Postpartum Depression. It’s usually thought of as something new moms may expect to experience. But did you know that nearly 1 in 4 new dads have trouble coping with the transition to fatherhood?
Hey, Dad, you need to be aware of the signs of Paternal Postnatal Depression (PPND). Men often get overlooked when it comes to the signs that you’re struggling. You can’t blame your wife or partner for not noticing. She’s just as stressed and sleep-deprived as you. You both are dealing with your own feelings of being overwhelmed with the arrival of a newborn.
Are You Slipping Into Depression?
Be honest about the answers to the following questions:
Do you feel yourself losing the desire to care for your baby?
Are you on edge or feeling anxious more since the baby came home?
Are you having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, even if the baby is sleeping well?
Have you stopped having an interest in doing things you love, even if there’s time for them?
Have you started drinking or are you drinking more than usual?
Are you struggling with focus and productivity at work?
Are you having thoughts of suicide?
If you’ve found yourself answering yes to any of those questions, you should talk to your family physician or go to a followup OB appointment and speak with the OB or Midwife who helped with your baby’s delivery. Other great resources available for you are your baby’s pediatrician, your church, the Facebook group Postpartum Dads, or family members who can support you through this time. With PPND, getting help sooner than later is critical.
“But I love my baby!”
PPND has nothing to do with love and everything to do with feeling completely overwhelmed. Of course, you love your baby. That is not even in question.
You shouldn’t feel any shame in acknowledging when normal new baby fatigue moves into something more serious or dangerous. Shame will keep you from getting the help you need, and it will also keep other dads from sharing when they are struggling with PPND. It’s time to get honest. Tell someone that you’re feeling depressed and you need help.
The Facebook group Postpartum Dads is full of personal stories that dads wrote, recounting their own experiences with depression and the struggles and triumphs they went through on their way to recovery. If you need encouragement, it’s a great place to start.
Being a new dad is not easy. If you need support in your new role, we encourage you to reach out and ask for it. Your partner and family want you to be the best you can be. Work together to figure out how to find the balanced between work and family life. Things will even out again, over time, but until them — please, take care of yourself, Dad!
If you know a dad who seems to be struggling with PPND, reach out to him and ask him what he needs and how you can help.
If you have a story of PPND you’d like to share send us a private message on Facebook! We’d love to share it so that other men can be encouraged and know they aren’t alone.