Recently a few of my fellow twitter friends and I started a twice a month twitter chat on mental health using the hashtag #endthesilence. The last chat fell on May 11th, and being Mother’s Day the chat was appropriately about postpartum depression. As always I do a bit of fact finding prior to the chat, so I have some information and resource links to share during the chat.
I consider myself pretty knowledgeable about parenting, I mean I have more than 18 years experience, have spent thousands of hours volunteering at my kids’ schools, and often find myself acting as a confidant and adviser to other parents.
So you can imagine my surprise when I started finding posts, resources and links about postpartum depression in dads. I had never heard of such a thing. I know new dads are stressed and sleep deprived too, so it makes perfect sense that this would impact their mental health. The numbers are not insignificant, which means there must be thousands of men who suffer in silence.
If I didn’t know about it, how many first time dads are suffering alone, thinking they are the only one experiencing this? How many second time, and third time dads are questioning themselves, because they are suffering from postpartum depression this time, but didn’t with previous births. How many have no idea there are resources available to them.
Each birth, and the circumstances around it is different, as is how the addition of a child impacts the family dynamics. How many men are embarrassed to admit they are suffering from postpartum depression, because they believe it is only Moms effected by this, or they think they will be judged. Sadly, stereotypes about what is “manly” are alive and well.
Here is the thing:
Everyone benefits from both parents being healthy and happy, both physically and mentally. So having the facts, support and resources for both parents just makes sense. Don’t wait to see if someone you know develops postpartum depression, share these and other resources, posts and links you have now, so they and those around know the signs, and are prepared should postpartum depression become an issue for either parent.
Now that we know better, we need to do better at supporting and promoting mental health.
Some Resources for Men:
CMHA – Canadian Mental Health Association