You may have heard about post-natal depression in women, but did you know that new fathers also experience depression? It is estimated that 1 in 10 new dads struggle with depression following the birth of their baby. Anxiety is thought to be as common and many men experience may experience both anxiety and depression.
Being a father has changed so much and you now are expected to be much more hands on than your own father was. This brings wonderful moments to connect with your baby, but also the additional pressure to provide financially. Dads often need to balance work and family, and you may sometimes feel you have to be both protector and nurturer. The biggest risk factor for a new dad becoming depressed or anxious, is a partner with post-natal depression. Other risk factors for new dads include a previous history of depression or anxiety, relationship problems, being a first time father, having an irritable baby, and feeling incompetent as a parent.
Some of the signs of post-natal depression in men are:
- tiredness, headaches and pain
- irritability, anxiety and anger
- loss of libido
- changes in appetite
- feelings of being overwhelmed, out of control and unable to cope
- a tendency to take risks
- changes to sleep patterns, especially a lack of sleep
- feelings of isolation and disconnection from partner, friends or family
- withdrawal from intimate relationships and from family, friends and community life
- increased hours of work as a part of the withdrawal from family
- using alcohol and/or drugs or working longer hours to cope.
When these symptoms begin interfere with your ability to relate to your partner or cope with life, then it’s time to seek help. There is no need to struggle with depression or anxiety, as these issues can negatively impact you, and your relationship and your baby. If either you or your partner feels that you may be suffering post-natal depression, then contact me now to find out how I can support you and your relationship. Let’s talk before it breaks.