Post-partum depression among mums is a well-documented occurrence, and gaining the attention it deserves from the global community. While female victims are most commonly associated with this condition, did you know that fathers are susceptible as well? Little is mentioned about the emotional health of fathers post-partum, but this doesn't necessarily mean that there is an absence of disturbance. In fact, incidents of dads having a case of the "baby blues" has been on the rise as well.
Why it happens
Getting burnt out, stressed and overwhelmed are feelings that both men and women familiar with, so it's not too crazy to assume that men can suffer from the same kind of emotional distress that sometimes afflicts first-time mothers. Additionally, mums might also feel neglected due to the sudden change of family members’ attention towards the baby instead. The very same principle applies to dads! Even though fathers don't carry their baby to term, they still have an equal role and responsibility in taking care of the newborn baby. As such, they are often subjected to the very same stress and impressions of neglect that mums face, putting them at risk of post-partum depression.
Despite this, very little is known or understood about depression among dads dealing with newborn children. As such, the actual incidence rate might be higher than what has been reported. Some at-risk dads often slip through the cracks, and resign themselves to suffering in silence.
What dads can do about it
If you are currently going through this period of “baby blues” or if you know someone who might be going through it, here’s what you can do about it:
1. Don't keep quiet
Don’t make a companion out of silence! Instead, be proactive and seek help before the situation worsens. Talk to your spouse, a trusted friend or even the paediatrician. It might be hard to broach the topic initially, but bear in mind that there is nothing to be ashamed of and that your loved ones have only your best interests at heart.
2. Seek treatment
For dads who require help and support more urgently, it is important to approach a doctor and to seek treatment immediately. Advances in treatment methodology means that depression can be curable, just like other physical ailments. In fact, it can be treated with a relatively high success rate. On the other hand, going without treatment will only lead to the depression worsening and will ultimately bring harm to the family.
Yes – bringing a baby into the world is no easy feat, and mums definitely deserve adequate care and concern. However, it is important for dads to not feel neglected during this period as well, for they can be as much of an emotional target as mums are. Mental conditions are in no way gender-specific, so be sure to remain vigilant.