Post Natal Depression is much more common than most people realise, with up to one in ten women experiencing signs of PND after having a baby. Increasingly, experts are researching these same feelings in men in order to identify if men suffer from the same condition. While there is some debate about this; with some arguing that PND is caused, at least in part, by chemicals and hormones in the woman’s body after the birth. Whatever the depression is caused by, it is important that it is taken seriously and treated as soon as possible.
Dads with PostNatal DepressionSigns and symptoms of Post Natal Depression
Post Natal Depression is basically depression that begins in the weeks or months after the birth of a child. The following are some of the most common symptoms of PND;
Feeling unable to cope
Feeling weepy or tearful frequently
Lack of interest in things that would usually have interested you
Poor concentration, memory and focus
Feelings of rejection, guilt, inadequacy
Loss of libido
Feeling irritable or moody
Thoughts of self-harm or harming your baby
Feeling unable to let the baby out of your sight, feeling over anxious and obsessive
Can men really get PND?
Yes. Men can be very susceptible to depression in the first few months of their baby’s life. They are especially at risk of depression if their partner is suffering from Post Natal Depression, if they have had depression before or if there are other difficult circumstances. Fathers are more likely to have PND if they are caring for a baby with colic or sleeping problems, and research suggests that the parents of twins are more likely to have PND. Depression can occur at any point in a person’s life, so it stands to reason that the arrival of a baby can challenge your sense of yourself, make you question things and shake you up just as any major life event or change could.
Help for Post Natal Depression
Men need the same support as women when it comes to dealing with PND. It is essential that you see your doctor as soon as possible. While women have support from the midwife, and many go through a screening process to ensure they do not have any of the warning signs of Post Natal Depression, there is less awareness of the fact that Dads can suffer too. So if you feel that you may be suffering from depression, or on the verge of it, then you need to see your doctor right away and explain how you feel. This can be tough ? it isn?t easy admitting you have a problem but by accepting help, you can limit the hold that this potentially debilitating illness has over you. You may be prescribed medication and be offered a talking therapy to help you deal with your feelings. The sooner you get help, the sooner you can feel like yourself again and get on with enjoying your child.
Some further information on PostNatal Depression can be read on the HSE website
Postnatal Depression Ireland have a website with some good information and support