Becoming a father fills most men with a mixture of excitement, fear, wonder, worry, love and confusion.
We have come a long way from leaving women to take sole responsibility for their pregnancy and birth.
Most men want to be involved in offering love and support and will naturally focus their attention on becoming practically prepared for the arrival of their baby.
Many hours and dollars are spent on renovations, new houses, bigger cars, whilst scouring the baby product industry for all the equipment required!
Most expectant or new fathers will engage well in supporting their partner’s needs and domestic responsibilities in very practical ways.
However, once their baby has arrived in the world, the struggle for men to adapt can emerge over time.
Howard Todd-Collins, Director of MRC has appeared on Channel 9's Weekend Today program discussing Post Natal Depression in Men.
He also contributed to a recent article in Fairfax Media on this under reported mental health issue.
Expectant or new dads can feel the arrival of their baby as a lonely and overwhelming experience. They struggle to accept that they also need help and support.
For some men this can mean a slide into depression creating enormous stress on relationships with huge tension and conflict resulting in distress, separation and divorce.
As many as 1 in 10 men are diagnosed with Postnatal Depression (PND), often overlooked in men, and traditionally associated with women.
These symptoms can emerge during pregnancy and develop into a crisis point for new fathers once their child is born. Symptoms can last from a couple of months up to several years.
Typical symptoms of PND in Men are:
- Lack of sleep
- Extreme and prolonged exhaustion
- Significant headaches and pain
- Changes in appetite
- Feeling overwhelmed, out of control, and unable to cope
- Increased and prolonged irritability, aggression and anger
- High levels of anxiety
- Withdrawal and isolation from partners, family, friends and colleagues
- Increased use of alcohol or drugs
- Increased hours of work
- Loss of libido and lack of intimacy in their relationship.
- Feeling guilty at leaving mother and baby when going to work
- Loss of confidence in their role.
The most experienced father will also find the balance of work, family and parenthood challenging from time to time as their child reaches their developmental milestones.
The need for men to step back and take care of their mental health is essential to bring up happy and healthy kids.
Men and Relationships Counselling can assist all fathers.
Call 1300 88 45 22 to book an appointment