When we hear the words “Post-Partum,” we are quick to associate it with depression in new moms. However, Post-Partum can actually affect new dads as well. In fact, research has found that 1 in 10 men experience Paternal Post-Partum Depression (PPD). With that being said, it is critical that we explore the various ways in which PPD can affect men, seeing as it may present itself differently than in women.
Here are 5 signs that you’re a dad whom may be struggling with Post-Partum Depression:
- Increased Anger. Are you filled with frustration? Do you feel like a ticking time bomb? Do you feel as if anything and everything could set you off at any given moment? Chances are this build-up of anger may be due to you feeling overwhelmed as a new parent. Think about it. Your routine has completely shifted, you are no longer only responsible for yourself, and odds are you are probably not getting enough quality sleep as well. Your fuse suddenly seems a lot shorter because you are struggling with all of these new stressors. You probably need an effective outlet for this pent-up anger.
- Overworking. Are you spending more time at work than usual? Does work feel like your only escape? Do you find yourself covering up your at home stress with added work obligations? Chances are you may be overworking yourself as a means of escaping your feelings of being overwhelmed as a new father. Just like beginning any other new job, parenthood can be stressful and leave you with many feelings of uncertainty as to whether you are qualified or truly doing a good job. This may lead to you pulling away as focusing your attention on a job where you feel comfortable and capable, however, at the expense of fulfilling your at-home obligations.
- Increased Use of Alcohol. Suddenly drinking more? Hiding alcohol at home or work? Are your friends/family commenting on your recent alcohol consumption? Chances are you may be drinking as an attempt to take away your stress related to your responsibilities at home. You may be covering up your frustrations, sadness, and/or guilt with alcohol to take your mind off of what you are experiencing. It is important to pay attention to this behavior, because it can quickly grow into a deep-rooted issue if not taken care of.
- Isolation from Friends and/or Family. Are you finding yourself pushing those away that are closest to? Do you find yourself feeling alone or wanting to spend more time to yourself? Chances are you may be distancing yourself because you’re experiencing some signs of depression. If prior to parenthood you enjoyed spending time with friends and family and since becoming a father doing so has become less appealing, this is something to watch out for. It may feel more safe spending that time alone out of fear of having to explain why you are feeling the way you do; however, it only pushes you more into loneliness in doing so.
- Conflict Between How You Believe you Should Feel as a Man. Are you feeling more emotional than usual? Feeling not like yourself? Are you afraid to tell someone about how you’re feeling because you’re ashamed by it? Chances are this is a great determinant that you are in fact experiencing PPD. You may be feeling incompetent in your role as a father, or unsure as to whether or not you are doing a good job as a parent. You may also be feeling sad because your life is suddenly different, and now your child is your main priority and your needs come after. You may feel ashamed that you are emotional or consumed in guilt and self-doubt. It is important to remind yourself that you are not alone in these thoughts/feelings, and that it is normal to be feeling the way you do.
If you want more support, you can see a therapist like me who specializes in helping clients with their PPD. Please contact me at 312.219.5721 or fill out the contact form on our contact page.