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New to Fatherhood, Overwhelmed and Exhausted

Community Member

Hello All,

I'm a first time dad, my daughter was born just over a week ago.

Now I'm no stranger to anxiety, I have it and for the most part had it conquered. Long-story-short is that I had a rough childhood and worked through PTSD, depression and anxiety through medication and psychologist therapy.

So 9 months ago my partner of 2 years told me she was pregnant, and while we were in less than stable circumstances we decided, after much back and forth, to keep the child.

The pregnancy in itself was quit good, I found work and my partner finished university and it was quite a stress free time right up until after the birth. Even the birth itself was a calm and exciting event, everything was great with the daughter. She and my partner are happy and healthy.

So here is the crux, I am feeling bogglingly overwhelmed by the change. I feel anxious being at home due to not really being able to eliviate my partners stress in feeding around the clock. When I leave home for work I feel a crushing separation, like I'm going to miss something or something will go wrong.

For the past 3 days I've been bawling my eyes out at random times, just because I feel like I am being hit by everything all at once.

So I guess I'm here to see if there is a light at the end of this anxious tunnel and if anybody else has tackled fatherhood like this. As well as gain any helpful survival tactics to get through this time.

I'm glad to be here and to meet you all. 🙂

13 Replies 13

I think what you are describing is very normal and something most parents go through.

I don't want to sound harsh, but you are a parent now, your life has changed forever and your sense of self will change considerably, so a little uneasiness about that is to be expected. As Atremisia has said, its a massive shift and some doubts and fears are normal. The advice about going to the GP and seeking help from others is wise.

A very young baby has a huge number of demands, you and your partner will have to watch out for yourselves and each other. It is too easy to either become run down and not do well at work, or do far to little and cause resentments to build. Make sure you and your partner talk honestly to each other about how you are feeling, take the opportunities to rest and relax when they present themselves and even make them as you have talked about, holding a sleeping child is very special.

To me, not a health professional, you are doing well.

Thanks Tim and Artemisia,

I do think I'm being stuck in the moment a lot, I never really look for the times ahead so maybe thats making me feel a little stuck. I feel pretty on edge when I put my daughter down to sleep, even though she just makes baby noises and such I'm quite jumpy to be at her side.

As for the gravity of the whole fatherhood feeling, I think I'm coming to terms with it slowly but I think a trip to the GP is in order to see if I can knock down the constant anxiety.

Hi Anathemation,

I can remember doing one of two things when my kids went down. Early on, I would side and look for a while, a little worried, but many looking at the wonder of new life, laying there peaceful and safe. Later on, when we ha a couple of kids, when the baby went to sleep it was time to get busy with other things, or catch up on sleep.

If in doubt, I think the idea of a quick trip to the GP is a good idea, especially if he know s you well.

Community Member

Hi Anathemation,

If your wife is capable of breast feeding how about she expresses some into a few bottles
so that you can take over and bottle feed bubs and give your wife a rest from the stress of feeding? My wife suffers from clinical depression and that hit hard after the birth of out daughter Abby, my wife struggled to breast feed (just couldn't produce the milk) , we had to bottle feed, what we found was a good routine that worked for us was I started work at 6.30AM, so I was up at 5.15 AM and that was a good time for me to feed and change our daughter, letting the wife sleep in for a bit longer, feed times were 5.30am (dream feed.... as Abby was still 1/2 asleep!), 9am, 12 noon, 4pm, 7 pm and about 10.30pm, now I would get home at 4.30, get tea ready (6ish) bath Abby and feed her at 7ish, giving my wife time to relax and get the sleep she needed she would go to bed about 9pm ish, I would also do the 10.30 feed and nappie change before going to bed, it was a great routine wife got decent sleep and didn't feel stressed...great for me and bubs!, as for being overwhelmed and feeling like you might miss something not a chance, (I did the same thing) but the thing to remember is that we have mobile phones, we can take pics, videos and face time so your not going to miss a thing (we have over 10,000 photos and god knows how many videos (on a hard drive and icloud photo library) of Abby from the day she was born and even pics of her yesterday at her swimming classes. there is no manual for this at all...all you and your partner can do is your best, we all screw up some thing some how...were human (bound to fail at something!) and if some one offers help take it, from doing the clothes washing to bringing over a pre-cooked meal and when bubs sleeps you sleep, you've probably got the next 60 years to figure it out so don't stress!