HELPING FATHERS OVERCOME PARTNER POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION (PPND).
Fatherhood is an incredible gift! But sometimes, complications can accompany it. Some fathers or birth partners can experience something called Paternal Postpartum Depression (PPND).
Chances are you haven’t heard of it, but you may have heard of something called postpartum depression or Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMAD) in new mothers.
(Simply stated, PMAD describes the distressing feelings that some mothers experience during pregnancy [also known as perinatal] and throughout the first year after pregnancy [also referred to as postpartum]).
Well, it stands to reason that if your partner is experiencing these symptoms, you might also be suffering from some type of mental or emotional fallout.
The symptoms of Paternal Postpartum Depression (PPND) aren’t quite as obvious as the well-known symptoms women experience with PMAD. Men who seek treatment for PPND often report feelings of hopelessness, ambivalence, having trouble focusing, feeling indifferent about spending time with their partner or child(ren), feeling critical of themselves, and/or feeling sad or angry as their precursors for seeking help.
If your partner is experiencing PMAD, you (DAD) might also be suffering from some type of mental or emotional fallout.
Because men often suppress their emotions, PPND can also reveal itself through somatic or physical forms such as alcohol or drug abuse, increased/decreased appetite, weight gain, headaches, indigestion, nausea, diarrhea or constipation, and even insomnia.
Currently, it is estimated that one in every four new fathers is suffering from PPND – and research indicates an increased risk of up to 50% for mates with a partner suffering from a perinatal or postpartum mood and anxiety disorder (PMAD).
Furthermore, the symptoms of PPND can be difficult to identify because they gradually build over time – often not occurring until 3-6 months after the birth of the child.
One in every four new fathers is suffering from PPND.
Guys, you need to reach out. Parenthood can be phenomenal, but it’s bloody hard work! If you’re experiencing negative feelings, please seek professional help while the issue is minor – so it doesn’t have a significant and long-lasting impact on your family.
Left untreated, PPND can affect the mental health of your spouse and your ability to effectively support and bond with your partner and child(ren). It can also have a direct impact on your child’s psychosocial development and behavior and negatively impact your marriage. Both PMAD and PPND can rob a couple of their joy and cause shame and guilt during what is supposed to be a special time in your life.
You are not the only one feeling this way. PPND is a relativity misunderstood and marginalized mental health issue. There has been a significant lack of professional attention and acceptance which has stigmatized father’s experiences, resulting in many men never seeking treatment or experiencing a vacancy of treatment options.
PPND is a relativity misunderstood and marginalized mental health issue.
The impact of PPND can be significant, but professional clinical treatment for Paternal Postpartum Depression (PPND) is available. Do not suffer in silence. Speak up and let your voice be heard!
Want to know more? Concerned that your partner might be experiencing Paternal Postpartum Depression (PPND)? Reach out and book a complimentary, 20-minute phone consultation. Book through my website or call 512-470-6976. There’s help in your corner!
Simon Niblock, MA, LMFT
Founder | Psychotherapist | Speaker
Simon Niblock, Relationship Therapy for Men
Bio: Simon Niblock, MA, is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who specializes in relationship therapy for men and fathers. He is the founder of Simon Niblock, Relationship Therapy for Men, a tailored psychotherapy service that caters for men and fathers who seek to establish and evolve meaningful and fulfilling relationships with themselves and those that matter to them the most.
Postpartum Men (2020). Helping Men Beat the Baby Blues and Overcome Depression. Accessed: http://postpartummen.com/postpartum-depression/
Goodman, J.H. (2004). Paternal postpartum depression, its relationship to maternal postpartum depression, and implications for family health. Journal of Advanced Nursing. 45: 26-35.
Matthey S., Barnett B., Ungerer J., Waters B. (2000). Paternal and maternal depressed mood during the transition to parenthood. Journal of Affective Disorders. 60: 75-85