My husband seems depressed and unprepared for fatherhood. What can I do?
A new mum shares how she is struggling to cope with her husband of six years who seems depressed and not ready to be a dad. More on her story here
Couples go through a lot of changes after they become parents. But, sadly, not all of these changes are for the better.
Postpartum depression doesn’t only affect women; it affects men, too. About one out of 10 men will experience postnatal paternal depression, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Such has been the case for one anonymous user on theAsianparent Community. Who, just five months after giving birth, is growing increasing alarmed that her husband seems to have no interest in bonding with their baby. She adds that he seems depressed and unprepared for fatherhood. She took the the Q&A platform hoping to find helpful advice from her fellow mums.
My daughter is 5 months old and my husband has not bonded with her at all. After six years of marriage, he feels like our relationship is gone because of the baby. He tells me he’s not ready to be a father, and he seems very depressed. I’ve told him he needs to get help or I’ll leave. What else can I do? Please help.
Nidhi S., a mum of two, urges her to first remain calm. “Leaving your husband is not a solution (when) you know that he is depressed. You need to deal with this situation in a very smart way.” Adding that many men “aren’t mature enough to understand and adjust” once the baby comes.
Her advice to the anonymous user is for her to try to talk to her husband about her experiences with their baby can encourage him. Taking some of his daily chores off his plate may also help as well as seeking the advice of a marriage counsellor.
More responses and info about paternal depression on the next page.
“Leaving is never the solution to any problem,” writes Stephanie G. “What if one day it was your daughter with the problem, would you choose to leave too? You need to learn how to handle setbacks as a family and learn to stick together although it can be hard. Sit down for a talk first. There must be a reason why he is feeling this way.”
“Have you been neglecting him? Maybe it’s time to allocate a day just to be with him and let someone else take care of the baby instead. When a baby comes along it’s very easy to dedicate all of your time to her.”
“Try to make efforts on how to help the father and daugther bond together instead of giving up.”
Mum of three Diana L. agrees that leaving is not the answer. “Try to make efforts on how to help the father and daugther bond together instead of giving up,” she urges. “I think it is also due to he is feeling being neglected by the wife after the baby is here. Try to spend some personal time with your husband instead of fully focusing on baby.”
For Kim H., who is a mum of two, communication is key. “Speak to him. Don’t give up (on) your relationship easily. Maybe you put to much attention on baby? Try to have couple life like before. Bring baby to your own mum to look after once a week, (so) you and him can have personal space.”
Find out how dads can bond more with their baby on the next page
There are a lot of simple, easy ways in which dads can strengthen their bonds with their newborn. Here are six of them.
Hold baby close
Dads who take time to look into their newborn’s eyes and to cradle them in their arms feel much more closer to them than dads who don’t.
Take the night shift
Choosing to care for your baby not only allows you to bond with them but, it also helps you create great memories.
Soothe their crying fits
Provide them with comfort and stability by holding them close when they’re upset. Making soothing, shushing sounds while rocking them back and forth usually does the trick.
This may seem like an odd suggestion by changing your baby’s diaper can actually encourage them to be more comfortable around you. Besides, being on diaper duty gives you the chance to tickle their toes and talk to them.
Make silly faces
Babies can’t get enough of funny faces and noises. Who knows? You might even get a chuckle or two. After all, dads do make the silliest faces.
Read/sing to them
A parent’s voice is naturally soothing to babies. Making it a habit to sing or read to them helps them get familiarised with the sound of your voice, making them feel safe and comfortable and paving the way for more meaningful bonding experiences as they grow.
Be sure to check out theAsianparent Community for more insightful stories, questions, and answers from parents and experts alike. If you have any insights, questions or comments regarding the article, please share them in our Comment box below. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Google+ and Twitter to stay up-to-date on the latest from theIndusparent!