This is entirely true- postpartum is real, even for fathers. Usually, we talk about various complications and problems faced by mothers after they bring the little bundle of joy into this world. This is absolutely right and worth giving importance. After all, mothers have to get their belly cut or face those severe labor pains to keep the child healthy. While the main attention is on the mother, fathers also face some sort of postpartum stress, studies suggest. In this article, we shall look at this overlooked aspect of family planning and baby delivery.
What exactly is postpartum for fathers
When a new member of the family arrives at home, there are celebrations and blessings in the air. The new little one brings with him a sense of joy and smiles. However, there might be some negative changes in the behavior to the fathers. This can lead to postpartum depression. Fathers are usually anxious and thrilled on the baby’s arrival. They may also notice elation and fear. This usually happens due to fathers failing to take up the role of being a father. Believe it or not, becoming a parent is not an easy job. While mothers get this feeling from the moment they get pregnant, fathers usually feel it in practicality when the baby comes out. This means that they have little chance to adapt to the new job which can cause postpartum depression.
Without you knowing, the depression associated with postpartum in fathers can lead to serious consequences.
This is not only bad for the man himself but more importantly for the baby too. The most dangerous thing about this type of problem is that fathers can take a long time to disclose their problems, experts suggest. They can even take months to face the truth that they are not capable of being good fathers and facing depression. The feeling of despair and disconnectedness with the baby and even wife can prolong if not attended to in a professional manner.
Various depression specialists suggest that understanding the obsessive negative thoughts can help counter the depression. Some also suggest the use of cognitive therapy. While these are professional methods, there are some more that can prevent the onset of depression in the first place. But even going to those shores, let’s know why the depression does take a toll on the mind of a father mentally:
There are many factors that can contribute to new to be fathers and can affect their family’s’ status and their own health. Some of the valid and common reasons are listed below:
- The foremost reason is the unplanned baby. Many parents are not prepared for the arrival or conception of the baby. While mothers do adopt the planning option and decision, the father takes time and may fall into depression more easily
- Various fathers who have a personal history of depression can easily become prey of postpartum as it comes with huge work responsibility and a sense of being more than just a companion but caretaker as well
- If someone has a history of family depression, then postpartum stress can be seen
- Fathers often worry about being a parent. They worry about the increased financial expenses, the increased work to be done daily, the management of things and taking care of the child. This can lead to depression
Some families force expectations for fathers and make them realize that they have to do more things than they usually do. This is not good and can lead to depression. Feeling overwhelmed with the expectations can be harmful
- With the arrival of baby, expenses increase to a greater extent. You have to spend money on diapers, daily needs, wipes, clothes, bottles, and formula milk. Also, fathers think more than mothers about future expenses such as school or college fees, etc. This can lead to depression.
- When as a father, you are alone and do not have any support of family, friends or relatives, you can get depressed. This usually happens in families who are living alone and do not wish to trust anyone, which is not a good cause.
- If someone is facing a stressful situation with his spouse, then becoming a father can be a tormenting experience. Many couples face family issues and fight over certain things. This adds to the problems when someone becomes a father.
- Many men miss the type of attention they require to keep up their spirits in the family. This can be related to personal physical life or social or family life. Not getting enough love or care from family members can also be a reason
- Mothers can take up the pressure and stress of birthing. But what about men? Though they have to sit and wait, they face an immense amount of stressful hours too. They worry about the health of not just babies but mothers too. Some fathers aren’t sure what to do in such critical situations and can face depression easily
Babies are little souls that know no rules of our society. They sleep and wake up in irregular patterns. While this is common and an important part of their journey to grow up, some fathers can become disturbed due to such behavior. Studies suggest that many fathers face sleepless nights due to the baby’s feeding schedule. They take the duty as stress and fall prey to depression.
- Another rare yet important reason is that the baby and mother bond can make father insecure. This is visible in cases where two couples love each other and after the arrival of the baby, the father is not getting enough attention as the mother is not able to give time to the father. This can lead to anxiety.
Certain individuals, especially men face different symptoms in a different manner. Here are some to look forward to:
- An elevation in temper and more conflict with family members or strangers than usual
- Increase in use of alcohol or smoking. This also includes an increase in the use of prescription medicines such as anti-anxiety or anti-depressants
- Showing signs of weird and unexpected behavior. This includes a calm person becoming angry too often and furious on certain small issues
- Showing physical and violent behavior without any reason. This syndrome needs attention and the person should be taken to psychiatrists as soon as possible
- Depression is a sure shot sign of weakness and a lack of good health. A person who is declining in weight or inner health might be facing depression. Factors like blood sugar levels or blood pressure might also increase or decrease in such cases.
- Staying isolated from friends or family members is a common sign to look for. Staying inactive in functions, remaining absent-minded when the baby is playing or simply ignoring conversations can also be a syndrome.
Impulsive in taking the risk in daily activities. This is an important syndrome to look for. Various instances include driving recklessly or extramarital affairs.
- Feeling discouraged or demotivated in life. This can also be associated with developing suicidal thoughts
- Increasing in various issues or complaints about healthy such as headaches, pain in the throat, gas problems or fever
- Lack of motivation of concentration at work. This also affects the performance in occupational life.
- Lack of interest or willingness to pursue hobbies. This can also include being distracted from work, sexual matter or hobbies
- Working without interruption and stressing yourself
- Feeling a sense of sadness or emotion when faced with a baby’s birth. Unable to control emotional behavior.
Treatment and precautions
Postpartum is real even for fathers but it is not something that is not treatable. Even more, it can be avoided in the first place. Here are a few tips to follow:
- The ideal way to prevent is to be ready for fatherhood. This includes setting your mind and foreseeing your future as a baby. You may prepare well in the nine pregnancy months for the upcoming challenges so that they did stress you out
- Start building a plan with your spouse. This might include the financial aspects of growing a baby. It also includes medical care and expenses when the baby arrives. You should not only prepare yourself physically but emotionally as well. You should be ready to take up challenges such as
- Sleepless nights
- Spending more than you can expect, while keeping a buffer
- More physical work such as holding a baby for long hours or playing with him even if you are tired
- Helping your wife feed the baby
- Learning new things related to the baby such as changing clothes, massaging, bathing, and feeding
- More trips to the nearby market for fulfilling the requirements of the baby
- Accustom to a baby crying
- Getting familiar to baby’s poo and cleaning it when required
- Maintaining hygiene in the house and keeping things organized even after the baby’s arrival
Scheduling doctor’s appointment by taking out time from your busy schedule
- Keeping track of vaccination
- Staying in touch with people that matter such as child specialists, a counselor or gynecologist
- Making your spouse and baby happy emotionally and physically
- You should learn how to understand the nature of the baby. Most healthy babies follow the same pattern. They start eating by 6 months and learn to stand by an ear. By gaining knowledge about this first hand can help expect the unexpected.
- You should spend more time with the baby to get familiar with the little one’s nature and habit. This is a great process of building a bond with the baby. When you start loving your baby you won’t feel pressurized to do his work which will avoid depression
- Prepare yourself for the upcoming tasks first hand. For instance, you can prepare for a doctor’s visit and baby shopping a week earlier. This helps in making things possible and easier as your mind remains prepared for the upcoming challenges. You will know that you might have to work hard and in the end, you will be rewarded with good behavior and patience.
- You can learn the ethics of dealing with pressurized situations. Activities such as yoga or meditation help in collecting strength to deal with anxiety and related behaviors.
When you face the syndromes of postpartum depression, you can change your routine, wake up early, go for a jogging session and may even indulge in dancing sessions. These relieving activities for just an hour a day will help you feel rejuvenated
- Talk to your partner about taking turns of work so that one of you doesn’t get stressed. For instance, you can make the baby sleep with you while your spouse gets good sleep and she can do this the other day. This doesn’t take a toll on a single partner and helps in distributing the risk
- It is always good to talk to your friends or family members about the feelings you have. If you are feeling depressed, you should take the advice of elders. Talking to the family also works well if you are preparing for the baby’s arrival. You can even practice taking care of the baby if you have a newborn in the family.
- Lastly, remain positive with your wife about how things are going and will proceed. She might be facing more stress along with physical pain after birth. If you go into depression, she might feel worst. Hence, you need to be strong and stay with her to give her strength to further raise a happy kid.
Postpartum stress is something that can be avoided in the first place. It is not a syndrome but a way of seeing things. When a baby is born, you can accept the fact with smiles on the face or with sorrows of depression. Out of these two, smiling and then working hard to make everyone happy is the right way to go. It is beneficial not for others, but for your own well being. And if you believe you are facing depression, there is never late to see someone who can help you. Always stay true to your spouse and share your problems and feelings about the situation to her. She can help you get on the right track and show you the right way. Try to remember that postpartum is real even for fathers but it is always curable and avoidable.