Dads are suffering from postnatal depression
Most of us have sympathy for mothers with postnatal depression, but did you know fathers are also at risk?
According to new research from Oxford University, new dads can also get the ‘baby blues’.
Dr Anna Machin from the university’s Department of Experimental Psychology surveyed 15 fathers over the course of eight months – starting just before the birth of their babies.
While the new dads seemed optimistic in the early stages, six of them showed symptoms of depression in the six months after the birth.
“There is increasing evidence that fathers do experience symptoms of postnatal depression,” Dr Machin told The Daily Mail.
“Other studies have suggested that the proportion could be between 4 and 10 per cent,” she said.
But why are dads suffering? The reasons vary, but a lack of quality time spent with their babies and increased financial pressures can play a role.
According to Dr Machin, new dads often experience “a tension between their need to provide and the wish to be at home”.
“Having a baby can also put a strain on marital relationships, especially if the couple is not working as a team,” she said.
The study also found some mothers were guilty of unconscious ‘maternal gatekeeping’, limiting fathers’ access to their children by taking over all care responsibilities.
Interestingly, it turns out fathers have science working against them as well, taking longer to bond with their children “because they do not have the ‘biochemical head start’ of pregnancy and breastfeeding”.”¨
The study highlighted the need for men to feel supported by health workers, who’re often focused solely on ‘mum and baby’.
At bh, we obviously love all new mums, but after hearing about fathers suffering from PND, we also promise not to forget the dads!
Did you know fathers could suffer from PND? Do you think we need to raise more awareness about it?
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