A few weeks ago, we joined the Parent Infant Partnership (PIP) UK at Westminster Cathedral as they celebrated the three year anniversary of the 1001 Critical Days manifesto. We’ve been involved with this initiative since the beginning so we’re thrilled to see how far it’s come over the last few years, gaining more support from MPs across the political spectrum.
It’s truly encouraging to see how effective a joined-up approach to parenting and infant well-being can be, and this manifesto really fits well with our parent-centred parenting approach. The parent-centred model recognises that parents who are tired, stressed and stretched to their limits are not in the best position to raise happy contented children – it empowers parents to ask for help and be a good role model.
The 1001 Critical Days supports adults in this by taking care not just of the infant’s needs, but also the parents’ wellbeing. One of the topics that featured heavily at the event was mental health, with Elaine Hanzak (a motivational speaker) sharing her own experience with postnatal depression. How could a happily married teacher who had always wanted children possibly be affected?
Hanzak noted that we’ve made progress since the days when ‘the baby blues’ were merely shrugged off, but recognised that more support is needed for peri- and post-natal mental health for the many mothers – and fathers – affected (including when a baby has been lost, before or after birth). This is also a good example of the importance of parent-centred parenting; taking care of a mother or father’s mental health is crucial if they are to be a positive and confident parent.
One of the attendees reminded us of the old adage, ‘it takes a village to raise a child,’ – looking around the room at the doctors, health visitors, clinical psychologists and various other organisations behind the 1001 Critical Days manifesto who had got together, we could see what she meant.
We are delighted that an effort is being made by the government to understand and provide the support needed during the first 1001 days of parenthood because, as one speaker put it; changing the lives of babies and their families has the power to change the world.