Daddyitis – Dads need help too sometimes…

If we watch old movies the only roles an expectant dad had was to wait outside a delivery room for news of the birth, smoke a cigar and wet the babies head with a tipple and then go back to being the breadwinner in a house where the baby was seen but not heard.

How life has changed!

Dad’s now are expected to be full on birthing partners taking an active role inside the delivery room, and it doesn’t end there! The title ‘New Age Dads’ was coined as new fathers were expected to be hands on fathers; changing nappies, night feeds, sterilising bottles or other feeding equipment and playing the full time role of mum’s support, mentally and physically.

“And why not?” I hear you ask, it is 2015 after all, not 1915!

Why not indeed? Well I coined my own phrase of ‘Daddyitis’ when I published my book Babyopathy – baby care the natural way! last year and the reason behind it is a serious one no matter how tongue in cheek it may sound.

You see, the pressures of being ‘new age dads’ and holding down their career is proving a huge pressure on some new fathers and causing a form of post-natal depression or as we have called it ‘daddyitis’. Now we don’t want you to think we are being at all dismissive by calling it Daddyitis but when we spoke to some dads they didn’t want to be labelled with ‘post-natal depression’ as it made it a kind of taboo. However, by calling it ‘Daddyitis’ they felt they could at least use it as an ‘opener’ for further ‘man-talk’ with their friends.

In a study led by Dr Anna Machin of Oxford University’s Department of Experimental Psychology some fathers suffered a form of male postnatal depression as the weight of their own expectations as parents collided with reality.

During my research I identified that Daddyitis manifested in different ways in different dads but ultimately like PND in new Mums there is a list of symptoms, not all of which may be exhibited by every case.

Some of these symptoms can include:

  • Irritability
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Lower back pain (believe it or not from sterilising equipment)
  • Depression

 

I talk in more detail about daddyitis in my book but ultimately my message is this. Throughout all of human history there have been two clear roles, the role of a man and the role of a woman – one can give birth, the other can not. Maybe it is the fact that women get 9 months of ‘conditioning’ before the baby arrives to adjust to the role of carer that allows them to adapt to it so quickly. Dads just find themselves thrust in to that role in one day.

Maybe it is the rise of feminism that says Dads must take on an ‘equal’ role to a mother when it comes to caring for baby and why Mum’s feel they have to take on an ‘equal’ role to fathers when it comes to working. Or is it the explosion in the way society and culture has evolved to the ‘must have’ which dictates the need for both parents to work and therefore the need for both parents to be carers. Whatever it is it is obvious that something has to give as not only is daddyitis on the rise so are the cases of post-natal depression in mums and the family unit as we know it is suffering too!

If you have any concerns for either your partner or a friend or family member then don’t keep quiet – talk!