After a nine-month waiting period, baby has arrived. Now what? Sleepless nights and the inexplicable crying of a newborn throws all sense of logic out the window, what new parents are left with is complete and utter mental and physical exhaustion. Although less recognized, it is now proven that postpartum depression and anxiety aren’t just for moms, but dads as well.
Parenting a newborn can be daunting for both moms and dads. The joyful experience can quickly become overwhelming under the demands of new baby and the consequential changes in your relationship with your partner. Men are sometimes averse to showing emotion, but they can feel frustration, irritability, and might feel angry and became discouraging to their partner, or in extreme cases, can even engage in domestic violence.
Top 6 Tips About Paternal Postpartum Depression & Anxiety
1. It’s no joke; PPD (paternal postpartum depression) is alarming. The negative impact is on the whole family. From a deteriorating relationship with your partner to feeling helpless with your newborn. A depressed father is most likely disengaged with a negative parenting behavior. The studies showed that depressed fathers are 4 times more likely to spank their one-year-old infant, and less than half as likely to consistently read to their 1-year-old child, leading to less expressive vocabulary development in children. A father with PPD has a harmful effect on his children’s early behavioral and emotional development up to the age of preschoolers, especially on sons, and most noted as behavioral symptoms (conduct and hyperactivity). When both fathers and mothers are depressed, their children are at higher risk of behavioral impairment.
2. It’s no disgrace, get involved. It is not only a mom‘s job. Take some time to take care of your baby. Get involved from day one. The benefits are countless. You are keeping mom sane while learning to be a dad. You are building a strong rapport with your child. Your involvement is even more important when your partner is coping with depression.
3. It’s not childish, play with your little buddy. Babies learn from the early moments. Their language is easy: cries, giggles, and funny body gestures. Be a child, play peek-aboo, sing and talk to them. Babies consider everything a toy, including you. Don’t miss those joyful moments
4. It’s no embarrassment, stay connected. Try to reach out to your partner. And keep on trying! Listen, talk and share your feelings and thoughts. Try together to redesign your life aspects from the simple household tasks to managing stresses and lack of sleep. Lower your expectations. Don’t expect a smooth road, sometimes things will get out of control. It’s ok to get a bit messy.
5. It’s not egotistic, get some fans. A proud partner will be around when she feels your involvement. It’s ok to share your positive parenting role among close relatives and get some cheers. It is ok to accept help from trusted friends. Develop your support system.
6. It’s not selfish, TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF! Your mental health is critical. Take time to relax and do things that you enjoy. Exercise and eat healthy. If possible, try to take some time off work.