Anxiety around being a “good enough” parent.
Feelings of helplessness.
Unsure of how to support you partner.
Feelings of displacement after the baby.
Becoming a parent is often a wonderful experience; the birth of a child can open a whole new world that a lot of us men don’t even realize existed. However, at times parenthood can outright suck. It can feel as though you are supposed to feel only love and excitement about this new addition to your family, but when you have done everything you can think of, and the baby is still screaming, you can feel exhausted and powerless. It can be difficult finding your place in the changing family dynamics. This experience can trigger many important questions such as, “Will I be a better father than I had growing up?” or “What is my role and place in this family now?”. You start to experience anxiety, frustration, and feeling overwhelmed and it is easy to think that you are alone in feeling this way and that you need to keep this experience to yourself.
These struggles are more common than you think. While maternal postpartum depression is generally well understood and is estimated to occur in about 8-17% of new moms, paternal postpartum depression often goes unrecognized, even though it is estimated to occur in 7-9% of new fathers (Pedersen et al., 2021). The lack of information about postpartum depression in fathers can make it is easy to not notice the changes in moods and behavior, or to be aware of them but try to sweep it under the rug, however you do not have to continue feeling this way.
* Pedersen, S. C., Maindal, H. T., & Ryom, K. (2021). “I wanted to be there as a father, but I couldn’t”: A qualitative study of fathers’ experiences of postpartum depression and their help-seeking behavior. American Journal of Men’s Health, 15(3). doi: 10.1177/15579883211024375