Sunrise's Nat Barr shares heartbreaking parenting admission: 'Failure'

"You take everything on, you just feel like a useless mum."

Nat Barr has opened up about how the death of her father Jim, who passed away from ventricular heart failure at age 61, impacted her role as a new mother.

Speaking on Mia Freedman’s No Filter podcast this week, the Sunrise host admitted that she felt like “a total failure as a mum” when she struggled to get her 18-month-old son to sleep and questioned whether it was because of her dad’s passing.

Sunrise’s Nat Barr speaking on a podcast / Nat and her dad Jim on her wedding day.
Sunrise’s Nat Barr has opened up about how her father’s death impacted her role as a new mother. Photos: Instagram/natalie_barr7

“I was so distraught because I had a non-sleeping baby and it was, as lots of mums would know, the most helpless feeling,” she recalled.

“My dad had just died, I was six months pregnant when my dad had died, so then you think, is that why? Am I still mourning? Does the baby somehow know that I'm upset and I'm grieving? But hang on, other people have babies that don't sleep too, is that why?”


Nat added that a woman in her mother’s group had even told her that the reason why her son wasn’t sleeping was that she had gone back to work.

“There's all this unhelpful information around,” she said. “You take everything on, you just feel like a useless mum.

“And I wasn't that maternal. I always wanted kids, but then I thought, maybe this is just me?”

Mia Freedman and Sunrise’s Nat Barr.
Nat spoke candidly about motherhood on Mia Freedman’s No Filter podcast. Photo: Instagram/nofiltermamamia

Nat and her husband Andrew Thompson ended up visiting a “baby whisperer” to help their firstborn son Lachlan, and found that their second child Hunter was a much better sleeper when he was born four years later.

“And even now at the age of 18 and 22, the youngest one still sleeps a lot more than the older one!” she laughed.


While Nat is typically private about her personal life, she was photographed with her sons for the first time publicly in 2021 for a Women’s Weekly cover shoot.

“I may have this amazing career, but Andrew and the boys come first,” she said in the interview.

“Of course, I have always been able to run out the door to cover a story when I need to, but I only ever did that when the boys were old enough to deal with it and to be left at home.”

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