Postnatal Depression (PND)
How PND Affects Fathers
A father's wellbeing is equally important to the developing family as that of the mother. And with the stressors/anxiety related to their parenting role, fathers like mothers can suffer from depression. A father's depression can also be a consequence of their partner suffering from postnatal depression (PND). Making matters worse, dads are likely to think they 'just need to keep coping' as in general, they are not as open about their parenting experiences and emotional stress compared to mothers. Nor might they have social support networks which can help buffer the effects of mild depression.
In an attempt to deal with their parenting stressors and feelings of depression research shows that some fathers may resort to staying back late at work, taking up a new sport and/or increasing their intake of alcohol ... all of which worsen the situation, driving a wedge between partners and the baby.
Importantly, if you suspect you (or your partner) are suffering from depression, be open about how you are feeling and comfort each other. Listen to each other ... for your own sake, for your partner and for your baby's wellbeing. Don't bury your head in the sand, so to speak. Seek help from a doctor or other health professionals who can provide a correct diagnosis and show an understanding of your needs. The sooner you are diagnosed the sooner you are likely to recover, and the more able you are to enjoy being with your partner and baby.
Below are websites of organisations specialising in depression, anxiety and other mental health concerns that provide information and self-testing questionnaires in assessing symptoms:
- The Black Dog Institute at: https://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au
- Beyondblue at: https://www.beyondblue.org.au and at their website about postnatal depression at https://healthyfamilies.beyondblue.org.au/pregnancy-and-new-parents/just-speak-up
- PANDA (Post and Antenatal Depression Association Inc.) at: https://www.panda.org.au.