Childbirth is not the only event in a mother’s life. Father is also a partner. Keep in mind that new fathers can also experience postpartum depression. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, an average of 10% of fathers may suffer from depression before or after childbirth. According to the Cleveland Clinic, an average of 1 in 4 fathers experience postpartum blues 3 to 6 months after birth.
Apart from this, various studies have shown that new fathers can suffer from depression as well as new mothers due to hormonal changes after childbirth. Apart from hormonal factors, new father’s feeling of abandonment due to child being the center of attention in married life, increased financial pressure, tendency to blame himself for not being able to do enough for the child, reduced time together in married life, dissatisfaction in sex life etc. also play a role.
It is worth noting here that men’s mental health care is woefully neglected worldwide. So a new father’s symptoms of depression, fatigue, restlessness, anxiety, disinterest, sleep problems etc. are not brought into the field in particular. And as much as our society is used to seeing a man’s anger, we are not so used to seeing his sadness or fear. Rather, there is a tendency to dismiss it as ridiculous.
All fathers will suffer?
Not all fathers will suffer. Fathers who are relatively young, have a history of depression, experience relationship tension, are experiencing financial strain, have a higher incidence. And in this case fathers need mental health care.
Symptoms of postpartum depression in fathers:
1. Despair, sadness, fear, helplessness
2. Confusion, indecision
3. Withdrawal or distance from family and friends
4. Anger, irritability, anger
5. Loss of interest in favorite activities
6. Working all the time
7. Marital strife
9. Alcohol and drug use
10. Indigestion, appetite and weight changes, headache and nausea
Treatment of postpartum depression
Psychotherapy: Great use, here talking is used as therapy.
Medicines: The doctor will decide according to the need.
Self care: Balanced diet, exercise, rest are necessary. Express your feelings to someone who understands you.
If the new mother suffers from depression, the father is also more likely to suffer from depression. So at this time the role of the extended family will be to rest the new mother, as well as take care of the father.
How long will the treatment last?
It will take time. It is not right to expect something magical in a few days. Because if not treated with enough time, this depression can become long-term or recur. Hopefully, timely treatment without haste will yield excellent results.
Author: Physician, Counselor and Psychotherapy Practitioner, Phoenix Wellness Center