Postnatal depression doesn’t just happen to new moms, many new dads reveal they feel down after the birth of their first child.
A new study of 1,000 dads found more than a third of new fathers feel down after becoming a father and 72% of those polled feel there isn’t enough support with 82% of men saying they believe the impact of childbirth on dads can sometimes go unrecognized.
Study finds that more than a third of new dads feel depressed after the birth of their baby
Research by baby brand Ergobaby found that a quarter of new dads admitted to feeling crippled by the pressure of providing for their family and 22% found the lack of sleep messed with their mental health.
16% of dads also admitted to feeling resentment over no longer having time to do the things they enjoyed. One third claimed they found it hard to bond with their baby, a fifth felt overwhelmed by the responsibility of parenthood.
Two in five dads also admitted to feeling embarrassed for being a hands-on-dad and doing things such as wearing their baby in a carrier or pushing a stroller.
What’s more, 40% revealed they felt judged by family members for feeling how they did.
Worryingly, only half of dads surveyed admitted to talking to someone about how they were feeling and the struggles they were dealing with.
“This research shows that we aren’t giving dads the tools or time to adjust to parenthood,” says Amanda Loveday, Marking Manager at Ergobaby in the U.K.
“By championing simple actions such as babywearing – which can reduce stress and increases bonding – or talking openly and without shame about fears and concerns, we can better equip new dads to enjoy the positives of parenthood.”
What dads can do to help bond with their baby
The study found that 71% of dads admitted that using a baby carrier helped them bond with their baby.
60% felt overseeing bedtime helped their bond with their child, 57% bonded by doing bath time and 52% of dads were keen to give their baby a bottle.
However, despite the struggles many men admitted to facing, 92% of them said they wouldn’t change being a dad.
“The early months of parenthood are especially hard, with anxiety, isolation and depression being increasingly common among new fathers,” says Al Ferguson, founder of leading parenting network TheDadsNet.
“However, this often goes undiagnosed due to the perceived shame or guilt felt by men.”
“Perinatal health matters for both moms and dads and establishing a good bond early on – through implementing simple steps such as baby wearing or speaking to friends and family – can really help mental well-being for parents and children.”
Symptoms of PND
Due to the relentless, tiring nature of parenthood, some parents can experience some symptoms of PND without having PND. So the diagnosis is dependent on how much symptoms interfere with daily life. Look out for persistent patterns of:
- Anxiety surrounding the health or safety of the baby
- Obsessive-compulsive thoughts or behaviors
- Panic attacks characterized by heart palpations, difficulty breathing, physically shaking
- Unpredictable mood swings
- Feeling depressed, teary or on edge for no reason
- Losing interest in eating, socializing, being with family, your partner and baby
- Lack of sleep or sleeping constantly
- Getting angry or irritated easily
- Feeling exhausted and having no energy
- Lack of concentration
- Participating in irresponsible and risky behavior
- Thoughts of harming yourself and/or your baby.
If you feel like you need help or know of someone who needs help we advise you see your Doctor ASAP or call the National Postpartum Depression Hotline at 1-800-PPD-MOMS, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-SUICIDE for all of hours support.