The Cloaked Depression of FatherhoodMar 14, 2021
Helping Fathers Overcome Paternal Postpartum Depression (PPD)
Fatherhood is an incredible gift! But sometimes, complications can accompany it. Some fathers or birth partners can experience something called Paternal Postpartum Depression (PPD).
Chances are you haven't heard of it, but you may have heard of something called postpartum depression or Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMAD) in new mothers.
PMAD describes the distressing feelings that some mothers experience during pregnancy [also known as perinatal] and throughout the first year after pregnancy [also referred to as postpartum].
Well, it stands to reason that if your partner is experiencing these symptoms, you might also be suffering from some mental or emotional fallout.
The symptoms of Paternal Postpartum Depression (PPD) aren't quite as apparent as the well-known symptoms women experience with PMAD.
Men who seek treatment for PPD often report feelings of hopelessness, ambivalence, having trouble focusing, feeling indifferent about spending time with their partner or child(ren), feeling critical of themselves, and, or feeling sad or angry as their precursors for seeking help.
If your partner is experiencing PMAD, you (DAD) might also suffer from some mental or emotional fallout.
Because men often suppress their emotions, PPD can also reveal itself through somatic or physical forms such as alcohol or drug abuse, increased/decreased appetite, weight gain, headaches, indigestion, nausea, diarrhea, or even insomnia.
It is estimated that one in every four new fathers is suffering from PPD – and research indicates an increased risk of up to 50% for mates with a partner suffering from a perinatal or postpartum mood and anxiety disorder (PMAD).
Furthermore, the symptoms of PPD can be challenging to identify because they gradually build over time – often not occurring until 3-6 months after the child's birth.
One in every four new fathers experiences PPD
Guys, it would be best if you reached out. Parenthood can be phenomenal, but it's bloody hard work! If you're experiencing negative feelings, please seek professional help while the issue is minor – so it doesn't have a significant and long-lasting impact on your family.
Left untreated, PPD can affect your spouse's mental health and your ability to support effectively and bond with your partner and child(ren). It can also directly impact your child's psychosocial development and behavior and negatively impact your marriage.
Both PMAD and PPD can rob a couple of their joy and cause shame and guilt during what is supposed to be a particular time in your life.
You are not the only one feeling this way. PPD is a relativity misunderstood and marginalized mental health issue. There has been a significant lack of professional attention and acceptance, which has stigmatized father's experiences, resulting in many men never seeking treatment or experiencing a vacancy of treatment options.
The impact of PPD can be significant, but professional clinical treatment for Paternal Postpartum Depression (PPD) is available.
Do not suffer in silence. Speak up and let your voice be heard!
Want to know more? Concerned that your partner might be experiencing Paternal Postpartum Depression (PPD)? Reach out and book a complimentary, 30-minute phone consultation. Follow the menu above and click on the contact page.
There's help in your corner.
Postpartum Men (2020). Helping Men Beat The Baby Blues, and Overcome Depression. Accessed: http://postpartummen.com/postpartum-depression/
Goodman, J.H. (2004). Paternal postpartum depression, its relationship to maternal postpartum depression, and implications for family health. Journal of Advanced Nursing. 45: 26-35.
Matthey S., Barnett B., Ungerer J., Waters B. (2000). Paternal and maternal depressed mood during the transition to parenthood. Journal of Affective Disorders. 60: 75-8