families with new babies. Here’s how:
- Join. Sign up here to join our team and shine a light, wherever you are.
- Climb. Get out and climb, walk, run, skip, bike, or bounce! Pick a destination for a socially-distanced Choose Your Own Adventure Climb during the week of June 14 -20. Stay in your own backyard, walk around your neighborhood, or check out our suggestions for close-to-home hidden gems in Central VT. Be sure to upload a selfie of you on your Climb for a chance to win a prize.
- Play. Download your BINGO Square and play along at home. Find your card here and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Choose from Self Care BINGO or Community Care BINGO - or both! Look for #ClimbCareConnect signs in your community, and be sure to follow our Facebook event daily for how to win more prizes.
- Donate. Your contribution keeps families connected to social support and mental health resources through the Good Beginnings Postpartum Angel Family Support program and Postpartum Support International services.
- Share. Reach out to a new family in your community to offer social support. Spread the word about the signs, symptoms, and risk factors for PMADs. And of course, invite your friends and loved ones to join, share, and donate!