New Parent – Dad
Everyone approaches and experiences fatherhood differently – there is no single ‘right’ way to be a dad. Impending fatherhood can be a combination of elation, fear, confusion and expectancy. As you watch your partner’s belly grow or you hold her hand during fertility treatments, it may feel as if people have forgotten that your life is changing too.
As a parent, you are the most influential person in your child’s life. From infancy, a child needs an attentive, emotionally responsive caregiver for their healthy physical, social and emotional development: a relationship in which the infant feels secure and connected to his/her caregiver promotes later psychological wellbeing.
If you are a new father, it is not uncommon to feel overwhelmed and consumed by the responsibilities of being a new dad. It may be difficult to cope with the stress of work and the pressure that may come with feeling you have to provide for an entire family now. You may feel unprepared and that you are not equipped for this next stage. Even though you may love being a dad, you may recognise some of the following experiences which are impacting your wellbeing:
- Loss of sleep
- Conflict with your partner
- Disagreeing with your partner on parenting
- Increased financial demands
- Being unable to socialise as much or as often
- Non-parent friends distancing themselves
- Feeling guilty or unable to express negative feelings about being a new dad
If you are the parent of a newborn, this is a significant time of adjustment and stress, and emotional health problems may occur for parents. Some dads experience feelings of low mood and anxiety in the postnatal period immediately after the birth of a child. This is common and often resolves with support from a psychologist. For some dads, adjustment will be more difficult and they may notice ongoing changes in mood, sleep, motivation, confidence and appetite. Other signs may include withdrawal from family and friends. Depression can also develop before or after the birth of the baby and if you notice any of these changes it is a good idea to discuss them with a professional.
At VCPS, we can help you decide what the future looks like and deliver you the coping skills to help navigate this new chapter. There are no rules, but there are ways to help you manage your new life, your relationship and your own thought patterns to ensure you thrive – and enjoy life – as a new dad.