Most new Dads feel overwhelmed, and experience a bit of the baby blues in the first few months after their baby has been born. However, it turns out that a small percentage of Dads actually go on to develop post-partum depression, something which until now has mostly been documented in new moms.
In women, it’s well-known that post-natal depression is caused by fluctuating hormones, but what causes it in men? Well, it’s not hormonal changes, but rather a combination of the following – which are all very valid concerns:
- Fear of fatherhood or role anxieties
- Concerns about new responsibilities
- Loss of freedom
- Financial worries or stress over added expenses
Society tends to dictate that men shouldn’t express their fears or concerns – but keeping quiet can make it worse and increase pressure. Rather, men should be encouraged to talk to their partner, families and friends, as this can help put things into perspective and enable them to adjust better.
For some new Dads, the baby blues becomes something more serious – and depression sets in. But how are symptoms different? For starters, symptoms are much more severe, and they tend to persist. Typically, symptoms include:
- Suffering from anxiety and chronic fatigue
- Pre-occupation with finances
- Withdrawal from the family
- Sleeping too much or not enough
- Feeling irritable or angry
If any of these feelings last longer than a couple of weeks, then it’s time to see a doctor. Men who are depressed are also more likely to turn to short-term fixes – like working too hard, drinking more or taking drugs – which can quickly spiral out of control. Depression can be treated, so get help if you think you or your partner is suffering from it.
Remember, bringing a baby into the world is a big adjustment for the whole family – so everyone needs a little TLC!