New dad here but having some very weird emotions - do I need help?


I've just become a new dad to a beautiful baby boy who will be 2 weeks old in 2 days. However, for the last week, in the evenings. I have had a downer period for about an hour to 2 hours where I feel tearful, terribly isolated from everyone (as if I'm living in a bubble looking at the world as a stranger) and also feeling disconnected from my wife as well as feeling sad that I can't do the things that I used to do. These feelings do tend to go just before I go to bed. It makes me sad when I see my rabbits looking at me outside as if I've forgotten about them and also seeing the house a mess makes me unhappy as well. However, I have been told I do have a tendency to over-exaggerate things and I'm also a worrier so I don't know if that would have an impact on my feelings or not?

Just to give a background to the situation - My wife had to have an emergency C-section and she's been told that she won't fully recover until 6 weeks so we are 'confined to quarters' if you like as she can't get in the car and walking hurts so I am pretty much doing everything at the moment. Her parents live over 150 miles away and so this plays on my mind quite a lot as we are reliant on my family. We were lucky to have them down to help before the birth and for a couple of days after and when they left both me and my wife broke down in tears. I am looking to try and get up to see them at least once a month but hopefully I can make it twice.

I've heard that some people say that this is normal as it's a huge life-changing event and it takes a couple of weeks to adjust but I've also read that this could be a form of Postnatal Depression and that this could damage the relationship I have with my son. After all the emotions I thought I would go through in becoming a dad, I could never have imagined this - I feel terrible as I'm worried that these feelings look like I don't love my son!!

Does anyone have any advice as to whether I am just 'going through the motions' or whether there is a more serious condition that needs addressing. But any advice would be great as I can't really talk to my wife about it as she gets quite upset when I talk to her about it. I'm hoping that these feelings will go on their own when my boy starts sleeping longer at night and is also less irritable in the daytimes and also when my wife is up and about and fully recovered but I'm not sure as I've never been in this situation before! Also, just giving examples of any similar situations would be good as I feel quite alone in this (even though I know I'm not!!)

Sorry to babble but trying to get everything down! Hope you can understand all this and any advice would be fantastic!

Many thanks!

6 Replies

  • First and foremost - congratulations! What lovely news :)

    When we are pregnant we spend nine months imagining the birth. The atmosphere, pain relief, who will be there, who won't. Who will cut the cord, what colour you'll dress the baby in. We don't tend to consider being rushed into theatre for an emergency c-section as part of the plan.

    As well as the huge shift in emotion that happens the very second your baby arrives, you also had other things to contend with. Your wife's health, the logistics of being house bound, her parents. None of that was part of the equation two weeks ago. It's completely natural to feel emotional, but at the same time you mustn't dismiss how you are feeling.

    Any new parent will tell you that sleepless nights are a killer. I think they are one of the biggest tests of a relationship. Any emotion you may feel is amplified ten-fold when you've had no sleep. If it's any comfort, it DOES get better. There's nothing to say in a few more weeks, with a god routine, he won't start sleeping through for a six hour chunk.

    As for loving your baby .... nothing you can read on the Internet can tell you that. The fact that you're here posting, asking for advice tells me that you love him and want to do what's right by him. I'm sure you're going to make a great Dad!

    My advice to you would be to take each day as it comes. Don't worry about the housework - baby doesn't care if I've washed the dishes! Eat take outs, drink from cans, and clean with wet wipes. You'll fall back into a routine when you're all ready to. In the meantime, I think you should both talk to your Health Visitor. Her role is to support you all in the first weeks, not just Mum and baby. And talk to your wife too. Why dont you wait until you get a few more responses here and share them with her? We're a friendly bunch and would love to know how you're getting on x

  • Great advice Suzie! Becoming a parent is a major life changing event but once the baby starts responding it's also one of the most rewarding. At this stage it is all give and give with constant demands and little rewards but in a couple of months (sounds a long time but in the scheme of a lifetime is actually very little time) things will feel more routine and then start to become rewarding for you too. Do try to get involved with the care of the baby fairly soon, because as the bond grows so will your awareness that you love him. Can you manage to have some special times while you are so restricted. Even if the baby needs a lot of attention you can both catch up on dvds you've always wanted to watch or if you are lucky enough to have a nice garden sit out in it and enjoy the sun, making sure the baby isn't in it too! If you have friends then invite them around and their cooing over the baby will begin to make you feel proud which will help you feel more part of things. At the moment your wife's entire life is taken up with the baby but that will change I promise! Suexxx

  • I've washed the dishes? I meant you! I'm not washing them! X

  • Hope lots of dads out there can help share with you, guess you've already checked out some of the web sites like dadzclub , dadsnet . Ask yourself how well you coped with stress before the baby came along? This time round you gonna need to use a whole bunch of coping stratergies to get through. Sleep is going to be a biggy for both of you, your son will slowly sleep more consitently, but if you are still trying to keep old habits like movies till midnight you are going to get sleep deprived big time..... It might be a case of wait and see, if friends or work mates know you well check out if they think you are going down hill if you truely frighten yourself about your thoughts or mental health then yes get help, either annonymously or via your own doc.

  • I had an emergency caesarian for my first baby and was told that this was major surgery. So as well as being in labour for 15 hours , I had also had major surgery and a new baby to cope with. I know my husband felt left out as I tried to cope with all of this in the early days.Sleep deprivation is another thing to add on to that list of problems. As they said above, just hang on in there as it is a huge time of adjustment for you all. Don't worry about anything other than your wife and new baby and how you can help. Course, you probably have to go to work as well!! I think you are experiencing what many couples do when a new baby arrives so don't worry. I had troubling bonding with my baby girl after the C-section and I was her Mum!!! but that didn't last long. Try and relax and you will be just fine, I don't think you are overworrying, just trying to adjust. P.s. My next baby just popped out !! no c-section for her. And ,of course, congratulations to you both. You will be out there kicking a ball around before you know it. xxxxxxx

  • One more thing - who on earth told you that it takes a couple of weeks to adjust! They must have short memories. My experience is that it takes several months before fully adjusting and even then babies keep changing. What does happen is that you come to love the baby and those feelings become so strong that everything else just slots in around them. Suex

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