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New Dad Anxiety










QUESTION:

My wife just successfully delivered our little girl last Thursday. She is happy, healthy (born at 7lb 12oz, 21 inches), and not fussy at all. I absolutely love her, but I can't seem to shake my anxiety over being a new father.

I have been having digestive problems and even some hand shakes since the day before she was born. To add to this, I feel guilty about feeling so anxious because I love my little girl, my wife, and the fact that we are raising a child together. Are these feelings normal? How long can I expect to have these symptoms?

Any insight you can provide would be appreciated. Thanks and God bless.




ANSWER:

With all the pressures and changes involved in becoming a new father, significant anxiety is very common. Often it occurs during pregnancy and in the first several weeks once the baby is home. Yours seem to be triggered by her birth, which was only 4 days ago when you wrote, so give yourself time to get used to being a father, and get some sleep as being tired contributes to the problem. To deal with it constructively, figure out what you are worried about, and talk about it with someone you trust to help get it off your chest.

Other suggestions: spend some time alone with your baby just holding her and letting her fall asleep on your chest, which can be incredibly relaxing, talk to your wife even if you are concerned about upsetting her as you are a team, keep in mind that your anxiety is driven by your desire to be a good father - this you should be proud of and not feel guilty about, and read up on anxiety so you know what you are dealing with (my personal favorite is Dale Carnegie's How To Stop Worrying, a classic).

It should pass in a few weeks; if not, check out more resources and mention it to your doctor.

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