Facts About Fatherhood
Facts About Fatherhood
This one is for the dads. Saturday 4 September is Father's Day this year, so let's talk all things fatherhood.
Every person's experience of fatherhood is unique. Whether you're the dad, the kid, the partner or another trusted person, you'll have your understanding of what it means to be a dad. Parenthood can be life's biggest reward and hardest challenge, so here are some facts about what it can be like to be a father.
Sympathy pregnancy is real. Called Couvade Syndrome, fathers-to-be can experience physical changes while their partner is pregnant. This is thought to be the manifestation of the psychological elements of preparing to become a father, and a physical enactment of empathy toward their partner, often resulting in weight gain or even morning sickness. Some studies show fathers' testosterone drops during their partner's pregnancy. The theory behind this leads us to our next fact.
Lower testosterone levels may be linked to more 'hands-on' parenting. A study shows that fathers with lower testosterone levels are more engaged with their toddlers. It is unclear whether being involved with parenting lowers the hormone or a drop in the hormone leads to engaged parenting.
Dads can experience postpartum depression. While depression after giving birth is more common amongst people who have given birth, fathers can suffer from it too. The emotional ups and downs, the lifestyle shift, a lack of sleep, and the changing hormones that come with bonding with your infant can make life unrecognisable. While much of raising a newborn is beautiful, a lot of it is hard, and that can take its toll on any caregiver.
Dads who share the housework tend to raise more ambitious daughters. A study shows that young girls who see their dad helping domestically have a less restrictive view of gender roles and their abilities.
Dads tend to do less baby talk. While mothers seem to naturally change their pitch and way of speaking to their babies, men typically keep their voice the same or very similar to how they’d speak with an adult. This may help prepare babies for more regular conversation, while the mother’s baby talk helps them learn the foundations of their language with exaggerated syllables and lip movements.
Some statistics from a 2021 Australian Men's health survey:
- 79% of dads feel the need to be 'the rock' for their family. 47% of dads say this causes them a lot of stress and anxiety.
The pressure to be 'the rock' can bring dads stress and anxiety and also further the stereotype that fathers must be the unemotional centre of the family. Fatherhood can take many forms, and showing emotional intelligence and communication is a great way for dads to raise confident kids.
- 56% of new dads did not seek information or support from any source during stressful times.
PANDA (Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia) is a great resource for any Australian parent or carer struggling with emotional well-being during the transition to parenthood.
- 43% of first-time dads saw anxiety and depression after having a baby as a sign of weakness.
While postpartum depression is difficult to experience and it should be treated and managed, it can be a natural result of becoming a parent. Struggling psychologically while becoming a dad – like during any major life adjustment – is not a sign of weakness. It's a very human response, and with the right coping strategies, it can often be managed or resolved.
- 45% of dads were not aware that men could experience postnatal depression as well as women.
Feeling overwhelmed or stressed is a human experience un-unique to any identity – mothers, fathers, kids, and anyone navigating their way through life will meet hardship. RESCUE Remedy® can naturally reduce symptoms of stress and mild anxiety and help you feel more balanced and focused so you can tackle each challenge.
To all the fathers, step-dad and father figures out there, thanks for helping to raise the next generation. We hope your experience has been beautiful, all the challenges, fights, laughs and surprises included. Happy Father’s Day.