New dad disorientation tends to affect most men faced with the daunting task of finding their fatherhood feet.

Thrust into the dad-life, first-time fathers, like their newborns, have a period of adjusting to new routines, and a new identity.

The technical term is ‘post-partum disorientation’.

Although similar, PPD is not to be confused with ‘postpartum psychosis or depression’.

Psychology Today define PPD as a time of “reorientation, and self-redefinition, where old roles, and identities dissolve”.


In other words, the birth of a child also brings forth the birth of a father.

PT described this as the invisible side to visible labour.

While mums “go through an enormously difficult and visible journey to parenthood”, the new dad hustle with postpartum is hidden.

New dads, PT states, can feel disoriented for four reasons,

  1. Grieving who they were before kids.
  2. Becoming someone, they’ve never been, a father.
  3. Managing expectations about what it means to be a dad.
  4. Contending with what society says is a ‘good’ dad.

From my own experiences, I’ll add: Not letting the past determine the future.

For men raised in a fatherlessness age, grasping the tenets of fatherhood is about as hard as holding water in your hand.

New dads can be knocked for a six, or have their introduction to parenthood paralysed by memories of parental abuse.

Both positive, and negative childhood examples of what the dad life looks like can weigh heavy on the hearts, and minds of new dads.

The fear of being like, or not being able to live up to their own father’s example can be overwhelming.

Echoes of the past disorient new dads.

They’re an often-overwhelming obstacle, complicating the natural nervous embrace of their own newfound fatherhood.

A helpful tool to move safely through new dad disorientation, PT says, is acknowledging the quiet struggle inherent to this invisible side to labour.

Having a willingness to learn, the humility to admit limits, and practice good communication, are three time-tested remedies.

Where I depart from PT’s advice is in their advocating an abandonment of so-called ‘traditional heteronormativity,’ embracing a ‘willingness to fail,’ and their declaration that ‘families don’t need heroes.’

New dads do not need the added pressure of making sure they’ve ticked all the right boxes to satisfy the selfish interests of identity politics.

Adopting any of these would make new dad disorientation (or post-partum identity woes) worse.

If ever there was an age where new dads needed to be heroes in their homes, this is the time.

Stripping men of their dad stripes was the first step towards slowly erasing womanhood, and women from public life.

There’s enough evidence to link the downgrade of masculinity to the Western world’s fatherlessness crisis.

Hurting kids, in homes without dads, are a crazy new norm.

Men, be fathers, and husbands to your wives!

Simply stepping up to grasp the dad life, despite the disorientation already makes you a hero.

As Dads Adventure wrote,

“You have what it takes to become the best dad for your baby, even if it may take some time to catch on.”

“It’s normal to experience doubt, stress, fear, and even panic,’ because fatherhood brings with it the unknown.”

As well as “rapid changes, and huge responsibilities”.

DA’s six phrases of fatherhood are: deploy, deliver, deprived, discovery, delight and dad.

Get organised.

Get it done.

Give up some sleep.

Give mum and the baby lots of attention.

Bond, and learn to recognise that the word ‘Dad’ means you.


Photo by Nathan Dumlao/Unsplash.

About the Author: Rod Lampard

Rod, his wife Jonda, and their five kids are homeschooling veterans. Rod spent 12 years in management at Koorong, has a Bachelor’s Degree in Ministry & Theology, and is a writer for the theological, politically edgy news site Caldron Pool. Rod also writes for the Spectator. Find his personal blog here.

One Comment

  1. Bradley April 16, 2023 at 1:51 am - Reply

    This is all so true! Tho ial say too many
    young women think mother hood is 20 min parental duties,40 min phone time on an hourly basis.As a struggling Dad with Complex PTSD,Multiple Hernias,Carpal Tunnel syndrom both hands but managing daily house duties just…I say this, be choosie with who you spread your seed to men.
    You never get time back…

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