Relationship break-up after having a baby : exploring why men leave : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Social Work at Massey University, New Zealand

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Massey University
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Fatherhood can be one of the most rewarding things a man can experience in life. Nevertheless, are today's men fully prepared for this occasion? Understanding the challenges men potentially face during the pregnancy and postpartum stage contributes to the support of men's mental health, the journey into fatherhood, children, future parents, policies and the agencies that work within these areas. This research explored relationship breakdown following the birth of a child. A qualitative method was used, and five male participants were interviewed. Challenges men are experiencing during the pregnancy and the postpartum stage were identified, and the required support was noted. This study's findings indicated that some men are better prepared for fatherhood than others and that fathers are more involved than is often recognised with the childbirth process right from the beginning. Further, that some men go through mental health conditions during the pregnancy and at the postpartum stage, and some - at the point of finding out they are fathers - feel suddenly unprepared for the changes and the expectations. Five main themes and key recommendations emerged from this research. They included: (1) training, (2) future research, (3) antenatal classes, (4) policies, and (5) education. These recommendations are highlighted to support prospective fathers into their journey with fatherhood and parenthood.