Moms and Dads
Postpartum Depression Affects Dads, Too!
Postpartum Depression can affect both moms and dads.
Men are not given as much leeway as women to open up about their mental health. With the existing premise about masculinity being reinforced, a lot of men or dads would try to laugh it off. But it does leave a lot of people wondering how authentic that laughter is. Is it a sign of a nervous breakdown or are they genuinely okay? How can postpartum depression show up in dads?
Diagnosis is rare.
Unfortunately, there’s no postpartum depression diagnosis for dads. A survey done at UT Southwestern Medical Center shows that Postpartum Depression happens in 1 out of 10 dads. That’s a lot of fathers! It’s more alarming when you realize that those who did the survey are only those who were brave enough to step forward. But what about those who are still trying to grapple with what they are feeling and thinking?
How does postpartum depression normally show in dads?
Dads who suffer postpartum depression show it in a variety of ways. From losing motivation, developing anxiety, and even increased irritability, dads often times take the humor route to hopefully mitigate the effects. But there’s a kind of humor known as self-deprecating humor. It’s humor that appears like humility but in reality, is actually putting oneself down.
We can also see this in the defensive deflection of compliments—one of the more common manifestations. Other forms include anxiety and self-loathing in the form of self-doubting. Stress eating is another common symptom.
How can we help dads fight off postpartum depression?
Helping dads get over their postpartum depression means doing what is considered “counter” in society which is to give them a lot of hugs and space. Sometimes, when dads don’t say anything, they’d like silence and company. So there’s not much to do except maybe sitting next to them until they’re ready to talk. At times, they’ll also find it hard to cry—which a good hug can help. If it’s no physical contact, some tea ought to help soothe the nerves so eventually, it creates a safe space to talk about their thoughts.
Dads need as much help as moms!
Moms and dads are partners in parenting. There’s no one who takes more load than the other. Working as a team means making sure that each other is okay. A short wellness check or even a day where both can go on JUNK mode can do the trick. It’s scary to leave the kids at home. But once they reach an age where they can at least not burn the house down then, slowly, it’s okay to make room for both mom and dad.