A lot has been said about the postpartum condition of women. How women feel and what they undergo has been the topic of discussion everywhere. Family members take special care of mother and new born baby. They are always hounded by relatives and well wishers. But have we ever thought how do men feel when they become fathers Or do men also suffer from baby blues? Most of us do not know that paternal postpartum depression exists. In fact PPND or paternal post natal depression is a prevalent issue. Lack of awareness of this issue can cause marital strife and could be a reason of disharmony between couples.
A keen observation will show many cases of PPND around us. I witnessed one such case myself. A close friend delivered a baby. Everyone in the family, including the father, was happy. Eventually, as the baby turned 6 months, the father became a ‘sulking soul’. Since this family was very close to me and we bonded well emotionally I could see the difference and changes in his personality. Initially I named him ‘Saddy Daddy’ and he was an object of ridicule for everyone around. Saddy Daddy was in a perpetual state of dejection.
To give a clear understanding to readers I will explain how his behavior changed. Saddy Daddy was not like that always. Not long ago he was a charismatic, suave, party animal who believed in the idea of ‘eat ,drink and be merry’. He loved his gadgets and spent a good chunk of salary on online shopping of latest tech gizmos. He was fond of latest cars and invested in stocks. All in all he used to be an adventurous man who loved to take a plunge into anything and everything without even giving a second thought. He was an eternal foodie who relished eating scrumptious and mouth watering delicacies in up market restaurants.
Then what happened to him now. He is secluded, dull, stays in office for longer hours and feels his life is worthless.
The enigma won’t last long for readers. Some of you guessed it right. He has been conferred upon the title of ‘daddy’ after the arrival of little princess in the family. and swooooosh…..there is a complete U turn in no time. Yes, he is suffering from postpartum depression. It is a serious condition which needs attention. We always say that men are strong and our society does not give them the freedom to display their weakness. Men can’t cry- this is an accepted norm. All this further worsens their condition. Even men do not understand that they are suffering from a condition called postpartum depression. They tend to hide their feelings under a calm demeanor which does not help at all.
The common symptoms of Postpartum depression in men are-
- Lack of interest in everything
- Feeling worthless
- Change in appetite-Loss of appetite or binge eating
- Sleep disorders-Lack of sleep or over sleep
- In a state of despair and sulking all the time
- Change in personality and behavior- For example: difficulty in taking decisions, impulsiveness, violent behavior, unexplained aggression, withdrawal symptoms.
The degree and intensity of these symptoms varies in each case. In worst case, a man could even suffer from suicidal tendencies. Mostly, for a woman birthing, nursing and taking care of a child is a natural motherly instinct. But for a man adjusting to this new world of diapers, burp cloths and deafening cries might be overwhelming. Some men can’t switch roles instantly. They might accompany their wives for prenatal yoga classes or birthing classes, but can’t soak in the feeling of fatherhood naturally when it actually happens. From being a carefree lad to a responsible father means a lot. Suddenly there is a staggering load of responsibility on their shoulders.
Proactive and Reactive measures
We just need to give them a little more time, attention and recognition, which they truly deserve. Take him shopping, give him gifts or express your unconditional love to him. Leading a healthy lifestyle, exercising , avoiding excessive consumption of alcohol and caffeine can help one in staying fit. Women are not able to spend much time with their partners due to postpartum health issues and lack of time. An infant gets maximum attention and care from mother. In such a condition it is important to encourage your partner to socialize with friends and relatives. If the symptoms are lingering on for long then seeking an expert advice is recommended. In case there is a medical history of depression then one needs to be extra cautious.
Let’s all thank Saddy Daddy in our life and make him a little happy. He effortlessly plays the roles of the Superman and the Santa simultaneously. Three Cheers for our loving Daddy. Hip Hip Hurray!
He never looks for praises.
He’s never one to boast.
He just goes on quietly working
For those he loves the most
This post has already been published in http://www.mycity4kids.com/parenting/3cs-children-competition-and-compassion/article/saddy-daddy