Tuesday, 14 January 2014

What about the men?!?

Mr M is struggling with being a parent.  He is quite an anxious person anyway but since Baby M has arrived he worries he isn't doing a good job and with the sleep deprivation making everything seem 100x worse he has become low in mood.  He has given me permission to blog about his thoughts, feelings and struggles but I feel it is quite personal - it's his story to tell not mine.  It has however got me thinking - what about the men?!?

We have discussed everything with our health visitor who, along with family, has been a great support.  I think it is really important to have a good support network as without one things can become much worse.  Our health visitor made some valid points.  It is hard being a new parent - nothing can prepare you for the huge changes in your life and the fact that a tiny person is now totally reliant on you.  There is no shame in saying you are struggling and need help.

Health professionals are quick to check how mum is feeling, there are groups for mums to go and talk about how they feel and how they are managing.  Mums get a good amount of time to bond with baby by being off work.

What do dads get?!? 2 weeks paternity leave with some annual leave to add on if they are lucky.  How are you supposed to get your head round such a life changing experience in 2 weeks?!  No one asks dad how he is managing, yes mum gave birth but dad is going through everything that mum is going through too.  There aren't groups for dads to go to, men are well known for not being able to discuss their feelings but surely they should be given the option.  Men have this macho manly thing that crying is bad and that they should be superman and be able to hold everything together and nothing should phase them - this adds to the pressure already being piled on by people asking how much sleep you are getting, does the baby cry, how often does he eat, etc, etc, etc!!

A new baby turns your life upside down, yes it is amazing and wonderful but you need to make sure you look after yourself too.  A baby needs it's parents to be there and to be healthy.  You need to do whatever you can to make sure you stay well, be that taking it in turns to get up in the night, going for a walk on your own, asking someone to watch the baby for a few hours whilst you have some sleep or some couple time.  Whatever works for you to help make things a little more manageable.

Mr M is a brilliant Dad & Baby M clearly loves him already.  He will get through this difficult period.