While transitioning to motherhood is often talked about, new dads experience growing pains as well that can sometimes go unrecognized. Mallory Rose, LMFT, staff therapist at The Family Institute at Northwestern University, is available to discuss the ways in which men are specifically impacted by the transition to fatherhood.
“I think it’s very important for fathers in particular to recognize the signs of baby blues in themselves,” says Ms. Rose. “Most women have a hormonal baby blues period after having a baby, but it can be very common for men to experience this as well. However, I don’t think men know this is common, and therefore are not able to have the words or skills to ask for help and to talk about their feelings.” As a result, says Ms. Rose, new fathers are often left adrift with these emotions.
Ms. Rose is familiar with the difficulties of this transition both professionally as a licensed marriage and family therapist who specializes in the transition to parenthood, and personally as a new mom: “When my son was born, everyone was so wonderful and mindful of how I was doing, but I definitely thought it was important to check in on my husband,” she explains. “However, every time I asked him how he was doing, he would always say fine and deflect it back to me. It took him falling asleep on the train and ending up in the wrong town, and then the very next day, backing his car into a ditch and needing to be towed out, for him to finally feel he had a right to share his struggles with me.”
Ms. Rose points out that this transition can be a particularly hard time for couples, and that fathers need not be nervous or anxious about looking to their wives for support. “I want fathers to know that it isn’t a competition — that they can have a hard time too and to let support in when it’s offered. It’s okay for dads to let their wives take care of them and check in on them, even though they are also taking care of a newborn. The couple needs to take care of each other.”
Ms. Rose received her Master of Science degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from the Family Institute at Northwestern University, and completed a two year clinical fellowship at the Family Institute as well. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Women Studies at the University of Michigan. In addition to her clinical practice at The Family Institute, Ms. Rose hosts one day workshops in the Chicagoland area, Staying Connected After the Birth of Your Baby, for couples dealing with the transition to parenthood.
To speak to Ms. Rose about the transition to fatherhood, the transition to parenthood, or her workshops on these subjects, contact Colleen O’Connor at email@example.com or 312-609-5300 ext. 485.
ABOUT THE FAMILY INSTITUTE AT NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY – For 45 years, The Family Institute at Northwestern University (www.family-institute.org) has been committed to strengthening and healing families from all walks of life through clinical service, education and research. An affiliate of Northwestern University, The Family Institute is a unique, innovative not-for-profit organization, governed by its own independent Board of Directors and responsible for its own funding. The Institute offers a wide range of high quality mental health counseling through our staff practice and our sliding-fee scale Bette D. Harris Family and Child Clinic, where we are committed to serving at-risk, under-resourced communities. The Family Institute also operates two nationally-renowned graduate programs in marriage and family therapy and counseling psychology in affiliation with Northwestern University, and conducts cutting edge research projects that lead to a better understanding and treatment of mental health issues.