Men open up about the challenges of fatherhood and mental health

Mark Williams, aged 48, draws attention to the frequently disregarded consequences of witnessing a distressing childbirth experience and providing support to a partner dealing with postnatal depression.

Mark, from Bridgend, recalls experiencing his first panic attack in the labour ward, fearing for the safety of his wife and baby. He admits to silently battling depression for an extended period of time.

In 2004, during his wife’s labor, Mark witnessed her enduring prolonged pain and felt helpless when she was urgently taken to the operating room. Later, when their baby was still young, his wife was diagnosed with postnatal depression.

Mark acknowledges the challenges he faced as he witnessed his wife going through difficult experiences. He admits to his own struggles, stating, “I was in a really unhealthy state, resorting to drinking and avoiding certain situations.”

Despite his efforts to seek support, Mark encountered difficulties and observed a lack of discussions regarding mental health among new fathers. Eventually, he received diagnoses of anxiety, depression, and later Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

According to Mark, therapy, medication, and learning coping skills through Cognitive Behavioural Therapy were instrumental in his journey towards better mental health. Now, he actively advocates for fathers’ mental well-being and emphasizes the importance of increased support for new and expectant dads.

Mark emphasizes the significant impact of a father’s mental health and confidence on both the relationship with their partner and the well-being of their child. He highlights the importance of addressing these issues to promote a healthy family dynamic.

Mark emphasizes the need for support for all parents, acknowledging the crucial role it plays in ensuring their well-being. He actively supports the For Dads By Dads group in Torfaen, where he educates new and expectant fathers about the challenges they may face during the early years of parenthood.

The group was established by Jacob Guy, a fellow father who recognized the need for more information and support to fulfill his role as a parent. He expressed that there were moments when he felt isolated and desired additional resources to become the best dad possible.

Upon becoming a father, Jacob, aged 41, from Chepstow, Monmouthshire, sensed a lack of a supportive community going through similar experiences and empathizing with his emotions. Despite searching for dad groups, he struggled to find the desired support.

In 2022, Jacob took matters into his own hands and established a comprehensive 10-week program. Its objective was to provide fathers with a secure environment and educate new and expectant dads through workshops that encompassed a diverse range of topics.



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By Ryan

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