Building your community of care
Find the people and services who can support you on your parenting journey.
Every family needs a network of caring support people around them
Pregnancy and early parenthood can feel exciting and joyful, but also isolating and stressful at times. Sometimes these feelings all come up at once. Every baby and every parent needs a community of people who are by your side through parenthood’s many challenges and joys.
Your community of care might include: Family and friends, health care professionals, new parent groups, online support groups, parent helplines and other people and services who can support you.
Making new connections
You deserve friendship, connection and support
If you’re reading this and thinking “I don’t have those connections in my life”, please know that you’re not alone.
Many callers to the PANDA Helpline share with us that they don’t have any supportive relationships. Callers worry they won’t be able to make new friends easily, or don’t know where to meet people. Many are concerned that other people might feel like they’re a ‘burden’ or ‘needy’ for wanting someone to care enough to provide some company and comfort.
You’re not a burden. You’re someone who deserves friendship, connection and support.
“As soon as I feel stressed or anxious, I speak to someone. I no longer hold it inside. I can then work out how to deal with it.”
How to build your community of care
Building a community of care around you and your family may take some time, but there are lots of ways to get started:
- Texting a friend
- Joining a conversation in an online support group
- Joining a parent group or playgroup
- Speaking to your doctor
- Contacting a helpline
The simple act of reaching out to connect with someone else is the best way to start.
It's OK to start small
How health care providers can help
Finding community in-person
Finding community online
Your community of care starts with you
Regular practice of self-care can increase your confidence and ability to care for yourself through all of life’s challenges.
Parent and infant care
Self-care for you and your baby
Babies need care – in the form of emotional and social connection – just as much as adults need a self-care routine.
Caring for the whole family
Learn about the importance of self-care for the whole family, and find out about some of the activities you and your family can try.
Your presence in other people’s lives is more powerful than you can imagine.
The beautiful thing about communities of care is that they provide connection for everyone involved. The story you share with your midwife about your birth experience may help them to support another parent in future. The smile and wave you give your elderly neighbour out the window might reduce their own feelings of loneliness.
Caring works both ways. Allowing people to support us also creates opportunities for us to be there and care for other people.
Looking after ourselves, our babies and our community can help us all to maintain good mental health, and increase feelings of wellbeing, self-worth, and a sense of belonging.
If you’d like to start building your community of care but feel unsure where to start, please feel welcome to call the PANDA Helpline.
PANDA Helpline counsellors and peer support volunteers can help you explore all the different community-based options, and figure out what supports might suit you best.
“Our small or large acts of service create healthier and happier communities for generations to come.”
PANDA National Helpline
Find someone to talk to, Monday to Saturday.
1300 726 306
Call 000 for police and ambulance if you or someone else are in immediate danger
Talk with friends or family
Consider talking about how you are feeling with someone you trust. This might be a friend or family member. Once you starting talking you might be surprised at how many others have had similar experiences and the support they can provide you.
Talk with your doctor
Talking with your doctor can be an important step to getting the help you need. They should be able to give you non-judgemental support, assessment, diagnosis, and ongoing care and treatment. They can also refer you to specialists such as a counsellor, psychologist or psychiatrist.
Get help now
If you are having suicidal thoughts or are feeling disorientated it’s important to get help immediately. PANDA is not a crisis service, if you need immediate support call Lifeline 13 11 14 (24/7).