It is not just Mom who is at a greater risk of the blues after the birth of a Baby, Daddy blues is real, and you need to be aware so you can spot any signs and put them right immediately.
The Daddy blues, or paternal postpartum depression as it is officially called, is more common thank you may think. In fact, 1 in 10 new Dads is said to suffer from a form of postpartum depression.
To put it bluntly, Daddy blues is real, and it is something that you need to be aware of as a new Dad, a family member, or a friend. We Men have a reputation for not asking for help when it is needed (guilty) so we need people around us to look out for the symptoms, and put up with denial when you bring it up!
Also, help out by preparing a new Dad survival kit, he will thank you for it!
Table of Contents
Daddy Blues – The Symptoms
Let’s have a rundown of the most common symptoms of the Daddy blues:
Feeling Down For No Reason
This is true for all forms of depression.
Sometimes in life, we go through periods when we feel down for no reason. Whilst this is unlikely to be the sole symptom of depression, it should raise a red flag and prompt you to start looking at other areas of your life for clues, and other symptoms.
Being a new Dad is tough. Nature dictates that the Baby will gravitate towards Mom in the very early stages after being born. The reason is clear, the Baby needs food and Mom has a natural supply! Because Mom has a natural supply of food for the Baby, the bond between Mother and Child is much clearer to see, especially in the early stages.
Nowadays, we have another option for feeding the Baby, which is by using formula. But just as a Baby knows that he or she needs to cry to get attention, but they also have a natural awareness that Mom has the food supply, and that can lead to Dad feeling useless.
Before the birth of the Baby, Dad only had himself and Mom to worry about. Now he has a Baby to add to the pressure.
Being a new Dad can be very overwhelming, especially at first. Common questions will be asked of himself, and each one adding a little bit more pressure to an already waning person. Those questions include:
- Am I good enough?
- Will I mess it up?
- How do you look after a Baby?
- Mom is doing everything, how do I compete?
- What if I lose my job?
Sure, these questions do not make sense to some, and others may dismiss them and just do their best. But if you are suffering from the Daddy blues, these questions will play on your mind until it is full of fear and trepidation. That can lead to a withdrawal from the situation.
Do Not Want To Be Home
I mentioned above that the additional pressure may force a reaction whereby Dad does not want to be at home.
He will look for reasons not to go home and may throw himself into work, or out of work activities.
This reaction will only add to the pressure. If you are not at home much, Mom may begin to withdraw too, causing all kinds of stress for your family, including your new Baby.
This is a difficult one to identify because having a new Baby at home will lead to erratic sleeping patterns!
Watch out for insomnia, and watch out for the increased need to sleep more. These are both signs that something could be wrong. If you are sleeping erratically, do not assume that you have the Daddy blues, but it is a red flag that should prompt you to investigate further.
What You Can Do About Daddy Blues
Speak To Your Family
If you have a concern that you or someone you know may be suffering from the Daddy blues, it is extremely important that you speak with your, or their family.
Not only is a problem shared a problem halved, but it also allows them to begin helping Dad out, and give him some TLC.
Speak To A Professional
Secondly, you must speak with a registered professional. These people are trained to deal with situations such as these and have all the tools needed to overcome the Daddy blues.
I have said it before, us Men are not very good at asking for help, so help us to help ourselves.
I know it is easy for me to say, but the more engaged you are with the Baby in the early stages, the more you will feel part of their life.
It is easy to become pushed out after childbirth, but it is up to you to step up and begin interacting with your new Baby.
Being useful in the early stages of a Babies life is tough. I mentioned above that Nature dictates that the Baby gravitates towards Mom for obvious reasons.
It is your job to be useful to both Mom and Baby. When you have a use if life it gives you direction.
- Learn how to change the Baby
- Learn how to feed the Baby
- Suggest changes that will help Mom and the Baby
- Get the shopping sorted
- Put the Baby to sleep while Mom has a relaxing bath
Be useful and you will feel useful.
Being organized is one of the key ingredients to successfully bringing up a Child. If you do not have routines for feeding times, bath times, or sleep times, then create them.
Speak to Mom to ensure she is cool with them once you have put them together.
Organize your work around the new Baby. If you have a job where you are regularly away for meetings then try to avoid having too many nights away during the first 2 months of your Babies life. Not only will it bring you closer to your new Baby, but it will also really help Mom out too!
You will find that the more organized your life is, the less stress you impose on yourself and those around you.
Organize Your Family
Similar to the above tip, when a new Baby arrives, it does not automatically mean that you will be living in chaos! Although sometimes it does feel like it!
Organize what you are doing as a family. At the start of each day that you are at home, arrange for things to do during the day. Go for a walk, go to the local park, go and see family.
Finally, a new Dad can avoid drifting too far into the Baby blues by accepting that it is tough being a Dad. You will find that life is much easier when you accept the following to be true:
- People will question you
- You will question yourself
- Finances are a concern for most people
- You will be judged
- You will make mistakes
BUT you WILL LEARN as you progress through the journey of being a Dad. You cannot expect to jump straight into Fatherhood knowing everything you need to know.
Daddy blues are common and can affect 1 in 10 new Dads.
It is up to you and those around you to identify the symptoms so you can work on getting better. A stressed Dad will pass those feelings onto Mom and the new Baby, so it is vital that help is called when it is required.
If you are a new Dad and you think you may have the Daddy blues, speak to your family and a professional as soon as possible. If you leave it, the symptoms will get worse and more difficult to come back from.
Do you know a Man that could be suffering from Daddy blues? The answer is the same as above, seek help as soon as possible.
I will leave you with one final comment. Although new Daddy blues can strike any new Dad, if you have prepared well for becoming a Father, then you are one step ahead of the game!