The Reality of Postpartum Family Support Changes
Having a baby brings a range of joyful moments as well as intense stress. Many first-time parents aren’t prepared for the anxiety of caring for a newborn, especially 24/7. Fortunately, family members are often available to lend a hand when needed. As the years go by, however, the reality of postpartum family support changes.
Fewer In-Person Supplies Reduce Opportunities for Connections
The pandemic has resulted in the decline in visitors to the home of the new parents. Precautionary measures, such as social distancing, have made it harder for family members to physically lend a helping hand. Air travel has declined, limiting the ability to cross states lines for in-person visits.
Although virtual visits bring family members together, the online space lacks the physical presence of connection. This reduces the benefit of postpartum family support, as new mothers no longer have the same access to warm embraces and the ability to look into their relative’s eyes.
Evolving Family Structures Reduce Availability of Help
In the modern era, there can often be fewer family members in the immediate vicinity of new parents due to geographic shifts. People are increasingly transient, moving to pursue better jobs or educational opportunities. This can limit the number of family members who can provide support in person.
Furthermore, some families consist of divorced parents and step families, meaning new parents have to move between two different households to access family support. The potential ease of connecting with family members is further complicated.
The Impact of Having Less Postpartum Family Support
Having less support can create more stress for the new parents, and some mothers can experience postpartum depression due to a lack of connection with family. If possible, moms and dads should reach out to online support groups and individual therapy to assist in the transition to parenthood.
Ways to Combat the Challenges of Less Postpartum Support
To compensate for the difficulties of postpartum family support, families can consider the following tips:
- Establish realistic expectations – Parents should refrain from expecting too much from family members who live in a different area or are dealing with health concerns.
- Seek support groups – Seek out local or online groups where new parents can find support from a community.
- Be open and honest – Encourage family members to ask for help and reach out to other family members for assistance.
- Prioritize self-care – Allow yourself the space to enjoy the new baby and focus on your mental and physical health.
The reality of postpartum family support changes, but with the right strategies, new parents can still find ways to connect and get the support they need during this special time in their lives.