Learning to be more open, seeking support and talking things through is how Leeds Dad Lee Anderson has come to terms with the challenges of fatherhood.
My wife Josephine and I were delighted with our bundle of joy. But parenthood also brought a rollercoaster of emotions. It was some time during Imogen’s first week when it suddenly hit me that nothing would ever be the same again. All our free time would be spent seeing to Imogen’s every need 24 hours a day, with no time left for each other as a couple.
What made things trickier was that much of my working week was spent making a five-hour round trip to work, which often left me feeling quite guilty. Then when well-wishers asked, how mother and baby were doing, I must admit that, along with the aforementioned rollercoaster of emotions, stresses of work and general exhaustion, I was left feeling… well, somewhat isolated and fragile.
To overcome these feelings I looked online for dads groups in the area. The nearest was in Leeds, but thankfully the monthly pilgrimage from Earby has definitely been worth it. I’ve benefitted hugely from meeting other dads with similar issues and concerns and the group leader, Errol Murray, does such a fantastic job in making everyone feel welcome and included. There’s no doubt that I have drawn great strength from talking things through with him and other like-minded dads. And as well as spending some quality time with Imogen, the sense of belonging to a group I can connect with has been instrumental in helping me to work through any issues.
I feel that learning to be more open, seeking support and talking things through has certainly helped me, especially throughout those first few long and difficult months.
If I am completely honest, I am not out of the woods yet. I know I need to find ways of coping with the new challenges that fatherhood brings on a daily basis.
But as a parent I continue to do my utmost to adapt and work with Josephine as a team so we can do the best we can for Imogen, and be the best parents that we can possibly be.