The transition from being a parent of one to being a parent of two was very overwhelming for us. My son was 2.5 years old when my daughter was born.
He was doing great as a big brother, but I have to admit that there were times where I found myself having a hard time to juggle between my two children.
He was still very much dependent on me and needed me to play, feed, and be there for him most of the time.
In between the struggles of caring for two, from breastfeeding to dealing with postpartum depression, while trying to make everyone happy, I had lost myself.
Thankfully, I managed to get past those dark days and now, I am out of the woods. Though I am not a perfect mother, I am grateful for pulling through.
Some parents never get past that dark stage. In fact, they dwell in it and end up going over the edge.
A hero and an angel
In a tragic story, a four-year-old girl had to keep herself and her two-month-old brother alive for three days after their father shot their mother dead before turning the gun on himself.
David Kooros Parsa, 46, and Mihoko Koike, 38 were found dead from gunshots wounds in the upstairs bedroom of their home at Los Angeles, on April 14.
Investigators determined that the murder-suicide likely took place three days prior on April 11.
The two children were uninjured during the incident and was discovered by an opposite neighbour. The little girl is now being called a hero for keeping herself and brother alive.
"Our little angel was able to keep herself and her brother alive," Los Angeles Police Capt. Maureen Ryan said at an emotional press conference. "The baby is a miracle baby and the little girl is a hero. She's an absolute hero."
Olivia and James Robinson (the opposite neighbour), who lives across the street from the deceased pair's home, sensed something wrong when the girl said her parents were “sleeping upstairs and are hurt”.
“She obviously was in bad condition because she reeked really bad of urine,” Olivia said. “And she had more of a blank stare on her face. She was very, very quiet.”
The two children were taken to a local hospital for observation. They are now in the care of the Department of Children and Family Services of Los Angeles and both are said to be doing well.
Though the motive is not clear for the shooting, it serves as a grim reminder to parents that whatever issues you might be facing, there are always ways to overcome it.
Here are some pointers to help you cope better.
Parenting can be stressful, but it can be solved together. | Image source: iStock
Coping with parental stress
1. Attend to your self-care
Make sure you’re eating well and getting sleep. It’s very hard to cope with day-to-day stress if you are exhausted. Make sure that sleep is a priority. This might mean letting some other things go so that you can get rest.
If sleep is going well, consider other aspects of self-care like exercise, or spending time with friends without kids. It can be easy to lose yourself in parenting, but remember that you have needs too. You’ll be a better parent when your cup is full.
Talk to your partner more, especially about the things you are worried about, but also about everyday issues so that maybe you can catch yourself before you start worrying about them.
Talk to other parents, including friends and family members, about the parenting issues you are facing and things you are anxious about. It is often helpful to simply know that other people are going through the same things and have the same worries.
3. Look for progress, not perfection
Identify unrealistic expectations. A clean house 24/7, a very good sleeping baby or a toddler that does not cry isn’t true. It’s normal to have piles of laundry undone and beds that are not made up.
Take a moment to step away into another room and breathe for a minute when your kids are being particularly challenging and practice mindfulness.
There is nothing wrong with asking for help when you feel overwhelming anxiety. | Source: Pexels
4. Seek help
Consider seeking professional help from your doctor, a psychologist, or a psychiatrist, if your stress and anxieties are causing severe or lingering symptoms to the point it is hard to sleep or even do your daily activities.
There’s no need to feel embarrassed or defeated when you seek help. It’s important that your physical and mental state is well before you can care for your little ones.
5. Trust your instincts
Lastly, don’t read every parenting article out there. Don’t be too hard on yourself and don’t compare yourself with others. Do your best, love your kids, and trust your instincts. Remember that advice is just a suggestion and do what works well for you and your family.
Source: abc News
Read also: Dealing with postnatal stress