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Emotional support for new dads

Dads can often be unsure of their roles during the pregnancy and birth. With the bulk of the attention understandably on the mother, the father can sometimes feel like a bit of a bystander.

Feeling unsupported

If this reflects your experience, you might be wondering when you will start to get the attention and support you need.

You might feel this way because you aren’t letting people know you need support. Friends and family will often show their support to those who appear most in need. If you don’t appear to be in need, people often assume you’re OK.

According to research, women are less likely to face this problem because they tend to tell people what kind of help they need:

Males are more likely than females to deal with their problems privately. 
Males were more likely to find it difficult to discuss their problems with friends.
Both men and women believe that men find it more difficult to talk and express their emotions than women do [1].
Leaning on friends and family

If you’ve got friends or family members who support you, it might help to lean on them during this time. If you need specific things, just ask. They might be looking for ways to help and just not know what you need. Or they may assume that you’re OK because you’ve not said anything.

Although your partner went through the pregnancy and birth, you were there too and your role as a father deserves celebration and support. Join in the celebration of your own role, even if others aren’t acknowledging it.

It’s very important that you feel free to embrace your fatherhood at this early stage [2]. So, challenge any thoughts that make you feel secondary or less important. Your role is just as vital.


[1] Ramm, J., Coleman, L., Glenn, F. and Mansfield, P. (2010) Relationship Difficulties and Help-Seeking Behaviour – Secondary Analysis of an Existing Data-Set. One Plus One: London

[2] Marsiglio, W., Lupton, D., & Barclay, L. (1998). Constructing Fatherhood: Discourses and Experiences. Contemporary Sociology, 27(6), 590. doi:10.2307/2654239

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