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Adjustment to parenting

Adjusting to parenthood and life with a newborn brings with it lots of new learning and change.

Feeding your baby may come easily to you or it may be yet another challenge, and different to what you expected or hoped for.

Lack of sleep ⁠— Which can greatly affect your mood, energy, patience and ability to think clearly.

Coping with an unsettled baby ⁠— Babies all come with their own unique temperaments which can bring additional demands on your patience and feelings towards your baby.


Whilst the challenges of managing a new baby or young children is likely to bring some level of stress and anxiety from time to time, generally this will be transient and feelings will pass on their own with time. If however you have ongoing disturbing thoughts and/or feelings of worry and tension that are hard to live with and/or affect your ability to manage from day to day, then you may be experiencing more severe anxiety.

Feelings of fear and worry which begin to ‘take over’ your thinking

Reoccurring worrying thoughts such as that you are not doing things right and/or that something terrible will happen

Feeling irritable, restless, tense or constantly ‘on edge’

Bonding with your baby

Bonding with your baby is something that we generally expect will happen instantly and automatically.

Feeling emotionally disconnected from your baby

Avoiding having contact with your baby

Feeling resentful toward your baby

Coping during pregnancy

Being pregnant can lead you to experience a wide range of emotions and physical changes.

You may be feeling unwell, tired and irritable

You may be wondering how to tell others the news and manage relationships with family

You may have an unplanned pregnancy that you are coming to terms with


Depression during pregnancy and postnatal depression is a common, but debilitating condition that affects up to one in five women. Postnatal depression can also effect any parent or primary care giver including non-biological parents. Unlike the baby blues which passes on its own, depression can be long-lasting, and affect your ability to cope with a baby or young children.

Feeling low or numb – some people describe feeling nothing at all

Loss of confidence, feeling helpless, hopeless and worthless

Lack of interest and/or pleasure in life, yourself and/or the baby

Difficult circumstances

You may be facing finance, housing, domestic violence or legal issues. We can support you emotionally and link you in with other support services.

Legal matters are often complex, time-consuming and can drain your energy and money.

Having a safe, secure place to live is one of the most basic human rights.

Violence against women is a significant human rights issue in Victoria. Everyone has a right to safety in homes, schools, at work and on the streets.

Difficulty conceiving

Discovering and coming to terms with the notion that you are having difficulty naturally conceiving can be stressful, and can leave you feeling angry, depressed and anxious. It can also put additional stress on relationships, intimacy and your connection with others.

The experience of IVF can be challenging, intense and overwhelming.

The process of assisted reproduction itself is associated with increased anxiety, depression and stress and can impact on your self-esteem and confidence.

A medical diagnosis of infertility can leave you feeling shocked and in disbelief as you struggle to come to terms with the fact that your hopes and dreams of having a child are threatened or not under your control.

Family dynamics

Not only has your role and place in the world changed since becoming a parent, but so has that of other family members who have become grandparents, aunts and uncles and siblings. In turn this can effect relationships with extended family.

Expectations that family members may have about their new role may not align with yours

You and your partner may have differing views about the level of involvement that you both want family to have

You who may hold negative feelings about your own parents or your childhood experiences

Miscarriage, termination or infant loss

The loss of a developing or new baby can lead to strong feelings of sadness and grief. Often, however, these emotions that you may experience are minimised or not well understood by our family, friends or others in the community.

Pregnancy loss can lead you to grieve for not only the pregnancy but also your sense of self and your hopes for the future as a mother or father of that child.

You may wonder how to speak with others about what has happened

You may experience a roller coaster of emotions such as numbness, disbelief, anger, guilt, sadness, depression, anxiety, confusion and difficulty concentrating.

Other mental health conditions

You may have an existing mental health condition like bipolar disorder or a personality disorder.

You may require some advice or assistance with medication

You may require help linking in with other in-home supports

You may require additional supports from a psychiatrist

Parenting challenges

Parenting young children can be demanding, stressful and full of challenges.

You may be feeling frustrated by your child's behaviours

Worried about your baby or child and their physical and/or emotional health

Worried about whether you’re doing a good enough job as a parent

Preparing for birth or parenthood

You may seeking some help with preparing mentally for the birth of your baby or your parenthood journey

You may be worried about how the birth will go and how you’ll recover

You may be planning for another child after experiencing postnatal depression or anxiety in the past

You may be worried about whether you can cope with having another child

Relationship difficulties

Even the strongest relationships are strained during the transition to parenthood. Lack of sleep, never-ending housework and financial concerns can lead to profound stress and a decline in marital satisfaction. Not surprisingly, research shows 69% of new parents experience conflict, disappointment and hurt feelings.

Difficulties communicating effectively

Arguing over the same things, feeling like arguments get out of hand or constant bickering

Feeling disconnected, resentful, bored or unfulfilled in your relationship

Returning to work

Returning to work after having a baby may be straight forward for some, but for others can be challenging. As you come towards the time you planned to return to work, you may experience a range of different emotions.

Sadness or anxiety about returning to work

Settling your child into a new routine

Guilt around leaving your child

Traumatic birth experience

Unfortunately, childbirth doesn’t always go as we may have hoped for, or expected. When things don’t go to plan at the birth this leaves many parents feeling depleted, disappointed and in need of support.

You may have found yourself feeling powerless, out of control, or felt that your needs were not met, and that you needed more support than you received.

You may have feared for yours or your baby's life

There may have been complications in the pregnancy or at the time of birth, and/or unplanned medical intervention may have been required.

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