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Patient Information

How are you, Dad?

https://kingstonhospital.nhs.uk/information/how-are-you-dad

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Having a baby can be a wonderful and fulfilling time in your life. But for some it can also be overwhelming, isolating and unsettling.

Many men experience symptoms of depression after their baby arrives. In fact, 1 in 10 fathers suffer from postnatal depression.

What is happening?

photo of man holding his newborn baby

There are many reasons why you may not feel as good as you might hope after having a baby.

  • Any period of change can be challenging. This is especially the case when there are so many expectations on you.
  • It can be difficult to try to balance your old life with the new.
  • You are likely to find that in pregnancy and around birth, mum is the priority. You may feel ignored, shut out, and lacking support from those around you, including the professionals.
  • You might feel pressure to support mum, even if you don’t feel great yourself.
  • Like women, men can experience some temporary hormonal changes as they become a parent. These hormones are designed to help you bond with your baby.  But, unlike birthing people, these changes won’t happen during pregnancy. You may have to wait a bit longer to feel a strong connection to your baby. This can leave you feeling a bit deflated. Remember, though, the relationship you will form with your baby is unique and every bit as valuable.
  • The expectation of having a baby can differ from the reality. This can feel overwhelming, making you feel low or flat.
  • Your sleep and appetite can suffer which may then make these feelings worse.
  • You may be trying to process what you experienced during birth. It can be difficult to see your partner in pain and feel like you cannot help.

Should I get support?

Everyone reacts differently to their feelings and can show them in different ways. What is certain is that life changes when you have a baby.

Some of these changes affect both of you. Sleepless nights, worrying about your baby, and adapting to parenthood can create stress. This may impact your relationship and make you feel isolated.

If you are finding that any of these feelings are affecting you more than you would like, it can help to talk. If you are not enjoying things that you used to, or you lack motivation, then reach out for support.

It is common for people to avoid difficult situations. So, if you are finding reasons to stay out of the house, it could also be time to speak up.

Remember, bonding with a baby is not instant. But if you feel guilty for not spending time with your baby, speaking to others might help.

What can help?

You are not alone. Recognising and talking about your feelings can help you understand this.

Finding help in the early stages of these feelings can help prevent them from impacting your life.

It can also help to be as involved as possible in the time before the birth. So, consider attending pregnancy classes together. Or use the Baby Buddy app (see table, below), which has a version for Dads, updating you on how the pregnancy is progressing.

Your Health Visitor can give you information on local groups, and explain what to expect in pregnancy and beyond.

Need support?

There a many places you can go to get advice, support and talking therapy.

Go to your local Emergency Department (A&E) or dial 999 if you need urgent help with how you are feeling.


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NHS Talking Therapies, for anxiety and depression
You can refer yourself to this service. Make sure you mention that you are either expecting, or have recently had, a baby.
https://www.nhs.uk/service-search/mental-health/find-an-NHS-talking-therapies-service/

PANDAS provides support with mental health during pregnancy and beyond.
Free helpline 0808 1961 776 (every day, 11am to 10pm).
Online support groups for Dads (on Zoom, once a week).
https://pandasfoundation.org.uk/how-we-can-support-you/support-groups/

musicfootballfatherhood.com is an online community of fathers sharing experiences of pregnancy, birth and parenting. They also host a podcast called Daddy Debates, which can be helpful company in the early hours.
https://musicfootballfatherhood.com/

Dadsnet is an online community. They also host podcasts, including ‘How to Be a Dad’, which is an informative and often light-hearted guide to parenthood.
https://www.thedadsnet.com/

Andysmanclub runs UK-wide talking groups for men.
https://andysmanclub.co.uk

DadPad is a guide for new dads, developed with the NHS.
https://thedadpad.co.uk/

Dope Black Dads is a digital safe space for fathers who wish to discuss their experiences of being black, a parent and masculinity in the modern world.
https://dopeblack.org/dopeblackdads/

Hub of Hope is the UK’s leading mental health support database. It brings local, national, peer, community, charity, private and NHS mental health support and services together in one place.
https://hubofhope.co.uk/

Dads Matter, Surrey has information on resources and support groups.
https://dadmatters.org.uk/surrey/

How are you, Dad_ - Kingston Hospital Download PDF


Contacts

Contact your GP for advice about anything discussed here

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For information accessibility please visit Kingston Hospital AccessAble www.accessable.co.uk/kingston-hospital-nhs-foundation-trust
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Accessibility

Please contact the Patient Experience Team on 020 893 3850 if you need this information in a different format.
For detailed information on accessibility at Kingston Hospital visit Kingston Hospital AccessAble (https://www.accessable.co.uk/kingston-hospital-nhs-foundation-trust).


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