How are you going Dad?
But I had a plan!
For lots of men becoming a dad doesn’t go to plan. Sometimes this is because there wasn’t a plan! He might not have thought too much about becoming a dad or what being a dad was going to mean in his life. Or dad might have thought long and hard about it and had lots of hopes and expectations, but found that these didn’t seem to mean much in the real world.
This can all feel worse for dad because he can also feel a bit shocked or out of control. But we might not know this because we don’t really talk to dads about how they feel about becoming a dad. It’s almost like new dads are invisible, silent, and yet their role is hugely influential. If things are not going well for dad then they’re probably not going too well for mum and ultimately for the baby and kids, especially in the long term. This is the whole purpose of ‘How is Dad Going?’ We need to find out what becoming a dad has been like for new dads, by just asking them and encouraging them to talk about it.
So if that is you?…
It is never too late to try to make sense of fatherhood. It is fair to say that everything that is happening for mum, when she becomes a mum, is likely to be happening for you – things are changing at a deeper level. Probably looks different but all the huge changes that happen for your partner will be happening for you. It’s really important for you, as a dad, to know this because then you know that is OK for you to find this stuff hard, it’s not because you’re weak or a loser.
So take some time to read this bit and try to make sense of it. It is your opportunity to learn about why you might feel crap as a dad when you thought it should have been so straight forward.
Dads Struggle too
For a long time anxiety and depression in the perinatal period has been seen as primarily impacting mothers. Recent developments in exploring the mental health of fathers, both pre and post-birth has debunked the myth that fathers are exempt from experiencing anxiety and depression in the perinatal period. The current figures for fathers experiencing antenatal anxiety and/or depression in Australia are 1 in 20. This increases to 1 in 10 fathers in the postnatal period.