Understanding and Fighting the Loneliness of New Fatherhood

The arrival of your first child is a life-changing moment, filled with happiness and joy. But the excitement of this transition into new fatherhood can be met with unforeseeable loneliness, caused by emotional or situational factors or sometimes both. Fewer invitations for a game night from your friends, the daily toil of baby care, your wife’s diverted attention toward the new baby, etc. can be very isolating in reality. After a period, this can leave you feeling helpless, left out, and gradually withdrawn. Read on to know more about understanding and addressing the problem of loneliness among new fathers.

Who’s Likely to Become Lonely?

In today’s world, the concept of fatherhood is rapidly evolving from being the stereotypical non-nurturing disciplinarian breadwinner father to becoming a more caring, loving, and participating father. According to Dr. Charles Schaeffer, an NYC-based psychologist, these new-age new dads are most likely to fall victim to this loneliness of new fatherhood, as they reject the stereotypical notions for good but don’t have any set models or examples to follow.

Why Can New Fatherhood Bring Loneliness?

According to Dr. Schaeffer, while feeling lonely, many new fathers choose not to share that with their wives as they either don’t want to spoil their experience as new moms or don’t want to sound like they’re complaining or nagging. Though new dads are likely to be awed seeing the close natural bond between newborns and their mothers, after a few months, it can increase the feeling of being left out and the resultant loneliness. But the traditional idea of gender roles and manhood prevents men from sharing or opening up about their vulnerable feelings. Add the lesser knowledge of baby care to this emotional stoicism and there’s your ready recipe for new-dad loneliness.

How Can Someone Find Support?

Feeling a little lonely now and then while adjusting to new fatherhood is normal and not that worrying. As Dr. Schaeffer explains, it’s a question of degree, like how often you feel lonely or isolated and long for contact with friends or other people. Loneliness can lead to a constant feeling of being numb and distant, or even resentful rage and insensible irritation. So, addressing the problem by sharing it with your partner or co-parent is essential, as it will also help you to figure out ways to be more included as a new dad. Sharing with other new or experienced fathers in your circle or on social media also helps with getting compassionate advice.