As the celebrations of Father’s Day are over for another year, it might be timely to check in to see how your partner or friends who have recently welcomed a baby are going.
Postnatal depression doesn’t just affect sleep-deprived mums, it also affects around 1 in 10 dads.
How postnatal depression can affect fathers
A number of factors can contribute to dads coping, or not coping, with the demands of becoming a new parent.
For men, the key to staying healthy is to try to balance work and home and the many changes related to their baby’s arrival.
Feelings of inadequacy and uncertainty combined with stress, sleep deprivation, new responsibilities and changing relationships, all contribute to how dads cope with becoming a parent.
Simple questions you can ask your partner or a friend are, “How’s fatherhood treating you?’ and “How are you managing work and home?” plus offering your help and support are excellent ways to encourage a conversation about their experience as a new parent.
Signs and symptoms of perinatal anxiety and depression in new dads
- Increased alcohol or drug use
- trouble focusing at work or wanting to work more
- detachment from their partner or baby
Male callers to our National Helpline often express a sense of hopelessness and don’t want to burden their partner’s with their own feelings.
We encourage an open dialogue with partners, but we understand that feeling of “walking on eggshells” – and that’s why we want men to check in on each other and know when to call for help.
Providing the best care for your baby also means remembering your own wellbeing. You need to eat well, rest and have breaks. There is no need to suffer alone.
3 ways new dads can look after themselves and keep healthy
- Recognise this is an important life transition – and give themselves time to adjust.
- Try to create a balance between work and home.
- Eat well, rest when they can and try to get some exercise as well.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with perinatal anxiety or depression, call PANDA’s free National Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Helpline on 1300 726 306. The helpline operates Monday to Friday from 9am to 7:30pm EST.