Partners to Parents (www.partnerstoparents.org) is a new website for couples who are pregnant or have recently had a baby. It helps couples prepare for parenthood, navigate the emotional and sexual changes to their relationship, and stay connected. This helps parents reduce the chance that they will experience depression or anxiety.
New parents often find themselves overwhelmed by a roller-coaster of emotions. Depression and anxiety are common difficulties experienced by parents. But fewer than 1 in 2 parents experiencing PND seek professional help.
This means that if we focus only on treatment, the percentage of parents with PND will unfortunately remain high. We need to also think of ways to help prevent parents from becoming depressed or anxious.
One way that we can help prevent PND is by looking at what makes a parent more or less likely to experience depression. Some things that increase a parent’s risk can not be easily changed – things like whether or not they have had depression in the past, or whether they are under financial pressure. But there are things that can be changed. One of these is the level of support they receive from their partner. More than 100 studies show a strong link between postnatal depression and whether or not a parent sees their relationship as supportive.
This inspired us to create the Partners to Parents website, to help give couples and understanding of how they can nurture their relationship and look after their mental health when they become parents. Tackling the challenges of becoming parents as a team makes parenting easier and less stressful. The website includes topics such as:
- How to stay connected to your partner
- How to work together as a team
- What to do if you think you or your partner is struggling
- How to communicate with your partner when you are feeling stressed
- Understanding how your sexual relationship may change when you have a baby
The website is the end product of my recently completed PhD in perinatal mental health – so you can be confident that all of the advice on the website is backed by research. The content is also endorsed by an international panel of more than 50 experts in perinatal mental health. The panel included psychologists, psychiatrists, nurses, and counsellors, as well as parents who had previously experienced perinatal depression or anxiety.
We are currently doing some more research to help us improve the website – a brief survey that anyone who visits the website can complete. We would love it if you could take a moment to give your feedback via this link.
We hope our website will help couples feel more prepared for parenthood and all the changes it brings, so they can give their children the best start possible.
Pam is a psychologist and researcher specialising in perinatal mental health. She launched Partners to Parents in March this year. You can get in touch via: The website: www.partnerstoparents.org Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @PartnersParents Facebook: www.facebook.com/partnerstoparents