The Other Side of Post Partum Depression (Dads Experience the Baby Blues too!)

During pregnancy, most parents fantasize about their ideal life as mothers and fathers. Everything is going to be perfect in their minds. In reality, somewhere in the back of their minds, they know that their life is about to change dramatically, and everything will be anything but perfect; however, dreams of parenthood often turn parents into optimistic idealists — until birth occurs and reality sets in.

Most new parents would agree that having a child is certainly a blessing. However, with the birth of a baby comes much change and often, chaos, which many new parents are ill prepared to deal with. Many get through this, adjusting just fine. Others struggle, suffering from the baby blues, or post partum depression. Now, much attention is given to women who suffer with this condition. It’s a common occurrence receiving much media coverage and plenty of expert advice and opinions. Yet there is another side to post partum depression that is discussed far less often. Believe it or not, new fathers can suffer from post partum depression. It s not just about pregnancy, birth, and hormones. Post partum depression is often the result of the major life changes that accompany the birth of a child.

 

New Dads and Post Partum Depression

Guys are macho. They re not supposed to get the blues just because they have a new baby.

Post partum depression is a female problem. These stereotypes, however, could not be further from the truth. Before fatherhood, most men are accustomed to a carefree lifestyle and a level of freedom hat quickly diminishes with the birth of a child. Even if a man has a wife or partner to consider and other adult responsibilities, they still have the freedom to do more, go more places, to spend money, etc., without concerns f rte care, safety, and nurturing of a baby. The birth of a child brings with it added responsibilities, changes in routine, chaos and unpredictability, and a loss of freedom that takes some getting used to. Someone always has to be there to care for the new baby. Physically and financially, his or her needs become top priority. Top this off with a lack of sleep and normal post-birth relationship changes, and it s easy to see why men and women alike can experience post partum depression, even without consideration for the hormonal changes each can experience.

Post partum depression in men, also known as paternal postnatal depression or PPND, is really rather common, although the term for this condition was only recently coined. The problem is the perpetuation of the make stereotype, which teaches men, from an early age, that they cannot experience these emotions and should just man up and get over it. Because of this, men tend to lock their emotions away, only exacerbating the problem. Male post partum depression does not have to ruin your life or your relationship. You can combat those feelings of sadness, depression, resentment, and jealousy. The first step is in admitting that you have a problem and in acknowledging that it is common and acceptable for men to experience postnatal depression and that you are not alone.

 

Avoiding and Combating PPND

 

Paternal postnatal depression can be avoided or minimized during pregnancy. Counseling to defeat new father anxieties and parenting classes can be valuable tools in helping you to understand and cope with the realities and changes of new parenthood. In addition, a social support system is important during and after the pregnancy. Having trusted family and friends you can talk to and who will help around the house and with the new baby, in order to give Mommy and Daddy a break, is very important.

 If you are experiencing PPND, the good news is that you d not have to continue fighting these feelings alone. There are steps you can take to combat PPND.

  • Seek the help of a mental healthcare professional
  • Talk about it with your partner, friends, family, or anyone who will listen and may be able to offer advice. Getting things off your chest will work wonders.
  • Sleep!! It s no secret that new babies result in a lack of sleep. Do whatever you can to maximize your sleep. Get the baby into a routine, sleep when the baby sleeps. Embrace naps. Share and rotate duties so you and your partner can care for and bond with the baby while also not sacrificing too much sleep.
  • Get away once in a while. You and your partner deserve a break from time to time. Go out together alone or even get out by yourself occasionally. A new baby does not have to keep you chained to your house. Share responsibilities, but take some time out for yourselves occasionally as well.
  • Motivate yourself. Therapeutic reading of motivational, inspirational, or even humorous passages can significantly improve your mood and your frame of mind.
  • Couples counseling

 

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