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Your mental health as a parent

It's normal to feel overwhelmed sometimes. Many parents feel stress, anxiety, low mood and depression. Feeling intensely distressed at times does not make you a bad parent.

Taking care of a baby is physically and emotionally tiring, especially soothing a distressed baby. You need a chance to rest or have a break. Ask for help when you need it.

Non-urgent advice: Talk to your GP if you are:

  • having difficulty managing your distress or any other concerns


  • Take time out for yourself – go for a walk, meet friends or have a nap or shower while someone else looks after your baby.

  • Meet other parents – for example, at mother and baby groups.

  • Accept offers of help from friends and family.

  • Rest when your baby sleeps or whenever you can.

  • Be kind to yourself and remember that you are doing the best you can.

Baby blues

Postnatal depression

Interacting with your baby

There may be times where you find it difficult to feel connected to your baby. There are many reasons why this could happen.

For example:

Interacting with your baby helps to build your relationship with them.

Even though this may be a difficult time, you are still very important to your baby. Your baby wants to be with you, even when you are feeling sad or anxious.

Many people have difficulties in early parenthood. If you find it hard to interact with your baby, there is help available.

Talk to someone you trust. This could be your GP or public health nurse. They are experienced at helping people to get the best support.

Find information and advice for mental health and wellbeing

When to get urgent help

Emergency action required: Contact your GP or go to your local hospital emergency department immediately if:

  • you ever have very strong feelings about harming your child

This is a sign you need urgent help. This might be very distressing and difficult to talk about. But it will help to keep both of you safe.

Mental health supports and services

Slaintecare logo
This project has received funding from the Government of Ireland’s Sláintecare Integration Fund 2019 under Grant Agreement Number 123.

Page last reviewed: 12 September 2022
Next review due: 12 September 2025