Did your wife ever get a case of “baby blues” after having a child, or does she have them right now? She might not be alone.
The “baby blues” typically describes new moms who may experience some difficulty adjusting to life with a newborn — moodiness, mild depression, difficulty sleeping, and sometimes some physical issues. Not to be outdone, there’s research from Oxford University showing that some men also get the baby blues.
Only a small percentage of dads suffer from this disorder in a clinical sense, but just about every new dad goes through a period of adjustment, and often the struggle is ongoing as he learns to cope with the changes a baby brings. Typically, he will focus on the financial costs of having a child, his new responsibilities, and/or how a baby will change his relationship with his wife. Throw in less sleep and some extra duties around the house, and it’s easy to see how most dads would experience the baby blues to some degree.
If you’re a new dad — or if you’re still adjusting to the reality of your role — keep in mind that these adjustments are positive and healthy; they’ll help you become a better man. More specifically, here are three words of encouragement:
- You will be blown away by the immediate rewards of becoming a father. Being a dad is a blast. There are some great times with your little one ahead, and life only gets more fun and rewarding as he or she grows.
- If caring for a baby seems strange and scary to you, join the club. The rest of us might act like it’s no big deal, but none of us were really ready or knew what we were doing in the beginning. We made the effort to dive in and learn some things — with lots of help from our children’s mother. We got the hang of it, and you will too.
- Fatherhood is a high and noble calling. There are few areas of life, if any, where you can make a bigger contribution to the well being of the coming generation and many more descendants to come. You have a powerful influence as a dad. It might not seem like it now, but take our word for it or ask another veteran dad you know.
Dad, you can do it. You can pull yourself out of the “baby blues” and be the daddy you were meant to be.
- Whether you’re a brand new dad or an experienced veteran, get out the photos and videos from when your kids were first born. Re-live those moments with your family and the joy you felt.
- What pressures is your children’s mother dealing with right now — whether she has a new baby, cares for preschoolers all day, or works outside the home? Ask her what you can do specifically to help her.
- Make time every day to just have fun with your child. Be sensitive to what he enjoys and follow his lead.
- How can you bond with your baby? One great tip: get on her level. Get more ideas in this article.
– The Joy of Fatherhood: The First Twelve Months by Marcus Jacob Goldman MD
– Rookie Dad: Fun and Easy Exercises and Games for Dads and Babies in Their First Year by Susan Fox
– Hit the Ground Crawling: Lessons From 150,000 New Fathers by Greg Bishop