We all have a lot of sympathy for the new mother and her situation, for her issues such as, healing, stress and coping with a brand new situation in life etc.
In all of this, the father or significant other is overlooked, even dismissed as not the person who has undergone the ordeal of birthing and consequently not the one who is having to deal with a bunch of new issues.
But, consider the fact that a new father has had an equally life altering experience. He may not have undergone the physical pain of childbirth, but he has undergone much of the emotional upheaval; his life is as inevitably altered as that of the mother.
Most responsible fathers are also undergoing the feeding – burping – changing cycle 24×7, suffering sleepless nights and have to balance a day’s work with that. They are also expected to take care of the mother and her special needs.
Increasingly, postpartum depression among men is a concept that is being given some credence by the medical community. An estimated 1000 new fathers in the United States undergo some level or form of depression.
An estimated 10 to 25% of new dads may have postpartum depression. It is important to diagnose and treat, just like postpartum depression that is observed in new moms. Not doing so and telling the new dad to “just get over it”, may actually be unfair not only to the man himself but also to his family.
A father’s postpartum depression, if left untreated, could lead to long term and damaging consequences for him as well as the new mother and baby and his or her development and progress. And so it is as important to get treatment for the father as it is for the mother who undergoes postpartum depression.
Many men, in the weeks and months after the arrival of a new baby could well show the following signs and symptoms of postpartum depression:
- There may be irritability, even fights with the partner. May display usual amount of anger or hostility.
- Perhaps the man is feeling miserable and anxious. He may withdraw from people and may start to drink more.
- The man finds that he is repeatedly going to work feeling exhausted; not having got sufficient rest or quality sleep the day before.
- He also finds that he is more stressed at work and that his productivity is suffering.
Postpartummen.com is a useful resource for men who are undergoing this very real and painful condition or others who are close to them.