MusicFootballFatherhood founder, Elliott Rae, hosts Becoming Dad, an emotional, raw and moving documentary that spotlights the changing narrative that modern dads face today.
As the curator of bestselling book Dad, a speaker on fatherhood, mental health and masculinity and founder of musicfootballfatherhood.com, the men’s parenting platform, Rae is more qualified than most to be at the helm of this very important documentary.
Viewers are advised that while this will not be an easy watch, it is very necessary. Considering that fathers are one half of the parenting team, why is the narrative so one-sided in favour of women? Leading on the front foot, during the programme, Rae shares his own deeply personal experience of becoming a father and how he was diagnosed with PTSD after the traumatic birth of his daughter. It is that experience which has led him to dedicate his life’s work to create spaces for more open conversations around fatherhood.
Sadly, his traumatic experience is not an isolated one. Recent research shows that one in 10 new dads will experience some symptoms of post-natal depression and 39% of expectant dads are concerned about their mental health (Fathers Reaching Out report).
In addition, more work needs to be done in the area of supporting men’s mental health with suicide remaining the biggest killer of men under the age of 45, and 12.5% of men in the UK suffering from depression and anxiety. New dads are particularly vulnerable as financial and work pressures coupled with a huge life change can have a significant impact. Dad’s poor mental health has significant negative impacts on support for mothers and the development of children.
So, what should we be doing more of to support the men and fathers in our lives? Becoming Dad urges the importance of de-gendering parenting, challenging outdated stereotypes and supporting dads to be involved parents in the home. Rae asks challenging questions of workplaces, government, the NHS and society as a whole about what more can be done to ensure dads are supported and considered in decision-making.
A powerful aspect of the show is that viewers get to hear moving testimony directly from fathers, with expectant dads talking about their anxieties and concerns. Rae and his father also share a moving conversation about their own relationship.
When we asked Rae what he would like viewers to take away from Becoming Dad, Rae said:
“As a collective we need to do more to recognise the challenges modern dads face and raise awareness of the prevalence of mental health issues. We need to do more to challenge gendered parenting roles and move away from the concept that caring is for women and being the main breadwinner is for men – those outdated stereotypes are damaging for everyone: men, women and children.
“Becoming Dad is a programme about love, openness and vulnerability in the quest to be the best dads we can be for our families.”
Becoming Dad will be broadcast on BBC One in the South-East England region on 26 January 2022.