6 ways men change when they become fathers
Pregnancy and childbirth change not only women but also men. Hormone levels also vary in fathers (though little is said about them).
Anxiety and depression affect both men out of love for children, but also fears of a possible danger.
What exactly is happening?
Testosterone levels may drop.
A high testosterone level is responsible for behavioral traits like aggression and competition. But when a man becomes a father, his testosterone level drops significantly, thus reducing his aggression and focusing him more inside the house than outside.
Studies show that men who have partners and moreover those who have children have lower testosterone levels compared to men without children and those who are still looking for a partner. It seems like, over time, men’s bodies learned how to lower testosterone levels in order to shift priorities and turn them into devoted fathers.
Oxytocin and Dopamine levels increase
Oxytocin and dopamine are the two chemical components responsible for the bond between a parent and child. When testosterone drops and oxytocin and dopamine rise, the father is more likely to play and cuddle with the baby.
All of these hormonal fluctuations can also cause postpartum depression in men
While there is constant talk of postpartum depression in women, few of us have heard of postpartum depression in men. Besides everything, testosterone helps in not feeling morally depressed. And in conditions when his levels fall, the man becomes more sensitive.
They may also undergo some changes in the brain
The scientists studied brain activity in a group of young fathers and found that changes in brain activity were most noticeable in the first 4 months of childbirth. These changes help young fathers develop their parenting skills and build a strong bond with their babies.
Specifically, a young father's brain has more activity in areas responsible for planning, problem solving, and risk detection. In other words, these are the areas that help the father ensure that the child is safe and sound.
Men may also experience pregnancy symptoms
Changes in men begin before the baby is born. They may feel the symptoms of pregnancy, may have nausea, changes in appetite, back pain. This phenomenon called "Sympathetic pregnancy" is also known in medicine.
Men can experience high levels of stress
New responsibilities can lead to high levels of stress and anxiety in young fathers, but the hardest part is that unlike women, men feel they have no right to seek help.
This is why it is so important for both parents to spend time together, talking about what they are experiencing. A shared burden is a halved burden!
* Bright Side article was adapted in Albanian by Tiranapost.al