Fathers and Postpartum Dynamics
Sharing both professional and personal perspectives, Dr. Maté explains how the birth of a baby might make a new father feel stressed or deprived. Extended families may not be available to play an active role. Then the role of the father -- as the main or only support for the mother -- becomes exaggeratedly important. Babies are meant to be parented by more than one person. New mothers require support. Yet fathers may not be able to provide this support – for a variety of practical and emotional reasons and the new mother may be isolated with the baby. The father may need to go to work or he may lack the emotional maturity. Some marry young and may have unresolved childhood needs. Men often look upon their partners as mother substitutes, and women are acculturated to take on that role. When a child comes along the father may feel somewhat deprived, at least unconsciously. If men are not mature enough to understand what is happening, their dissatisfaction might manifest itself through abuse or engaging in an extra-marital affair.