So often when a couple has a child, the focus is on the new mum and baby.
Friends may ask: 'How are you managing breastfeeding?' or 'How's the baby sleeping?'
But until recently, little thought has been given to how a new baby might affect fathers. New research shows about one in 10 fathers will suffer postnatal depression – about 80 new dads a day, according to Professor Richard Fletcher of the University of Newcastle.
Just as with mothers, when a dad gets depressed it has an impact on the rest of the family. Studies show children with a depressed father are three times more likely to have behavioural problems in school. A depressed dad also poses a major risk for mothers developing depression.
As Richard points out, fathers aren't as well connected as mothers to health services, and they're less sure of their role with a new baby. As he says, when asked what they plan to do in the first few weeks of their child's life, most dads answer: 'Whatever she tells me to do.'
In an effort to make fathers feel more connected to mental health resources, their partner and their new child, Richard has launched SMS4dad, a new project funded by Beyond Blue.
After signing up via the website, dads are sent regular text messages from 12 weeks into their partner's pregnancy, until the baby is anywhere from six to 12 months old.
The messages are designed to be quick and humorous: 'Hey Dad. I am going to triple my weight in the first year of life. Don't let this happen to you too.'
'Talk to me about about anything, Dad. Your words will help my brain development.'
Other messages are designed to help dads support the new mum: 'Find new ways to tell your partner she is doing an amazing job. This could be really important to her.'
As Richard points out, dad's can read the messages whenever they want or need them. Many have reported that having some insight helped them to be more empathetic, while also helping them to take better care of their own health. New dads are also texted a 'mood tracker'. If they're not faring well, they are asked if they would like to speak to someone. This helps fathers to connect with support services.
Richard goes on to explain: 'Dad's don't want to be on the sideline, they want to be involved as much as they can. But they're flat out in the lead-up to the birth and then they rush back to work after two weeks' leave. SMS4dads stops them being isolated.'