New dad but having some serious 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!

8 Replies

  • 2 weeks is still VERY soon after the birth so don't panic that you will feel this way forever.

    Both your lives have changed INTENSELY and suddenly. I remember being in shock after my emergency c-section with my first son. It's totally understandable that you feel isolated and your wife will be 'on a different planet' as she is just trying to 'get through' this period of recovery/feeding baby constantly/exhaustion.

    I think most men will admit that they don't totally fall in love with their baby straight away, or at least not as much as they realise they do later on. Your baby is a stranger to start with, so give yourself time.

    Finally, I would imagine that your feelings are very normal and nothing to be too concerned about. If you still feel awful in another 4 weeks, then go and see your own GP and chat to them about it. You and you wife will both begin to feel more human soon, I promise (my new baby is 6 weeks today).

    Good luck

    p.s we have neglected rabbits too who are getting fed and watered and not much else at the moment. My husband is currently fast asleep and snoring on the sofa - it's a tiring business having babies!!

  • Yes apparently men can get pnd and u should pop and see ur g.p its a very overwhelming life changing experience having a baby and takes time to adjust. ..sounds like ur doing ok but just gets on top of u in the evenings when u sit down and assess everything. .. having family nearby is great but alot of people in this day and age dont have family nearby but u and ur wife can do this together don't think u can't its just a new routine that takes a while to get the hang of and get used to x

  • i'm gonna twist this and try not to take the nicey nicey approach as sometimes i feel men need the stiff upper lip talk to function.

    From ur post, all I read was "me me me me" and how this has changed ur daily life, guess what bud, babies do that to u. Think of ur poor wife whos recovering from having a surgery and still having to try and help take care of a baby when her body is fighting against it. I think u need to suck it up and get on with it. yes its hard but it wont be forever. give ur wife another month and the load will be shifted off u.

    I think u need to concentrate less on the impact its having on how u used to do things and realise u created life and this cute little baby boy is fully reliant on u and ur wife and loves u both very much. Plus, dont forget both u and ur wife are tired due to baby needs and this will cause rattyness and grouchyness. If u dont feel right, see ur gp and talk to them about the pnd, but to be honest with u, i think ur just doing a typical male response and saying "woe is me".

    sorry if that all seemed blunt, i mean it in the best possible way as u need a shake up to make u smell the coffee. man up and stop with the whining...this will pass and ull feel a right idiot for making a mountain out of a molehill.

    good luck with being a new dad and i hope ur wife has a fast recovery x

  • Just signed up to say this.

    Completely ignore the post by gigglysheep. Attitudes such as that need to be consigned to the scrap heap. If the genders in that post were reversed that post would be considered incredibly offensive and possibly dangerous to the mental health of the individual it was aimed at.

    You have emotions, you have feelings, as someone who has also stood there feeling helpless as an emergency c section unfolds before your eyes I empathise with how you might be feeling.

    If you dont feel better within a few weeks, speak to your GP.

    And ignore anybody who tells you to 'suck it up'.

  • I think gigglysheep is being a little unfair. Honestly, I don't know how men cope having to watch. I'd much rather be the one going through it than having to watch on the sidelines not being able to do anything. Sometimes I do worry how my oh is feeling because I know he is doing everything to look after me. Yes the post came across as me me me but isn't that what this forums for?

    Perhaps part of the problem is not telling your other half what you are feeling? Maybe you think you shouldn't because she's under enough stress but maybe she's feeling similar. I know how isolated I felt when I thought my Oh was pushing away, and it turned out he was feeling as scared and panicked as me over becoming parents for the first time (we are 28 wks along and hoping birth is going to be ok). After that whatever we have felt, no matter how selfish it feels at the time we talk about it. Hopefully this will help us through, but if women need help after birth why wouldn't men? We even have a form to fill in about how we are feeling before the birth for the midwife to see if we're more likely to suffer pnd. Hope you feel better about things soon, and if not, then the gp is always willing to help, especially with baby related issues (think they feel a bit left out of things since midwives deal with things so much and pounce at the opportunity to help). Good luck, you know its all worth it x

  • As someone who has suffered extensively from depression int he past - there is no shame or problem in asking for a bit of help. Particularly if your usual support networks (partner, parents) are either far away or also going through a major life event - like having a baby! Do book in with your GP and have a chat; also, just somethign as simple as talking to the Samartians may help, as you don't then feel judged or like you're letting anyone down (which is also a symptom of depression). Good luck, I hope you feel better soon.

  • Hi there, Firstly, congratulations on your new arrival, secondly there are a number of points that you mention which I'd like to comment on.

    1. Emotions - birth is a life changing phenomenon and it does challenge the way in which we view our place in the universe/ existence and the like this is regardless of gender and I suspect that this heightened sensitivity will be connected with the traumatic birth that you've witnessed. There is nothing too painful that to be utterly without the means to help the one you love, that feeling of powerlessness is something that I believe men feel a lot more than women so I really empathise with you here. Unfortunately we 'plan' for a birth and 'manage' birth but it is a complex situation and when things don't go according to plan we begin to feel almost cheated or wronged and slightly maligned, a kind of 'why me'. Truth is there are rarely situations in life which we can truly control and the need for an emergency c section is way beyond your control my friend.

    2 Communications

    I do feel concerned that you are finding it difficult to talk to your wife. You may feel that by revealing your feelings and concerns that you might be exhibiting some sort of weakness and she may resent you. But really its not brave to bottle things up, by sharing your fears and hopes together, I believe, will help you both come to terms with the massive change to your life that small people bring and make your relationships deeper and ultimately stronger. Love is... accepting vulnerability. If your wife is having trouble expressing herself be patient, hormones and the trauma may take time to settle. You could ask to go through the birth notes at some point in the future, to help you both come to terms with the medical decisions that were made at the time. Now might be too soon though. And lastly on the comms point if you are still feeling low over the next few weeks please, please make that GPs appointment or talk to the HV, you will not be judged and you will feel better for it.


    Is overrated. As long as the laundry and washing up is done the rest can wait. The world will not stop turning because you haven't hoovered today. If people pop by to see the family ask them to help, you will only run yourself ragged trying to be wonderwoman (which you are not). Animals will get by with the bare minimum so dont worry too much as it won't be forever or maybe delegate the task or get them fostered for the short term.

    Lastly, be kind to yourself everyday and try to keep some perspective on the important things in life. Time will pass, your wife will heal and before you know it small person will be smiling, cutting teeth, sitting up, crawling, walking and you will feel better. We can only find our inner strengths when we are challenged. Good luck my friend to you and your family, I hope this helps :)

  • i did say in the first para that i was gonna unbalance the "lets be nicey nice and moddle cuddle". I suffered depression really badly when i was at uni, in fact it stopped me from progressing to graduation. I hated everyone being so sympathetic because to me it fueled my thoughts of im a worthless human being. if someone had came along earlier and was firm with me, id probably gotten outside quicker, became less of a hermit and recovered much quicker.

    I admit i meant no harm or over harshness, but in my own way tried to help. I apologise for any upset it caused, sometimes we all need tough love x

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