MOPPET – Instant Babies and Toddlers Cereals, made with 100% natural and organic ingredients

Moppet Dadsperience: Fatherhood and Mental Health

Most men tend to bottle up their feelings and are less expressive than women. Fatherhood comes with a lot of responsibilities which can be overwhelming sometimes. While some fathers are open about the challenges they encounter while carrying out their responsibilities, others are usually not keen to.

This new father lets us into his life and talks about his parental journey as it relates to his mental health with tips to help fathers overcome mental health challenges:

“My name is Chukwuemeka Orji and I’m a Visual Designer. What I do cuts across a lot of graphics. I have just one kid and she’s a month old.

Being a parent is not easy to be honest but we won’t trade it for anything. It’s a good feeling knowing that one little human is completely dependent on you. Her outcomes, how she will start out and how she’ll end up in life is dependent on your actions as a parent, so, it’s an overwhelming and lovely feeling at the same time.

I don’t know if there’s any low yet…okay, the sleepless nights. Balancing work with raising a child is a completely different story especially because everything has to be done according to her schedule.

The high is definitely seeing her smile, looking at her and knowing she’s yours is everything. Also, knowing that you get the opportunity to mold and shape her life even better than you got it is an amazing feeling.

Another low for me as a father is realizing that it’s no longer just me and my wife, so I have to become proactive in order to provide for everybody. I sacrifice my personal needs to make sure the future is secure and with the way the economy has been going, it hasn’t been easy at all.

I have at some point struggled emotionally as a father – My child’s birth was complicated and I know they say women suffer from postpartum depression but I think I did too. Watching my wife lie unconscious on the bed made the baby in my arms feel like a stranger.
Fortunately, I got my wife and baby back but I really struggled with coming to terms with the fact that there’s now a new addition to my life that is completely dependent on me at least for the first 18+ years of her life.

Whenever I feel down, I deal with it by talking to my wife. She’s an amazing support, a real backbone. Everything I am now is as a result of her support, deeply! I completely express myself to her when overwhelmed.

To ensure a sound mental health,
I try not to bottle up things, no matter what it is. I’ve learnt to share whether with my close circle of friends or with my wife because there’s a lot going on at this point in life.

The society and workplace can support fathers’ emotional well-being by giving paternity leaves, understanding that their attention might be needed for the health of their family, giving them some certain level of flexibility like working from home, and giving them sick leaves for when their children or wife gets sick.
Also, paying on time and increasing salaries especially in these times because a father’s emotional well-being is directly proportional to how well he can provide for his family.

I practise self-care by taking myself out sometimes; It may not be elaborate but I do. I take a break, play games, and go back to work and study.

It’s not easy balancing my career and taking care of my family; It’s a lot and I’m still learning to balance things because there’s no hack to doing it best. However, I have this notepad I got recently and I write out things to do for the day. I give myself realistic timelines and try not to expend too much energy on one thing to avoid spillovers or getting drained. This has helped.

I will advise fathers to talk to somebody, be it a friend, be it HR, be it your wife whenever they start struggling with their mental health. Find someone that understands and will listen and put themselves in your shoes and give you constructive advice. Most of the time for me, it’s my wife, she’s that type of person. Talk it out, don’t keep it bottled up. If you do, it will do you more harm than good. Speak out. Find someone you look up to that can make a difference.

A societal opinion about fathers that isn’t favourable for their mental health is when fathers are at home often – If you have a flexible work schedule that allows you to stay home with the kids, people will talk because the African culture expects the father to always be out making money. Times have changed though, so if you have something that works for you, don’t be bothered by what people have to say.

Stress (financial and emotional) affects the emotional and mental health of a father. The demands of a newborn at least for me because that’s the situation I’m in right now. Also, extended family headaches and the general instability around.

I don’t think a good number of fathers speak out and seek help when burdened emotionally. Men tend not to share their problems even to themselves which is the beginning of our problem. We don’t open up and if we share, it will make life a little bit easier. They say it’s a feminine thing but I think it’s a human thing. We need to open up, we need people, we need interaction.”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *