Much of the conversation about postpartum mental health revolves around the woman, the mother. Her body hasn’t been her own for the guts of a year, hormone levels are all over the place, and sleep levels are minimal. The conversation about postpartum depression centres around the mother’s mood and pressure applied to her. It’s a much needed conversation – 1 in 7 women are affected by PostPartum depression, and those are the reported figures. Many women suffer in silence from shame, from fear of the consequences for their family, from simply hoping it will go away. However, despite the conversation being all about the mothers, there is increasing evidence that it affects the fathers almost as much. We need to start talking about Paternal PostPartum Depression.
Almost a year ago, I started writing a piece for this blog that I wasn’t sure about writing but knew it had to come out. It wasn’t something I was ashamed of, as such, or something I thought was wrong. I was perfectly happy with the anonymous people of the Internet knowing it, it was the not so anonymous faces of friends, family and other internet friends who I wasn’t so enamoured with knowing my “secret”. I sent it to my best friend and got the mister to read over it, to check that the wording was okay, that it wasn’t “too honest” and that I wasn’t making an absolute idiot of myself. In a way, I was looking for their seal of approval that it was okay to write this piece, to tell anyone who read my blog that I wasn’t finding life so easy, that I had been diagnosed with postnatal depression. A year on it seems on one hand crazy that I put so much time overthinking it, but on the other it seems completely justifiable and even now like something I should do. (more…)