It takes a village

Sculpture by Ron Mueck

In any honest conversation, parents will tell you that they experience a wide range of reactions to becoming a mum or dad, from wonder and joy to ‘what have I done!?’ What might be harder to ask about and talk about is feeling unable to cope with the incredible amount of change and disruption that can come with becoming a parent.

The statistics suggest that 1 in 5 women and 1 in 6 men will experience clinical levels of anxiety in both the antenatal and postnatal periods and 1 in 7 Australian women and 1 in 10 Australian men report comorbid depressive symptoms at clinical levels (COPE, 2018; Buist et al., 2008). For those with pre-existing, severe and complex mental illness the perinatal period poses a major challenge.

When you think about the adjustment at hand, it’s worth remembering the incredible amount of change occurring. Unlike any other time in life, becoming a parent can mean having major changes in friendships, work arrangements, intimate relationships and relationships with family, body image, physical wellbeing and personal identity. Not to mention that it happens all at once, with significant disrupted sleep and, for some, the changes come unexpectedly.

If you are concerned about how you are feeling as a new parent, please know there’s no need to suffer in silence. At Marsden Clinical Psychology, our psychologist Dr Rachelle Jones works with new parents who want someone safe to talk to about their experiences. Therapy can help parents:

Rachelle is very experienced in this area and has published research and spoken at conferences about the mental health of new parents. To make an appointment, please call 0411 542 624 or contact us via this form or emailing