1. Connect with other dads
Starting down the road to becoming a dad can be a time of mixed emotions and you may have a lot of questions. It is common to feel overwhelmed, worried, exhausted and concerned about how you are coping with it all. Having a chat with another dad can help lighten your mental load, and it can help to remind you that you’re not alone. If you can arrange to meet up with a trusted friend, or even have an open conversation with a good friend at work this can help with those overwhelming feelings. Remember too that many other men who are planning to become a dad or already are a dad are most likely feeling the same way as you!
2. Start talking
Beyond those important conversations with trusted friends is the need to know when you might need a little more support. Opening up the conversation and sharing your feelings as an expectant or new parent is the most important first step in reaching out. It can also be the most difficult. If you are experiencing any emotional distress, and just not feeling yourself for two weeks or more, please reach out to someone who can help you. It could be your partner, GP, the counsellor at the clinic, boss, or a Psychologist. Relationships can go off course while you’re trying to conceive and after you have a baby and talking about how you are going and getting some strategies can make a big difference. Talking can also reduce your isolation – you are not alone in this and just because you are a guy you don’t have to ‘tough it out!’.
3. Inform yourself
Information and resources around trying to conceive, infertility, pregnancy and early parenthood are readily available, and there are many wonderful organisations out there providing things such as fact sheets and check lists as well as various Apps. Sometimes it can help to do some reading, learn as much as you can from reliable sources and gain confidence through knowledge! A great place to start for the basics is this Dad’s guide to pregnancy.
It’s amazing how a dose of fresh air and sunshine or even a lunchtime work out at the gym can impact your emotional wellbeing! A small amount of safe sun exposure, a walk, a run or a game of football with some mates can all give you some more energy that might help you feel better about life right now! During those long, intense days, months and years while you try to conceive and as a new parent, some exercise has proven to boost endorphins and mood, help with sleep and increase energy. Take it easy on yourself. It can be hard to give yourself a break at times, there is a lot of pressure on men to be the ‘rock’ for their loved one and the one that is holding it all together. Remember that you are not alone, and that those high expectations placed on you by others and even yourself can be tough and you need to be kind to yourself. Remind yourself that you are doing the best you can, this is a big life adjustment and it can take time to feel at ease in this role and find your mojo again.