JUGGLING WORK, home, relationships, me-time and more is tough to do, right? Add a newborn baby into the mix, and all the sleep deprivation and insecurity that goes with it, and it’s easy to see why more and more new parents are suffering what experts have coined as “parent burnout”. And, to be honest, it’s no surprise that the fatigue and stresses of parenting in the early days – and even later in your baby’s life – could have an effect on your mental state. And from our side, there is no judgment either.
“Parental burnout is a relatively new term, surfacing in the 1980s and gaining traction in the last four years,” says Johannesburg-based clinical psychologist Jana Morgan. Its symptoms include physical and emotional exhaustion, emotional distancing from one’s children, and a sense of incompetence in one’s parenting role.”
Of course, new parents do feel exhausted beyond comprehension, but it’s when the fatigue of parenting becomes overwhelming and takes you away from your baby that burnout steps in. As Jana adds: “When parents stop having space for their own feelings and thoughts, they stop having space for their baby’s feelings, and then the connection – which is what babies, children, and people need most – vanishes. Feelings of guilt, shame and embarrassment are also rife in parental burnout, which correlate with symptoms of depression.&rdqu