Children come to be as a result of the coupling between a man and a woman. So it is only fair if both parties experience a change in their lives as they prepare for the arrival of a new life. Herewith are some of the ways on how fatherhood changes a man.
Normally, we are more familiar with how women’s bodies adapt to motherhood—hormonal shifts, neurological flips, and, of course, noticeable postpartum biological changes.
On the flip side, however, both men and women experience neurobiological and physiological changes which prime them for parenthood.
Health specialists have over the years focused solely on how women’s bodies undergo a sort of biological modification as pregnancy progresses. However, it was only recently that scientists have begun to focus on their male counterparts.
It is no surprise, then, how men’s bodies change due to the impending reality of fatherhood. Father do not play an active role when carrying the baby to term. Nevertheless, this does not mean that they don’t experience some changes in the run up to the birth of their child.
We now know that dads too experience changes in their bodies as their brains respond uniquely to the arrival of the new baby. What is well-known is how their socioeconomic status tends to change once the kids arrive.
To get a better understanding on how men change following the birth of their child, studies were conducted to showcase the difference between fathers and non-fathers. Check out the findings in this article.
Hormonal balance shifts: Testosterone Drops And Oxytocin Levels Rise
A study was conducted on 88 men in 2014. These participants were all married fathers and had children aged between 1-2 years.
The team of scientists from Emory University tested the levels of both testosterone and oxytocin in various circumstances. The results from this extraordinary experiment were compared to data drawn from 50 other men. The control group were, however, not married and neither had any any kids.
Through this experiment, one of the most striking findings on fatherhood was revealed. Compared to non-fathers, dads have a lower level of testosterone. Additionally, new fathers were seen to experience a spike in oxytocin levels.
Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone linked to male behavior and characteristics like aggression. It plays a massive role in sexual development. Oxytocin, on the other hand, is the natural love hormone associated with maternal traits. The abundance of the latter was seen to facilitate bonding between dads and their children.
The findings suggest that it isn’t just mothers who undergo drastic changes in their hormone balance. Their male counterparts as well experience hormone adjustments. These modifications allow them to adapt to parenthood. This way, they become less aggressive and increasingly committed to raising their offspring.
Change Also Occurs In Their Brains
After the hormone analysis the Emory Uni. scientists took the experiment further and studied the men’s brain activity. By using a Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), they researchers were able to measure associated changes.
The Emory team then showed the test subjects images of children and adults making happy, sad and neutral faces.
The brains belonging to fathers witnessed an upsurge of activity when they were shown children’s faces. This activity was significantly more for children than adults. On the other hand, there was little distinction to be made in the brains of non-fathers.
These results suggest that a father’s mind also changes by allowing them to express empathy towards younger humans.
Motherhood tends to drive women to focus solely towards caring for their child. Therefore, they are unable to focus on furthering their careers.
Fathers may not drop everything to care for their child, studies have shown that men with children experience psychological and social changes too. However, unlike women, the financial impact of fatherhood on men is quite optimistic.
Data from City University of New York indicates that fathers in the big apple have made more money on average than non-fathers since the 90s.
However, it is unclear what actually causes dads to earn more, on average than single men. Some people point out the added costs that are needed to keep their baby in good health.
Diapers, milk formula, insurance and even college savings sure cost a lot more. Nevertheless, these men are seen to be able to adapt to change. They have a renewed drive to seek out better career opportunities and eventually earn more money than when they were bachelors.
Long ago, parenting was never thought to have a significant impact on men as it does women. However, the Emory team has shown us how this major step in life impacts new fathers – not just financially, but also hormonally and neurologically.