Prince Williams may come across as a doting dad to his children today, but like most fathers, he too had to overcome his apprehensions on welcoming a baby.
In a recent “Future Dads” session, set up by a charity named Future Men which aims to help new fathers, Prince William, who is now setting parenting goals for others, said, “The ‘fear’ of having a newborn baby that’s very vulnerable and that’s what you spend most of your time worrying about, thinking what do I do? And that’s the thing isn’t it? It’s very daunting of how tiny they are when they first arrive. They are so fragile and everything’s so tiny, their little fingers and toes, you do feel like if you move them around too much they’re going to break almost but they don’t! Wait till they’re nine months, then they’re off.”
How the birth of a child affects the father’s mental health
Speaking at the session, Prince William also talked about how the arrival of a baby completely transforms a man’s life, something they find difficult to come to terms with. “Once the lack of sleep starts setting in, the stress levels go up. From a young age, you’re taught to have a vision, have a plan, have a career, and all of a sudden, babies come along and you have to start thinking about a lot more,” he said.
It’s not just mothers who may suffer from postpartum depression. According to a study by Cambridge University, postnatal depression also affects one in 20 fathers, in the weeks after their child is born. The study linked depression in fathers with an increased level of stress in the family.
Prince William added, “I think one of the things is, ladies are a lot more giving and I think a lot more generous, whereas I think guys…get into making a success of whatever we are trying to do, we get into a rhythm and then children come along and it’s like, ‘Which way do I go now?'”
Talking about how the arrival of a child impacts the father’s mental health, the Duke of Cambridge added, “I always wondered how that affects new dads’ mental health. Because it’s such a change, your whole life goes one way and then suddenly you’re taught that you’ve got to adapt.”