Postpartum Depression (PPD), also known as postnatal depression, occurs after delivering a baby. It is more severe than just mild ‘baby blues’, as many new mothers experience it for the next few days or weeks once they deliver the child. It is a serious medical condition which interferes with the parent’s ability to take care of themselves, and can often create difficulty in carrying out daily chores. It often requires a doctor’s help. Dr Anuneet Sabharwal, MBBS, MD Psychiatry helps us understand Postpartum Depression signs in fathers. “A woman might experience sadness or social withdrawal, while their male partners might feel irritated and aggressive. Men avoid taking medical assistance for the most part,” Dr Anuneet says.
What are the risk factors for Postpartum Depression?
The way in which pregnancy impacts women, it influences men too. “New responsibilities and demands during the pregnancy and post-delivery period lead to several changes in the father’s life as well. The causes are still not understood properly, “Dr Anuneet says. It is, thus, important to understand the risk factors that lead to depression, some of which are the following:
1)A family history of mental health conditions.
2) Inability to develop an attachment with the baby.
3) No good role model in males.
4) Lack of social support from family and friends.
5) Partner’s lack of intimacy and changes in the marital relationship.
6) Unplanned pregnancy.
7) Maternal depression.
8) No breastfeeding.
9) Complicated delivery.
10) Thyroid issues during pregnancy.
13)Financial instability and work stress.
14) Parents of twins or triplets are at a high risk of postpartum depression as challenges increase with the responsibility of more than 1 baby.
Symptoms of Postpartum Depression
The stress manifests itself in the form of frustration, impulsivity, and they might not feel pleasure and satisfaction in anything they do. Depressed fathers may indulge in domestic violence, substance abuse and also discourage their partners from breastfeeding.
Effects of Postpartum Depression
A father’s mood and behaviour also influence how he communicates with children and his partner. “Depressed and stressed fathers are more likely to spank their kids than those without such conditions. They hardly interact with their children in positive ways such as playing games, reading, singing music and other activities. Children growing up in such situations are likely to develop emotional and behavioural issues later in life. According to several research articles, the father’s stress might put a child’s life at risk for developmental delays. Paternal depression can also create chaos in marital relationships, and can equally push mothers towards depression,” Dr Anuneet says.
Dealing with Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression is considered as a treatable condition. “Get in touch with health care professionals such as your baby’s doctor, a nurse or an expert as they are familiar with such kinds of depression which new parents face. They will guide you through. Talk to friends or relatives who have just become new parents, as they might be dealing with similar challenges. Talk to your partner about building or rejuvenating your connection and relationship. It is challenging for her as well. Keep yourself and your partner healthy,” Dr Anuneet says.
Any parents might get depressed while having a new baby, but it doesn’t mean you will be bad,or will not be able to handle the situation.