6 steps to beating new-dad baby blues

It’s not just new mums who fall victim to postnatal depression, new dads do, too! Try these stress-busting tips.

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Welcoming a new addition to the household can be daunting for both mum and dad — you’re your baby’s lifeline in the first few years. The pressures of caring for a newborn may cause postnatal depression (PND) in some new mothers.

Yet, postnatal depression isn’t just a woman’s problem. Gleneagles Hospital psychiatrist Dr Lim Boon Leng notes that this term can also be used when fathers fall into depression following their babies’ births.

A recent New Zealand study found that new dads who were stressed out, in poor health or no longer in a relationship with the child’s mother were at higher risk of depression. PND is more likely to affect first-time dads (and mums) in the first year of their child’s life. Young dads in their 20s are more likely to become depressed, especially if their partner has PND.

Dr Lim notes, “While there are no official statistics on depression of such nature in Singapore. Overseas studies have suggested that it may be as high as 10 per cent.”

 

“Men also tend to seek help only when their condition is severe, for example when they are feeling suicidal.”

 

Yet, awareness of postpartum depression in men is lacking. Dr Lim explains that it could be because a man’s role in parenthood is perceived to be less stressful and secondary to that of women. As all the attention is paid to the new mother and baby, her spouse’s well-being is frequently neglected. “Society defines men as pillars of support and often neglects men’s mental health as a whole.”

Depression symptoms in new dads ― similar to those in women ― may be evident during pregnancy or following their baby’s birth. Dr Lim lists the signs:

-          Disturbed sleep.

-          Loss of appetite and weight.

-          Fatigue.

-          Suicidal thoughts.

While women are more likely to seek help from others, men often seek solace in alcohol and drugs. Dr Lim points out, “Men also tend to seek help only when their condition is severe, for example when they are feeling suicidal.”

 

Discover how to avoid feeling depressed… Next!