When it comes to post natal depression- suffering from depression after a new baby is born- men admittedly get the very short end of the stick.
Talking about women’s baby blues is still a subject that we moms seem to approach a bit like walking on broken glass. We don’t want to be stigmatized for suffering from it if it’s about us, and if it’s about a friend or family member, we don’t want to inadvertently judge or sound like are and accidentally say the wrong thing.
Am I right? I’d say it’s a subject that’s half out the closet and still contemplating taking those final steps.
And so, when it comes to dads and partners, let’s face it: open talk about post natal depression faces a bigger wall. Partners can be quickly dismissed.
Hey, they weren’t up for days trying to tear a screaming mammal from their loins and feeling the brink of death stepping ever that much closer, no: they were ordering pizza and taking breaks outside the birth room because it was tense and they needed to “relax”, because the whole thing was so “stressful.”
“Stressful?? They don’t know the half of it!”
The fact is, birth can be hard for everyone involved.
Yes, it can be a time of great joy, but it can be tough. Physically and emotionally. And after the first days of haze pass over, it can be a time of depression.
Anyone acting as a caregiver for the new child can develop the post birth blues.
Dads and partners: if you feel like you might have it, get some help. It will only get better. As postpardummen.com states, “…contrary to what you might think, admitting you’re depressed isn’t admitting defeat. It’s admitting there’s hope. And it’s taking charge of your life.”
Which is so true.
Post natal depression can include, among other symptoms, mood swings, troubles sleeping, feelings of anxiety or panic, a low sex drive, a lack of energy, and trouble performing well at work.
And naturally, growing tension with your partner.
The stats are somewhat informal, but sources say that as many as 1 in 4 new dads experience some depression, in the United States. Since most new parents are trying to figure out how to pay the bills with people taking time off work, are continually being sleep-deprived, are dealing with a constantly crying infant, and don’t know how the heck they’re ever going to find time to take a shower or buy groceries, this comes as no surprise.
What can partners do about it? It might seem like these are no-brainers, but taking these steps to activate self-help might ease the pain.
Reading up on post natal depression in partners can help, as can talking about it. Someone in your friends and family circle has very likely gone through the same thing. Talking about it can open the doors to discussion. Maybe they have some tips.
And consulting your doctor to see if they have methods for dealing with the stress of a new baby can also be a good route. This can open up doors to counseling and help, or just other ideas that can be useful to hear coming from someone else.
Joining an exercise group, or a local support group for new dads can also be a good idea, as it gets you out of the house and moving.
Bringing a baby into the world is a lot of work. Partners, feeling overwhelmed can be par for the course.
Just remember: it doesn’t have to stay that way. You aren’t alone and things can get better. Give yourself a break.