Ok guys, not to rain on the parade of motherhood, but DADS ARE IMPORTANT TOO. And the reality is that somewhere along the way in the Baby-Journey, Dads tend to get overlooked. So much of the attention, focus, concern, and support is directed towards Mum and bub (and rightly so – they need it!)…but Dads need to be thought of and supported too.
Did you know that Dads can experience antenatal (before pregnancy) and postnatal (after pregnancy/birth) depression too? The stats are significant – 1 in 20 men are likely to have depression during their partner’s pregnancy, and this rises to 1 in 10 who will have postnatal depression. Unfortunately anxiety is just as common – and even worse is when these conditions occur together.
Although Dads don’t go through the same physical and hormonal changes as their partners, they face their own challenges: financial, social, emotional; shifts and changes in their relationship with their partner; their own expectations of themselves as fathers; maybe issues bonding with their new Bub; and even their own experiences of being parented (positive or negative) are likely to get stirred up. In short – you may feel that overnight your life has changed, and the stress, anxiety and expectation about being a good father and partner rears it’s head, as you’re trying to find your feet as a new Dad, support your partner and baby, work and provide, and maintain some semblance of your own identity (EXHAUSTING!).
Similar to Mums, Dads experience the emotional highs and lows, worries and insecurities, joys and challenges of being a new parent too. There’s so much more awareness and support of perinatal mental health issues for Mums and Bubs these days – but it’s equally important to acknowledge Dads, and to do everything we can to remove the stigma of help-seeking amongst the guys – you are, after all, a very important part of the parenting team.
Clinical Psychologist Registrar