Bupa recently launched a new podcast series addressing tough issues, concerns and questions facing parents today. Here, one of our hosts, Tim Hipgrave, shares his experience of mental health and becoming a dad.
At certain times in my life, I’ve had struggles with my mental health, especially in my late teens. The signs were there, but I never acknowledged them until I reflected on the highs and lows.
Growing up, the first thing I was sure I wanted to be was a father. I remember at age 13 thinking about what it would be like. When I eventually became one, it was a huge high. Having our two boys focused my mind on being the best daddy possible.
I’ve dedicated my time to making sure that they feel loved, supported and safe, as well as giving them the confidence to explore and enjoy the world. As part of this, I wanted to create a space where they felt comfortable to talk to me about anything on their mind, good and bad!
Whilst thinking about my own experiences of mental health and if my boys would face similar feelings, I’ve sometimes let myself worry. I want them to feel happy and to be able to talk about things whenever they need to. I never want them to experience the crushing depression that I had when I was 17. Because I went through this, I’ve encouraged the boys to speak openly to whomever they trust and for them to see me as someone who is dependable in their lives – something I’m sure all parents reading can relate to and want the same for their children!
There isn’t a golden formula that tells you how to parent (I often think how boring parenting would be if there was one!). Over the years, I’ve noted a few ideas and experience that I’m excited to share on the podcasts. I hope the topics that we discuss are useful for other parents and parents to-be, even if only to reassure those listening about not being perfect.
I’ve had a great time with my colleague Heather recording this series. I had a giggle and thoroughly enjoyed speaking about so many topical areas. We hope you all enjoy listening and have a giggle too.
The podcast series is available to listen or download on SoundCloud.