Updated: Aug 17, 2018
You are not alone - whether you are the first time or an experienced Dad you, can easily suffer from anxiety or depression perinatal or post-natal. However many men think it is just them feeling this way and no other Dad thinks like you do.
WILL I BE A GOOD DAD?
This is probably the biggest fear all Dads go through and one we perhaps don't share with others. This step into parenthood is a massive one moving from childhood or young adult to now adulthood and being responsible for another human being. Loss of freedoms, social activities, friendships and that little sports car...
Like everything in your life you have a choice - control the things, you can control or not. You can choose to be a good parent, or you can want to let the worries and anxieties take over. Naming your negative thoughts by a name can significantly help you control them by directly telling them to stop, go away or you're not listening to them. Remember the feelings you feed are the ones that grow - be positive, and positivity will grow.
The following 17 tip has been shared by Dads for Dads to help them through those first few months and beyond.
The sad news is that you will be losing some of your previously quality sleep. So when you can get it, take it - your body will get used to working on little to no sleep, but you do need your rest. In the first few weeks and months, you will be getting visitors to come and see the newborn - don't be afraid to say no to the visitor or use it to your advantage to take a nap too.
Your newborn will grow quickly - blink, and you will miss it. New clothing for babies can be, and the amount you will need is incredible. Your newborn doesn't care what they are wearing - so you don't need to spend loads on all new clothing. Using preowned items will save you £100's and £1000's.
One of the big things new Dads feel often is one of uselessness or not having a purpose. This can make Dads take on all the roles, duties and tasks within the household to show they can do it or prove they are a great Dad. This can be dangerous as you can quickly burn out and become a martyr. Take help when it is offered - wash up, make a cuppa or put out the washing or some items from a shop. Let people help you - it is not a weakness.
YOU'RE NEVER PREPARED
Having a child teaches you one big lesson in life - shit happens when you least expect it. This is metaphorically and physically. No matter how much you plan and prepare; you are never prepared. Take each day as it comes and enjoy the unexpected.
Getting yourselves into a routine as best as possible will help (but remember you are never prepared). However, trying to create an environment that is perfect isn't real - newborns will need to get used to the world, and all it's smells and noises. So a night time routine is excellent, but don't worry if something disturbs it now and again.
Babies are amazingly flexible, you may feel nervous to hold your child or move their leg into a baby-grow etc. but don't worry their arms and legs do more into them with your help. Having a firm and more confident hold of your baby is more comforting and secure than that of a timid and scared to touch hold.
Just don't do it! There is no positivity in comparing yourself or your child to any other parent or child. All this will do is increase your anxiety about being good enough. All babies develop and achieve milestones at their own pace - just like you will. Having good role models is great - but don't compare yourselves as you are all different.
It is entirely ok to want to have some space for yourself to reflect, to cry or to rest. Setting aside time for both you and your partner to have some quiet time is excellent. If you can both manage it at the same time will be a bonus for you both. It is essential that you both talk about this openly and set up a schedule for it (remember you're never prepared).
GET STUCK IN
You are an equal part of your child's life - get stuck in from the start. All the textbooks and classes in the world will never be enough preparation for having a go and making mistakes. You definitely won't be the first or the last to put a nappy on backwards. Don't miss out on all the elements of being a Dad.
KEEP A DIARY
Writing down how you are feeling or what you are experiencing helps to offload your thoughts and then they are not kept in your head going over and over them. Once you put down your worries and concerns, you can even physically destroy the paper, and that can be a powerful way of getting rid of them.
TALK TO DADS
Ask questions of Dads - ask them good things, as they may only want to tell you the bad and ugly. They can be a massive source of advice and experience - plus they can confirm they felt pretty much the same as you did as an expectant and new Dad.
EMOTIONS RUNNING HIGH
Having a newborn can be an extremely stressful time for parents and everyone around - bottling up feelings, worries and concerns are no good. Talk openly and honestly with a no-blame attitude will stop everyone second guessing and able to provide support.
WORK AND HOME
Talk early about what plans and arrangements you and your partner would like to have for the first few weeks after the birth. Once you know what you want to do, have a meeting with your employer. Having a way that will work for everyone including communication between both parties can minimise stress.
Grabbing quality food when you want, can be difficult - to help this when you have a chance bulk cook meals and freeze them. This can make preparing food easier, quicker and cheaper. Plus cooking can be a great de-stressor.
SHARE THE NIGHTS
Babies definitely love to wake you up during the night - these can be the most stressful for both parents. Make sure you take your fair share of the night duties to minimise the potential stress between you both. Eventually, you will get yourselves into a routine with the nights.
BABIES GET SICK
People will tell you not to panic - but you will. If you have a concern, it is best for you to get it checked out. Some people will make you feel like you are overreacting or silly for having your thoughts - these feelings of concern are natural.
YOU ARE A TEAM
Work, rest and play together - you are in this together, attending appointments, antenatal classes, decorating or buying items do it as a team. All of these events and activities can be an excellent source of information and advice.
CLOSE YOUR MOUTH
Whenever you lift your babies in the air - keep your mouth closed...babies have a tendency to let out some liquid, and quite often it can land where you don't want it to.
We would love to know what tip you would share with a new Dad to help make their time a little less worrying - tell us your tips you would give to a new Dad.
Barrie Dyer, Brad Parkes, Michael Annis