How fatherhood can change you
Social conditioning has toughened men up; most have managed to grow a shell that's impossible to crack. Only the strongest can penetrate the rock-hard exterior and what's stronger than a soft, cuddly, new born baby? Becoming a father can have a significant impact on a man's life. Other than absolute chaos and upheaval, a baby can bring joy and renewed vigour into a man's life, changing his heart, body, and personality in unimaginable ways.
The following are just some of the changes fatherhood can bring to men.
Testosterone levels may fall
Testosterone is a predominantly male hormone that is responsible for behaviours such as aggression, competition, and attracting the opposite sex. When men become fathers, these hormones decrease, making them less interested in their external lives and more focused on their families. Studies also suggest that men having a partner and children have lower testosterone levels than those who do not have children or are looking for partners; nature's very own way of shifting men's priorities over time!
Oxytocin and dopamine levels rise
Lower levels of testosterone hormone make room for other ones to take their place — the 'happier' ones. Oxytocin, the love hormone, and dopamine, the rewarding hormone, are two of the most vital bodily chemicals responsible for the bonding between a parent and a child. The secretion of these hormones helps the father and baby play, cuddle, and develop a strong bond between themselves.
Postpartum depression is usually associated with women, but what if we told you that men can go through it too? Hormonal highs and lows can lead to PPD in men and it's not as uncommon as it sounds. Testosterone is an important hormone that keeps men buoyant and jolly, and a drop in this particular chemical can cause men to feel down in the dumps more easily. However, while hormones have their faults, it's not just them. Newly added pressures of fatherhood are equal culprits for fathers feeling the baby blues.
The brain changes
Studies have found that in the first four months of parenthood, fathers' brains showed some prominent changes in the grey matter. These changes are important for fathers to make the important transition from simply being a husband to now becoming someone in a prime caregiver role. They help men develop strong bonds and feelings of possessiveness towards their tiny offspring. This transformation in men is important, not only for the baby's childhood but also for its future cognitive and social development. A 'dad brain' can show activity in areas that deal with planning, problem-solving, and risk detection. This means a father is naturally inclined to protect his child, something that is as adorable as it is amazing.
High emotional stress
Even if it's mostly the mums who are in the limelight for going under emotional pressure during the postpartum period, men too, albeit indirectly, go through something of an emotional rollercoaster when they join the 'dad club'. Even if they do not have to soothe or nurse the baby each time like a mother does, they get equally anxious to have a new addition to the family that relies on them completely for their survival and rearing. The fact that most men do not openly ask for help, makes it worse for them. It is important for more men to know that they are not alone in their emotional turbulence and must seek help if they struggle.