Paternal Depression – help for dads suffering & for those supporting their partners

I have posted a lot on my blog about my history & what happened when I had PND/PPD & what help I received at the time. I’ve posted the series on Postpartum Progress on those of us that formed a group when we were having another baby after our PPMD as well as Dad’s speaking out how they felt when their partners were in the eye of the storm. What I haven’t posted is about the help that is available for fathers that also suffer from PND/PPD, or what is widely known as Paternal Depression.

Although it’s not as common an occurrence than in mothers this mental illness doesn’t discriminate & can affect dad’s too. Dad’s suffering any form of PPMD are often overlooked as the focus is generally on the mother anywhere up to 12 months following the birth of her baby. Feeling disconnected, anxious over caring for their newborn baby & feeling removed from the events following the birth are often the triggers, however each case is different & cannot be pigeonholed.

I was reminded after a post on the #PPDChat FaceBook Support page that there is a lack of awareness & help for father’s is harder to find than for mother’s. So I’m posting a few places where help is available for dad’s & for them to know it’s ok not to be ok, help is out there & you are not alone.

PANDA have launched a website designed with Dad’s in mind. It’s called “How Is Dad Going?” (http://www.howisdadgoing.org.au/) and the purpose of the site is to provide a much needed resource for Dads as they adjust to the life of parenthood. 1 in 7 fathers will have a partner with post natal depression and 1 in 20 suffering from post natal depression themselves but currently there are very few places men can go to be informed and supported through this experience. This new website by PANDA is one of the first in the world to target men specifically and show them that support is available.

There is also another closed FB group for those supporting their partners suffering from a PPMD. This group provides support & resources for partners. To join this group, click here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/156314657856522/

Check this out: http://katiecouric.com/videos/how-postpartum-depression-affects-more-than-just-moms/

* PANDA: http://www.howisdadgoing.org.au

* PANDA: http://www.panda.org.au/practical-information/information-for-men

http://www.fathersreachingout.com

* Postpartum Men: http://postpartummen.com

* Postpartum Support International: http://www.postpartum.net

*Postpartum Progress: http://www.postpartumprogress.com/depression-in-men-a-dads-story-of-male-postpartum-depression#more-10046

* Spotlight on Dads in Science and Sensibility: http://www.scienceandsensibility.org/?p=4355

If anyone has any further information or wishes to add more support pages to visit, please post them below & I’ll update the listing above. Thanks in advance.

 




Comments

  1. Hi Yuz –
    Yes, the transition to parenthood, the self-image changes, the new real added responsibilities, the lack of natural supports can all collide. Absolutely I know of another great resource!
    I interviewed Dr. Will Courtenay for Science and Sensibility for Fathers Day:
    Spotlight on Dads, Part One: Paternal Postnatal Depression:
    http://www.scienceandsensibility.org/?p=4355
    Part Two: Paternal Postnatal Depression:
    http://www.scienceandsensibility.org/?p=4707
    http://www.mensdoc.com/
    thanks for bringing this important topic up!
    take care, Kathy

    • Paula says:

      It can be very difficult to seaparte the symptoms of grieving and post partum depression as they can show as being exactly the same sometimes. Both have changes in sleep patterns, appetite, emotional affect, energy, motivation, etc. I’ve had two miscarriages now, one at 20 weeks 18 months ago and one at 6 weeks gestation just 2 weeks ago. After my first loss, it took me an entire year to go back to work because my energy and concentration levels just weren’t there. I would sit for hours crying thinking about what could have should have been. I was medicated heavily at times to avoid thoughts of suicide to join my son. I ended up being committed for two weeks before I finally, thankfully, began to come out of the haze that is post partum depression combined with grief. Please know that you’re not alone. There are unfortunately many, many others who have walked in your shoes and have gladly made it through the other side.Grief is usually made up of a series of stages like denial, anger, and acceptance while post partum depression is experienced in a range of ways including sleep disturbances, inability to experience happiness or any other real emotion, frequent outbursts of sadness including tears, etc. The only real way to know what is what though is see a trained professional. It’s important to seek help immediately if you are having the following symptoms:suicideal ideationthoughts of harming yourself or otherssleeping less than 3 hours per day more than a few days in a rowdepression that lasts longer than 2 weekssymptoms that are effecting your day to day life such as inability to care for yourself or children, inability to work, etc.It doesn’t hurt to seek help only to find that you’re doing better than you thought you were. So therefore, if you’re questioning whether you should seek help, do it!! It won’t make the situation any worse than it already is as long as you get a competent and compassionate support person. I’d suggest reaching out to your family physician to start with and also local pregnancy and infant loss groups. It can help more than I could possibly describe to tell your story to a group of parents who understand and will not judge. I’ve been going to a local pregnancy loss support group for over a year. These parents are sometimes the only people I speak to about my experience. Sometimes I’m unable to speak at all because of the tears. But they understand and it’s okay to cry there.I understand having a fear and phobia of medications. I struggled tremendously before finally relenting to anti-depressant medications. I must admit that I tried several that did not work for me at all. Some made me worse, some made me a zombie, some made me sick to my stomach. But we kept trying until we have finally found one that works for me. The point is to keep trying and to be on as low of a dose as you can. There are sometimes more natural medications and ways to relieve depression including accupuncture that may be beneficial to you. Make sure you truly understand the risks and benefits of all treatment options before deciding one way or another.Drop me a line if you want to chat. Maybe I can help you find a group you could join in your local area or on facebook if you’re a member.Paula

    • Yousef says:

      Oh Kaye, I know exactly how you feel!! Please, plasee, plasee do not even consider making such a huge decision like leaving your husband right now. Any major decisions like that need to wait until you are feeling more together. I’d hate to have you make a huge change and look back and regret it after you’re feeling better. Because the truth is, you will begin to feel better one day. Choices like that should only be made with a clear mind and a heart that is able to focus on what it wants and needs. Of course, the only exception to this is if there is violence involved. Then you need to get yourself somewhere safe immediately.I’m so sorry that I haven’t answered you sooner. I too am struggling after having a second miscarriage 4 weeks ago. Feel free to private message me on my email at and perhaps I can give you some guidance as where you can go for support where you are located. There are many groups of moms out there who have lost babies before birth. I have found it very difficult to talk at these meetings but sometimes helpful just to sit and listen. These are the only real people in the world who will understand your pain. People do not understand what it’s like to lose a unborn child unless they have done it themselves. And the subject is completely taboo and insiginificant to the general population for some unknown reason.It’s very difficult to deal with friends who are pregnant (or even strangers) when your loss is so new. One of my closest friends and I had the same due date and now she’s still preggers and I am not. She doesn’t understand my difficulties and feels like she can complain to me about her pregnancy woes like I’m so tired or I hate feeling like this. These kinds of comments are completely breaking me apart and I’ve decided, unfortunately, that I need to distance myself from her. Sometimes that’s the only choice.Please realize that there are people that care and understand your thoughts and feelings. Reach out for help from me or even better, your family doctor or local pregnancy loss group. The hospital that preformed your D&E should have social workers that could hook you up with a group. There are social workers that deal specifically with pregnancy loss issues that are extremely helpful. You’re in my thoughts. Know that you will never get over this loss. However, you can integrate it into your life and develop a new normal way of living. There can and will be good times, smiles and laughter in your future. All you have to do is reach out for help to the right people!Paula

  2. This is an awesome list, Yuz. Thank you for all that you do! 🙂