The State of Dad’s Mental Health
Historically, when we hear the term “Post-Natal Depression”, our children’s mothers will come to mind. On the contrary, “Postnatal depression is a type of depression that many parents experience after having a baby. It’s a common problem, affecting more than 1 in every 10 women within a year of giving birth. It can also affect fathers in the same matter” (NHS, 2018). When a woman gives birth to a child, her mind and body goes through many changes such as, physical, mental and psychological changes which are mostly associated with postpartum depression. Postpartum Depression is defined as follows; “postpartum depression is moderate to severe depression in a woman after she has given birth. It may occur soon after delivery or up to a year later. Most of the time, it occurs within the first 3 months after delivery” (Ryan James Kimmel, 2018). Treatment for both parents are a major priority. Both mother and father need a support system to help them through these trying obstacles during the beginning stages of parenthood.
When a child enters the world, it can be challenging for both parents to maintain their sanity. Fathers are susceptible to the same depressions and challenges that mothers face. However, the father’s struggles because our society historically has frown upon a man being too sensitive or a man assimilated nature to hide his feelings and emotions. In Society, a man is taught to be strong, to be the protectors; and showing emotions can be considered a sign of weakness. On the other hand, women are more likely to express her feelings and emotions. These trivial ideas need to change because the practice of unproven idealism can be devastating to our community particularly in our homes.
How Depression Affects Fathers
According to a 2010 data from 1993 to 2007, approximately 4% of fathers experience depression in the first year after their child’s birth. By a child’s 12th birthday, about 1 out of 5 (21%) fathers will have experienced one or more episodes of depression. Younger fathers, those with a history of depression, and those experiencing difficulties affording items such as a home or car were most likely to experience depression (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20819960).
What are the signs that mom or dad is dealing postpartum or post-natal depression?
- Feeling Helpless or Discouraged
- Feeling Anxious or Distressed
- Feeling Tired or Burned Out
- Having Sleep Problems
- Lack of Interest In Sleep
- Lack of Confidence
- Feeling Irritable or Annoyed/Easily Offended
- Feeling detached or unconnected to others
There are many dads that feel the same way as you are feeling right now – You are not alone! Be open and honest about your feelings and do not hide behind the famous sayings “I’m fine” or “I’m okay”. It is important that you as a man do not let your pride make you feel ashamed about you feelings – We are all human! Talk to someone you trust and avoid holding in feelings.
It is safe to say that our children are the most important human beings in our world. Keep in mind, your children need you in their lives; taking care of our children is a necessity, quality time is most important factor. The way to be the best father you can be is taking care of yourself, eat healthy and exercising daily. If we take care of ourselves, the mother and children will follow suit.
As A Village (Community), What Can We Do To Help
- Raise awareness:
Let fathers know that they are not alone. Remember, it takes a village.
- Make sure to ask the dads, are they doing OK (Dads be Honest!):
Let’s not assume dad is doing well because he is saying otherwise.
If a close friend or family member has children, ensure that they are aware that dad may need help!
- Join a community group for Fathers and children:
At www.AVILLAGEOFFATHERS.com , we strive to create conversation for fathers by fathers to help invoke better men and families.
What A.V.O.F. has to offer:
- Weekly Father 2 Father Instagram Live Chat)
- Events & workshops
Thank you and as always: It takes a Village!
Article was written by Derek Bernard (founder, AVOF) and Troy Hughey (AVOF Editor and Law & Political
Edited by Troy Hughey (AVOF Editor and Law and Law & Political Correspondent)