Fatherhood doesn’t start in the maternity ward! It starts much earlier!
A man develops throughout life, and this is influenced by their education, environment, development, etc. As they age, men can wear many hats: worker, lover, friend and then father. But all these roles are influenced by their past, life elements developed over time.
In this article:
- What explains paternal depression?
- Depressions signs in future or new fathers
- There’s help for fathers too! (french only)
Many authors have written about the topic of becoming a father. Denis Lord says that “a father doesn’t give life, that would be too easy, a father gives love!” And Frederick Buechner wrote, “When a child is born, a father is also born.”
There is no recipe for becoming a parent, either for fathers or mothers. Research has focused on becoming a mother to understand changes during pregnancy better and on the arrival of the baby, attachment, etc. But the literature doesn’t talk about fathers that much. What is positive is that today, there is much more information available. Many organisations and associations have been started for fathers that want to play an essential role for their child and to promote their experiences as men in the process of becoming or being a parent, a father.
I find it essential that fathers feel involved in the process, from conception forward. Along with their life partner, they will be in the front row to welcome their baby, enjoying the pleasure of discovering this new part of their lives.
Having a first baby brings out very deep and yet unexplainable emotions, which vary from one person to the next. You have to live it to understand, right?
Health professionals have to involve fathers in their approach, involve them in decisions and conversations, inform them about what is going on. What fathers feel is also essential on the road to parenthood. The public message should be that the father is someone significant and their role should be recognised as integral to the family.
Based on studies on paternal depression during the perinatal period (from conception to six months after childbirth), about 10% of men will be affected.
To read the next part, go to What explains paternal depression?