HOW NOT TO BE A SAD DAD
We’re used to thinking of pregnancy and motherhood as stressful times for the mother. But studies are showing that parenthood can be tough for both parties, and fathers can often suffer as much as mothers.
Increasingly, research is showing that fatherhood is not as easy on men in our modern world.
The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that depression was highest among fathers with infants aged three months and six months. These young fathers were overcome by a feeling of worthlessness, loss of interest in their spouse, and activities that used to bring them joy earlier.
There could be many reasons for this. The main ones are the lifestyle changes that parenthood brings to the lives of both partners. Sleep cycles get affected because the child often requires round the clock care, and there is the reduced intimacy between mother and father – who had previously been exclusive to one another – because their attentions are suddenly trained on the child. Life can sometimes feel as if it is going out of control.
All of these are psychological things, and both the father and the mother are susceptible to them. But since men have this stereotype that they’re ‘strong’ and that fatherhood ‘comes easily’ to them, they tend to bottle up the feelings they’re having instead f talking about them. They can also resent their partners, because often the mother is the one who insists on their cooperation and presence.
The two things that will help in alleviating the pressures of being parents is to have support systems in place, in the form of parents and care-givers from immediate family who will look after the child and give parents time off for themselves. The other thing that we must all do is to begin talking about it and stop treating suffering in men as a taboo.
Fathers need help too, after all.