Fatherhood for the vast majority of men is filled with joy and happiness. According to a study, conducted at Melbourne’s Parenting Research centre however, new dads are just as likely as new mums to suffer from the ‘baby blues’.
The ‘baby blues’ describe a condition which includes symptoms of anxiety, worry, stress, feeling unable to cope, feeling blue and despairing that things won’t get better.
Surprisingly, research published in the journal Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology revealed the rates of these problems were the same for both fathers and mothers with 9.7% of fathers reporting symptoms of post-natal depression in the child’s first year of life, compared to 9.4% for mothers. This risk of ‘baby blues’ in men also changed with age and income. The younger the father, the higher the risk and men on lower incomes were reported to be 70% more likely to experience post-natal depression.
Furthermore, when they compared new fathers to childless men of a similar age and background, they found that new fathers had a 40% higher rate of these problems.
Historically, post-natal depression experienced by mothers was believed to be related to biological changes, but these findings seem to contradict the idea that only women can suffer from the ‘baby blues’. Therefore services should be geared towards men as much as women, and fathers should be offered the same support that women receive in their child's early life.
Happy Father’s Day to all you Dads out there! If you are struggling with fatherhood and would like to talk to one of our experienced practitioners, please contact your local First Psychology centre in the following locations: