Postnatal depression (PND) commonly known as "baby blues" apparently can affect not only new mothers but their partners as well. We are talking about almost 16% of male population (USA statistics).
If women have this depression in the first few weeks after giving birth, men generally are very happy at this time until all the responsibilities, tiredness, fears and worries catch up with them and they become depressed in 3 to 6 months after their child is born.
This kind if depression in men is more likely to happen if their partner is also depressed. That's why doctors have to pay attention to the whole family when treating PND in female patients.
To get depression help is more problematic for new fathers. First, they might not realise they have PND, as it's an illness commonly associated with women. Secondly, they don't communicate with other new parents and share their experiences.
The signs and symptoms of postnatal depression are usually quite similar to the ones of normal depression. In addition there are:
- Low mood, tearfulness are worse in the morning
- You are not enjoying new baby as expected
- You are very irritable with the baby and your partner
- You experience insomnia despite lack of sleep and tiredness
Scientists don't know the causes of postnatal depression but suspect they have something to do with hormonal changes after childbirth, when levels of estrogens and progesterone rapidly drop in women and levels of testosterone plummet in men (which is similar to what happen in ordinary depression) because of stress of doing something you've never done before and overwhelming sense of responsibility.
You are more likely to get PND if you have history of depression in yourself or your family members, had stressful life before the baby, or the baby was unplanned, or was born with serious problems.
Remember PND can be treated in much the same way as an ordinary depression; the doctor might even get you antidepressants that are safe for breastfeeding mothers.
Here are a few tips if you suffer from PND:
1. Share your fears and anxieties with others, talk to your doctor as well, - this is common and you are NOT alone.
2. Do not feel guilty that you are a bad mother or father and don't be afraid that someone will take your baby away if you don't cope with the pressure well. This is NOT going to happen. People will help you to deal with your depression instead.
3. Try to sleep when and where you can, - you need your rest.
4. Don't try to do everything yourself, get help.
5. Eat healthy and wholesome food; you'll need all your energy for the baby.
6. Share responsibilities and fears with your partner.
7. Don't forget to spend time with your partner without the baby, hire a nanny once a week or ask your parents to look after your child for one evening.
Did anyone have PND? Please, share!