Welcome back to the blog of ‘Daddy, are you okay?’

At this stage of our posts we can recognise that PD is a condition experienced by fathers and we know what to look out for. Perhaps you’ve showed your hubby or partner the previous articles and you’ve had a conversation about your journey into parenthood. Maybe you’re a new dad and you can finally make sense of your sadness and anxiety. That’s fantastic news and means we are half way there! But we’re not done yet.

Postnatal Depression is a serious medical condition that can have enormous impact on your family unit and can severely impact the growth of your children.

It’s not enough to have one conversation and then revert back to old ways or sweep it under the rug. Keep the discussion going. Treatment isn’t an over night wonder. It’s a process and a very necessary one at that.

If you’re a new father you may be thinking that there isn’t time for you to worry about your problems because there is so much to do. The diapers, the piling paperwork, the work meetings and the list goes on…

However, your problem can quickly become your partners and your baby’s.

Maternal PPD is the strongest indicator of Paternal PPD. A study showed that the incidence of PPND during the first postpartum year ranged between 1.2% to 25% and increases to 24% to 50% among men whose partners were experiencing PPD. Evidence shows that the risk for negative parenting outcomes increases when both parents are depressed.

A wealth of research has identified significant associations between paternal depression and negative consequences for children’s health, wellbeing and development. Depressed fathers are less likely to bond with their children; avoiding playing outside and reading books with their baby meaning the baby has few healthy attachments to you. Your wife or partner will be affected by the illness and the stress placed upon her will in turn be passed on to the child.

PPND appears to have long-term effects on children. A study found paternal depression at 8 weeks postpartum to be strongly associated with psychiatric diagnosis in children at 7 years. 12% of children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, oppositional defiant/conduct disorder or any anxiety or depressive disorder had depressed fathers during the postpartum period compared with 6% of children whose fathers were not depressed.

Postnatal Depression is fully treatable and once treated will result in a fuller quality of life for you, a healthy relationship between you and your partner and a healthier child.

The full academic article outlining the effects on children is as follows:

Musser A, Ahmed A, Foil K, Codrington J, 2013, ‘paternal postpartum depression: what healthcare providers should know,’ Journal of Paediatric Health, Vol. 27, No.6, p. 479-485