Having a baby is meant to be a very exciting time of your life. You have it all planned – when you will finish work, what music you will play at the birth, the way you’ll handle the pain and how you’ll deliver your baby – however sometimes things don’t go to plan and you feel like you are on an emotional rollercoaster, overwhelmed by exhaustion and distress. You may also be experiencing changes in appetite or weight, low self-esteem and lack of confidence, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, an inability to concentrate or growing indecisiveness, a lack of energy and difficulty in sleeping. Times are tough and your relationship with your partner is possibly feeling tense. “Oh my gosh, what just happened!” you may say. You were going along fine as a couple, but a new baby has just thrown a cat amongst the pigeons and your life now feels like it has been turned upside down!
The stats show that around 20% of fathers suffer depression and anxiety during the perinatal period (from pregnancy to one year after birth) and many parents find it difficult to reach out for help for a number of reasons. One of the reasons you may not be speaking up is because of the stigma associated with mental health problems. Another reason might be because at work you saw yourself, as did others as capable and in control, but now with a new baby this capacity is being challenged. As a result you may be experiencing a sense of failure or shame with the fact that you feel like you aren’t coping. This can be very confronting and the tendency is to try and do it all on your own. This only makes things worse!!!!!
The good news is perinatal anxiety and depression is a diagnosable condition and more and more people are reaching out for help and getting great results! What is being said is that the sooner you seek emotional support, the sooner you can start feeling good about yourself again and the more chance you have at really enjoying life and strengthening your relationship as a new family. Isn’t that what we all ideally want and dream of when we have a baby – a happy home, a fulfilled self and a happy partner? It is possible to have all that, so take action now and let’s talk before it breaks!!!!