Phillip Moresby, 36 (name changed on request), married for three years, recently became a father.
“When his Abigail (not her real name) first announced her pregnancy, I was stunned. I experienced a mixture of emotions – sheer joy and excitement, but also intense anxiety. As someone who travels a lot on work, I became very anxious about being away from home on a frequent basis - how would my wife manage? How would it impact my time and relationship with the baby?
“I began to worry that the mother and child would get used to me not being there and not need me at all. Slowly, this thought process began to take over my normal thinking and I got edgy and irritated. It began to ruin what should have been the start of an exciting and special chapter in our lives even before the baby arrived.
I began to worry that the mother and child would get used to me not being there and not need me at all. Slowly, this thought process began to take over my normal thinking.”
- Phillip Moresby | UK expatriate
“After the baby was born, this anxiety took the form of an obsession with order – a constant checking that everything was present and in its correct place. For example, I was forever checking the doors - were they locked, were the candles blown out. I began losing sleep, not only because of the baby’s erratic patterns and also because of my constant ruminations and invasive thoughts.
“My fears turned intrusive to the extent that I began fearing for the safety of Abigail and the baby. I constantly bothered about things like safety in their environment and started walking outside our home in the evenings to check for any irregularities. I began living in constant fear that intruders would break into our home and harm Abigail and the baby.
“This heightened level of anxiety caused physical symptoms such as heart palpitations and tightness in chest, sweating and an inability to concentrate, which was greatly impacted my work as well.
“Finally, I consulted a psychiatrist and was prescribed medication. I was also seen by a therapist and engaged in eight weekly sessions of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), which is about acceptance and mindfulness. Gradually, my symptoms started to improve and I started to feel like my old self again. They helped me manage my fears, communicate them and define my role with my wife and my baby I was able to get back to focusing on my job and family and, importantly, enjoying parenthood.”
Joen Marc Chozas, Fillipino, father of a two-month-old baby
“I cannot say I underwent the full gamut of Paternal Post Natal Depression symptoms but I experienced a lot of anxiety and stress even before little Yasmin was born two and a half months ago. It all started with a feeling of being extremely protective about my family and the anxiety of how I was going to cope with the additional expenditure.
“I soon started seeing this as a big challenge. While the baby came, there were many sacrifices we had to make, new adjustments in family budget, sleep deprivation, constantly keeping the baby’s need first. So managing the baby the first two months was a big struggle. In fact, since Yasmin was born, I haven’t slept more than four hours in the night. So naturally my irritation levels were high during the day .
My wife Jasmin and I are great on communication. I think that is important. So after a few weeks, we discussed our roles and told each other we need to adapt and adjust.
It started with [becoming] extremely protective about my family and the anxiety of how I was going to cope with the additional expense. I soon started seeing this as a big challenge.”
- Joen Chozas | Filipino expatriate
In the last two months I have been slowly able to cope with my stress and feel stronger and more positive.
Despite just four hours of sleep in the night, I get through the day with short 20-minute power naps whenever I find time throughout the day, especially the lunch hour. This really helps.
The most important thing is family support. Jasmin’s mother is here to help us out. If I have any doubt, I call up my mother in the Philippines for help.
“ I still feel anxious about cleanliness, about whether I am doing enough as a dad, but with each passing day, my anxiety is diminishing and I am becoming stronger.”