This week we are back with part 2 of Men are from Mars; Women are from Venus to shed some light on very important but rarely discussed issues surrounding Paternal Postnatal Depression; the warning signs. PPND is rarely recognised distinctively from MPND. However, as we learnt in our previous blog men and women react to things in different ways. Their experience of postnatal depression is no exception.
When we think of parenting, dads are often overlooked and their role seriously diminished. The signs and symptoms of maternal PD are more easily recognised and can include mood irritability, poor appetite, insomnia and feelings of worthlessness. The very images relating to babies, parenting and postnatal depression relate directly to women. Some of these symptoms can relate to men but there are also differences.
Little is known about PPND and as such the warning signs and symptoms by men are not recognised and can be severely misunderstood. More than this, men who may be experiencing postnatal depression can feel extremely confused and feel heightened anxiety as they struggle to understand what is happening to them.
Crystal Clancy, a licensed therapist and co-founder of Pregnancy and Postpartum Support Minnesota, recently spoke to Fox9 News about these new study findings, and described in more detail just how different postpartum depression looks in dads versus moms:
“It looks different than in women and that’s why it gets missed a lot,” Clancy explained. “In men, they do not walk around sad and crying. They’re typically more angry, more internal, more withdrawn from their partner, from the family.”
Irritability, low mood or frequency staying late at work can see fathers being labelled as unsupportive, “bad” dads and “poor” partners. The truth is that father may be suffering from Postnatal Depression. These fathers feel confused by their emotions and try to conceal their feelings by isolating themselves from friends and family only fuelling the condition.
It is important to understand that PPND presents differently in different people. Know what is your usual behaviour and recognise behavioural changes. Even if you don’t quit understand them, take them seriously and seek help because they can turn into very serious issues if not dealt with properly. A common perception for new dads is that they need to conceal their feelings in order to stay strong for their partner and their baby. However, research suggests that it’s better for dad to get treated. Next week we will discuss the effect of PD on partners and children. The effects of PD on children actually increase if both parents are affected and mean it is important that if you or your partner is suffering from Postnatal Depression you seek help.
If you or someone you know may be suffering from Postnatal Depression you can contact the national PANDA helpline at 1300 726 306 or visit their website at http://www.panda.org.au