Fathers’ postpartum and parenting experiences are often overlooked. Most of the support and mental health resources focus on mothers’ experiences. Fathers often suffer from the same postnatal stress, anxiety and depression mothers do, more so if it was a traumatic birth. We often forget that fatherhood is just as important and necessary as motherhood. Studies show that mothers fare much better when they have a supportive partner. Children also are mentally and physically healthier if they have a positive relationship with their father. Just like mothers, fathers need to take care of themselves in order to be the supportive, nurturing and reliable parent their children need them to be.
Here are a few tips for dad’s self-care:
Find someone you can talk to that you can be open with, such as a friend, fellow dad, partner, family member or a therapist.
Don’t be afraid to talk about your own struggles with parenthood. Even though your partner might also be going through a hard time, it doesn’t mean your struggles are less important.
Exercise, even if it is just for a few minutes a day.
Try to spend more quality alone time with your partner. Dinner and a movie? Netflix?
Listen to music that relaxes you
Download a meditation app
Don’t be afraid to do “mom” things, such as household chores. Contributing to the family’s wellbeing will make you feel like a valuable and important part of the family.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help!