Paternal Mental Health
You were looking forward to becoming a father, but since you brought home your little one you just haven’t felt like yourself.
You feel tired all the time. Your partner may have told you how irritable you’ve been. The two of you have had more than your fair share of arguments and spats lately.
You just feel overwhelmed. There doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day.
You’re also not getting out or enjoying the things you used to. They just don’t hold the appeal that they did before.
It’s not unusual for new fathers to find themselves dreading going home or even opting to work longer hours.
You’re not alone. Postpartum depression was once thought to only affect women, but research has shown that this time period can bring about depression and anxiety in men as well. This is often referred to as Paternal Postnatal Depression, or PPND.
What the heck is PPND?
Because men aren’t able to actually give birth, they technically can’t have postpartum depression. That’s why they’ve coined the term postnatal depression- which simply means it occurs after the birth of a child.
PPND has been shown to affect up to 1 in 10 men. Even if you don’t have PPND, you may be one of the 1 in 4 men who experience some symptoms of depression and/or anxiety after the birth of a child- with a peak between 3 to 6 months after birth. If your partner has PPD, there’s a 50% chance that you will experience depression or anxiety as well.
Becoming a parent presents unique challenges to individuals and couples. It’s not just about hormones (though a man’s hormones actually do change in response to a partner’s pregnancy). And if you have a history of struggling with depression or anxiety, it’s likely to rear its ugly head during this time.
Other Common Concerns
Having a child changes a man’s perspective- on himself, on life, and on the world. It’s not unusual for men to struggle with finding a balance between who they were and who they have become.
Being a father is a huge responsibility. We strive to provide for and protect our families- the weight of which can be overwhelming when shouldered alone. This can lead to an increase in worrisome thoughts:
“What happens if I lose my job?” “What if something bad happens to me… or the baby?” “What if I hurt the baby?”
This whirlwhind of worrisome thoughts can impact your ability to sleep or even focus at work.
Many men also report a lack of connection with their new baby. They feel distant and then guilty because they don’t feel how they thought they would or should feel.
You may even feel jealous or resentful of the bond that your partner has with the baby. It’s not unusual to feel unneeded or unwanted at times- like it doesn’t even matter if you’re even there. (Psst- it does.)
Counseling Can Help
I work with new and expectant fathers to help them overcome their worry and overwhelm so they can bond with their babies, reconnect with their partners, and lead fulfilling lives both at home and at work.
Counseling isn’t reserved for the “crazies,” and it doesn’t mean that you are mentally ill. Sometimes we encounter new challenges and need to acquire new skills to overcome them. (Heck, even the Pope has been in therapy.)
Have questions? Not sure if counseling is right for you? Great!
Schedule your free consultation online 24 hours a day. Pick a time that works for you, and we will discuss what you have been experiencing, talk about your treatment options, and determine what is the best fit for you.
There is no pressure and no obligation. I want you to get the help you need and deserve, even if it's not with me.