More than a third of dads ‘suffer from depression’ after the birth of first child

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More than a third of dads 'suffer from depression' after the birth of first child



A NATIONWIDE study of British men who started a family within the last two years, has revealed more than a third believe they experienced a form of “postnatal depression”, following the birth of their baby.
In fact, 72 percent of those polled feel there just isn’t enough support for new fathers, with 84 percent of men believing the impact of childbirth on dads goes widely unrecognised.
Getty – Contributor Many men do not believe there is enough support available for new dads
According to the study, as many as a quarter admit they felt crippled by the pressure to provide for their family, and 22 percent found the lack of sleep totally debilitating.
In fact, a third claim they found it hard to bond with their child,while a fifth said they had felt utterly overwhelmed by their new responsibilities after they first became a dad.
Some 16 percent resented no longer having time to do the things they enjoyed, and 15 percent confessed they had felt they were failing their family.
The research, by Ergobaby, also revealed that half of new dads claimed they were judged by others for struggling to cope with their new baby.
When asked were this pressure came from, 40 percent felt judged by family members, 32 percent by friends, and more than a third felt pressure from society as a whole, with one in ten told to simply “get a grip” when they spoke about how hard they were finding parenthood.
Little wonder then, perhaps, that half of UK dads admitted they didn’t talk to anyone about their new baby struggles, suffering instead in silence.
SUFFERING IN SILENCE
The study also found that two in five British dads said they have been made to feel embarrassed for playing an active parenting role, such as wearing their baby in a carrier or pushing the pram.
Amanda Loveday, Marketing Manager at Ergobaby UK said of the findings: ‘‘This research shows that we aren’t giving dads the tools or time to adjust to parenthood. 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.”
The research found that – despite being made to feel ashamed of engaging with their newborns – 71 percent of British fathers felt playing with baby helped with bonding, 66 percent said talking to them brought them closer, and 62 percent said carrying the child as much as possible helped.
In fact, 60 percent said that overseeing bedtime helped them bond with their child, 57 percent favoured overseeing bath time, and 52 percent said dads should give the baby its bottle as often as possible.
Almost 90 percent said they would have found it useful if there was more information available to new dads about bonding with their child.
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Despite their struggles, the survey of 1000 new dads found that 92 percent said they wouldn’t change being a dad for anything in the world, and 96 percent claiming that being a dad was the best experience ever.
Al Ferguson, founder of leading parenting network TheDadsNet commented: “The early months of parenthood are especially hard, with anxiety, isolation and depression being increasingly common amongst new fathers. However, this often goes undiagnosed due to the perceived shame or guilt felt by men.
“Perinatal health matters for both mums and dads and establishing a good bond early on – through implementing simple steps such as babywearing or speaking to friends and family – can really help mental well-being for parents and children.”
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