Ask the Expert: I'm a new mum and I feel like things are getting on top of me

It's totally OK not to love parenting all the time

Q: 'My baby is three months old and while I think I'm doing OK with her, sometimes I could scream, and I cry because things get on top of me when I'm so tired. Is this normal when you've got a new baby, and at what point do I need to ask for help?'

A: Mind coach and TV presenter Anna Williamson, author of Breaking Mum And Dad: The Insider's Guide To Parenting Anxiety (Green Tree, £12.99), says: "Firstly, you're doing more than OK, you're doing brilliantly. The first 12 weeks of parenthood is hard, I'd say among the hardest you'll encounter, as it takes time to learn how to be a mum, and to get to know your little one.

"Sleep deprivation and general exhaustion is part and parcel of the newborn phase, and rest assured you're completely normal to feel like you want to scream and cry at times – looking after a little unpredictable human can be overwhelming, and most parents I know want to (and do) have a good scream and cry when they feel it's getting on top them.

"It's extremely important to let any of this pent up stress and exhaustion come out, and a good cry and offload is exactly the right, and safest, way for all.

"Let others in and talk to your partner, family and your health professionals about how you're feeling. No-one will judge you – you'll probably be faced with nothing but empathy and support.

"Ask for help when you feel it's all getting too much and you need a break. Even half an hour of someone babysitting, so you can have some fresh air, a bath or listen to some soothing music, will help in giving you some time to recharge. Don't ever feel you have to be 'supermum'; it's totally OK not to love parenting all the time.

"If you're feeling like tearfulness and distress aren't easing, or if they're getting worse and are perhaps accompanied by upsetting thoughts, or prolonged periods of just not feeling 'yourself' any more, do ask for help straight away.

"Your GP and midwifery team are there to support you, and charities such as Mind and PANDAS Foundation can also offer a lot of help and advice. The main thing is not to suffer alone in silence. Parenting is wonderful but it's hard work, and you're doing a brilliant job."

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