We’ve all read about new moms experiencing postpartum depression but what is generally overlooked is paternal postnatal depression (PPND), the one your husband may be suffering from after the birth of your child.
You would expect your husband to be ecstatic after the arrival of your little bundle of joy and frankly, your husband will be looking forward to the same thing, but somethings in life are never what you expect them to be.
PPND is as real as it gets, most men are known to experience this during the first five years of their child’s life. It is only because people are unaware of a term to coin what they are feeling or that a thing such as paternal postnatal depression even exists, that this has not been brought into the limelight.
Anything and everything related to pregnancy is linked with hormonal changes in women, but did you know that your husband could be experiencing hormonal changes too?
It is observed that testosterone levels drop and estrogen levels increase in new dads (although there’s no explanation as to why). This, combined with the neurological changes that occur due to sleep deprivation can lead to depression among men. It might be financial problems, stress or just feeling like they’re unprepared to take care of a baby which increase the chances of your husband getting depressed after the birth of your child.
It is important to recognize the symptoms of PPND. If your husband has been feeling a little blue lately, then a day out with loved ones or getting a few extra hours of sleep should make him feel better. But if it’s the baby blues, not much can make the depression go away. In some men, this translates into violent or abusive behaviour so it’s essential to get the help of a professional before it’s too late.
So, although pregnancy is all about the woman who carried and nurtured the child in her womb for nine months and had to face unbelievable pain during birthing, you need to remember that your husband has a part to play in all of this too. Talk to him constantly about your feelings and reassure him that he’s not a ‘bad dad’. This will go a long way.