Many women experience a major change when they bring their first baby home. Tasked with…
Dads Also Get Postpartum Depression
Depression, especially postpartum depression, isn’t often mentioned when talking about a pregnancy or a newborn baby. However, it’s a very real problem; one that is far more likely for parents who are between ages 15 and 24.
Postpartum depression isn’t just hitting mothers, according to Dr. Shoshana Bennett, clinical psychologist and author. She tells us that new dads can experience depression alongside the new mother. If the mom is experiencing postpartum depression, the new dad’s risk for depression leaps from about 10 percent to anywhere from 24 percent to 50 percent.
One new mother, Mary, experienced postpartum depression shortly after giving birth to her second child. Additionally, her husband was dealing with depression but didn’t want to seek counseling, which resulted in the eventual divorce of this young couple. Mary said that while she tried to ensure that her children weren’t affected by her depression, it was hard to know sometimes. Dr. Bennett says that children who grow up in a household with a depressed parent have a higher risk for a variety of behavioral issues, as well as problems in physical, verbal and cognitive development. If these risks aren’t enough, there is a higher likelihood that one’s child will become depressed, even before they reach age 15.
Because depression can and does affect others, it is important to recognize some of the signs and symptoms of the disease. If parents experience several of the following symptoms for longer than a two-week period, they could be suffering from postpartum depression:
– Experiences low self-esteem
– Feels hopeless, helpless, worthless
– Overly anxious, agitated or irritated
– Can’t sleep when baby is sleeping
– Worries a lot
– Excessive weight gain or loss
– Headache or stomachache
– Experiencing other symptoms that hinder her everyday life
Eighty percent of those who seek treatment (of any kind) see an improvement in their depression symptoms. Therapy, combined with antidepressants, tend to provide the greatest result. These therapies can include emotional support, examining and changing thinking and behavior and problem-solving. If you think you know someone experiencing depression, it is important to talk to them and encourage them to get some help. Let them know you care and will support them in getting the help they need to begin the journey of feeling like themselves again.