Many of us have heard plenty of stories about women experiencing postpartum depression. This condition is said to affect one in nine new mothers. But many would not be knowing about paternal postpartum depression. PPND may be experienced by men after a child is born. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, about 10% of new fathers in the world suffer from this depression and it is mostly seen in younger men. A 2014 study published in Pediatrics found that this problem increases by 68% during the first five years of a baby’s life. If not detected in the early stages, one is likely to suffer from chronic depression.
Reason for PPND
According to a Kolkata-based gynaecologist and IVF specialist, Dr Indranil Saha, the lack of knowledge for raising a child, excessive crying by the baby, over-responsibility, wife’s inability to understand the man and the relationship between husband and wife are some of the factors that are responsible for PPND in men. Also, while new mothers are quickly able to bond with the new-born, often fathers take some time and during that process, a few consider themselves as outsiders. Other factors include relationship instability in the past, financial problems or stress and a sick or premature baby.
The symptoms of paternal postpartum depression are severe and last long. Those suffering from this issue often experience sadness, irritability, agitation and worthlessness.
If identified in the early stage, PPND can be treated at home with some simple steps. Research shows that talk therapy is very effective in treating any kind of depression. Saha also advises to have proper meals on time and exercise regularly. It is very important to have a complete night’s sleep. If the baby’s cry does not let you sleep at night, you should take some sleep during the daytime. It has been seen that men who experience depression immerse themselves in their work. However, overworking can alleviate the problem. It is also important to distance yourself from alcohol and other addictions. If you can leave your child with your wife or any other family member for some time, go for a walk alone and try focusing on your inner thoughts. A walk with oneself helps hugely in clearing the mind. If neither of the remedies works, the gynaecologist says it is important to visit a psychologist and seek professional help in the matter before it becomes worse.