For Queanbeyan parents Kendra and Dan Brownsdon, the experience of giving birth to their first child, Elliot, in May was challenging and confusing, as health services rushed to keep up with changing COVID-19 restrictions.
"We didn't have a lot of ability for support because of the restrictions. And the services were trying to figure out how they were going to continue to run," Ms Brownsdon said.
For the first few weeks of Elliot's life, Ms Browndson grappled with the grief of losing her former life, recognising something wasn't right.
"I thought that there was something wrong with me because I should be overjoyed that we have a healthy, baby boy but I really struggled with that loss of self-identity," she said.
"I struggled to connect with the change in my life, and that I couldn't just be spontaneous."
The couple reached out to counselling and parenting services and found reassurance from friends, that Ms Brownsdon's experience was not a rare one.
One in five women and one in 10 men and partners experience depression and anxiety before or after birth, according to Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia (PANDA).
PANDA chief executive Julie Borninkhof said demand for its national support services doubled since March, with parents seeking help earlier then prior to the pandemic.
"September last year we would have been receiving calls from one or two mums with babies under one month of age, this year ... we have 18 per cent of our mums with a baby under one month," she said.
Ms Borninkhof said increased demand was expected during the pandemic and urged parents to contact mental health services if they needed help.
"It's so outside of our frame of reference, that it would almost be abnormal not to struggle in these times," she said.
"There's often this feeling like, you have to tell your story to the right person and ultimately the message is just tell somebody who cares."
"Whether that's a family member, your partner, your GP, your mate at the pub, whoever it is, just have a conversation. Don't bottle it up."
Ms Brownsdon said supportive friends and local services, including Tresillian's QEII centre where the couple have received help with Elliot's sleeping concerns, were key to her blossoming relationship with her son.
"My relationship with Elliot is so much better than what it was early on, we sing and we dance ... it's just beautiful ... there's a lot more delight and joy than there used to be," Ms Brownsdon said.
Mental health services for new parents experienced a massive spike in demand when Australia was plunged into lockdown, with parents of Canberra's newborns the most affected.
Calls to the Perinatal Wellbeing Clinic's telephone counselling service jumped by almost 60 per cent as coronavirus restrictions sent the ACT into lockdown, putting a stop to home services and parent groups.
"It seemed to happen overnight," chief executive Yvonne Luxford said.
"Each call was twice as long as usual, and really intense and obviously people were quite focused on COVID and lockdown.
"We very strongly felt that the build-up of tension from the bushfires, smoke and the hailstorm that preceeded COVID really fed into people's heightened sense of anxiety."
Pregnant women were among the most affected by the isolation of lockdown, Ms Luxford said, as the centre experienced a rise in clients reaching out before birth.
"You couldn't take anybody with you when you were going to antenatal visits, so if you were going in for a scan or going to visit the doctor or midwife, you couldn't take anyone," she said.
"And you had to nominate who was going to be at the birth, and that was the only person who could be there."
Family could no longer be relied upon - particularly vulnerable elderly relatives - to help in the early days of parenthood, and social outlets were shutdown and pushed online.
- If you need help contact the Perinatal Wellbeing Centre on 6288 1936 or PANDA helpline on 1300 726 306.