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.
The month of May is chosen by the Green Ribbon campaign as their month of promotion of their campaign to de-stigmatise mental health issues. Part of the month includes a National Time To Talk Day, where they encourage people to speak openly about their mental health and that of others. The campaign has run for a number of years now and from the statistics they report on their website, it seems to be an overwhelming success. This is the first year I’d heard of the Time To Talk Day, not that it’s stopped me speaking out before. I’ve spoken quite a bit about mental health and my experiences on this blog. You’re probably rolling your eyes and thinking “Here she goes again”. But why do I write about it so much? Why do I share my story?
In internet circles, I find myself surrounded by some of the most amazing inspiring people on a day to day basis. I interact with them in Facebook groups, on twitter, people I’ve never met in real life but have spoken to on a regular basis for the best part of a year. They are strong, courageous women (mostly) who have found themselves able to speak out about things that aren’t normally talked about; things considered taboo. Lately I’ve found myself wanting to say things in the same vein but have found myself afraid, not knowing exactly what to say, or how to say it, or whether I should say it at all. From authors who I really admire, the lovely Marian Keyes, to fellow parenting bloggers Karen and Suzy, these women have made me feel as if it is okay, which is exactly why I’m writing this now.