Paternal Postpartum Depression
Depression among new dads is not uncommon, and they're not alone.
Being a father, anxiously waiting for the birth of your child is a wonderful feeling. It is a mixture of emotions, when you see your baby for the first time: the joy, the pride, the love.
For some of us, we can afford another month or so of luxury while a confinement lady takes over the caring and cleaning and cooking. But for the most of us, we are suddenly hit by a whirlwind of sleepless nights, baby crying and care and attention. Our whole world is suddenly centered on this one tiny being who guzzles milk constantly and is a poop and pee machine.
Fathers who are already dealing with stress from work, may begin to feel more and more miserable with the new change. Sleep deprived, irritable, and with bills to pay, fathers can end up snappy and short fused with their wives being the receiving end. Some fathers even resort to drinking, taking drugs and engaging in reckless behaviours to constantly to escape reality or start withdrawing from people.
Depression among new dads is not uncommon, and they’re not alone.
Why It Happens
For women, our hormones have been a roller coaster since the start of our pregnancies and it continues to evolve after baby is out. Did you know that men experience hormonal changes too?
“Men’s hormones change during pregnancy and after their babies are born,” says Dr. Courtenay. “It’s a double-whammy. Not only do our testosterone levels decrease, but our estrogen levels increase.”
Those hormone changes make men biologically predisposed to depression right when the baby comes, says Dr. Hibbert.
credit : fitpregnancy.com
How To Spot It
Generally, most men are less likely to admit to having depression. Whether it is pride or ego, this usually deters them from getting the help that they need.
Believe it or not, one’s spouse is probably the best person to spot any behavioral changes.
Here are some changes to look out for:
- Depressed, sad mood
- Loss of interest or pleasure in doing things they normally enjoy doing
- Significant weight loss or gain
- Trouble sleeping or over-sleeping
- Restlessness (unable to stay still or slow down)
- Fatigue, loss of energy, or tired all the time
- Worthless or guilty feelings
- Poor concentration, difficulty making decisions
- Constantly thinking of death or suicide
- You do not need to experience all these symptoms to be depressed.
- Note the intensity of the symptoms, not just the number of symptoms that manifest.
- This is a highly treatable condition, you can stop suffering in silence.
- You can recover from it
What Can You Do?
There are a few things you can do to manage this problem. What most parents forget is that in the midst of caring for their babies, they also need to care for themselves. Understandably your baby will seem most important, but it is also equally important to take care of your own needs.
Surround yourself with positive vibes and make conscious effort to get enough rest, eat healthily and to look after yourself.
Teamwork is important and always remember that your spouse is also your life partner. Discuss and share your feelings and thoughts with her instead of bottling it all up. The important thing is to have an outlet and confidant – never mind if your spouse cannot solve the problem. Sometimes it just takes a listening ear to feel less burdened.
Postpartum Depression is a medical issue that should not be ignored. Seek help and consult a doctor or psychologist who can guide you on how you can handle it.
In addition to medical/professional help, you can also talk to your family and friends. The first step is to healing is always acknowledging that you do need help. It is okay to have PPPD and to know that you are not alone.
Get help today.