Sad dad, mad dad?

By admin
22 October 2013

Parenting blogger Meg Faure talks about whether dads get post-natal depression too. It’s a good question – moms always get all the focus but what about dads?

I was fascinated by a talk last week on whether dads get post-natal depression too. It’s a good question – moms always get all the focus but what about the dads?

The talk was part of the annual PNDSA AGM – PNDSA is the post-natal depression association of South Africa – an amazing organisation that provides the most incredible support for women suffering from depression and anxiety after childbirth.

The evidence shows that men do get symptoms of depression and do suffer much like women do after the birth of their baby. At least two of the contributing factors to post-natal depression affect men – sleep deprivation and loss of self (or the massive shift of becoming a parent). So it stands to reason that if a man suffers the same factors, he too could suffer post-natal depression.

Yet when we look at the stats, men appear to suffer less than woman. I believe there are two reasons for this:

Firstly men are “copers” and don’t like to admit that things are tough. Society places undue pressure on men to be strong and not to buckle under pressure. For this reason, to admit that things are tough, maybe even too tough to manage, would be seen as a weakness. So men keep quiet.

The second reason we don’t see post-natal depression as much in men is that when they are wobbling, they don’t get sad – they get mad. They get angry, aggressive and irritable. But really, silently they too are suffering.

Becoming a new mom or dad is tough – tougher than anyone tells you. And it takes a special parent to reach out and look for support. My advice to parents is not to suffer alone. Post-natal depression is dangerous – for you and even more so for your baby’s emotional development.

If you think you may be suffering – don’t be sad, don’t be mad and certainly don’t be silly (keeping it all bottled up) – reach out. Check out the PNDSA amazing website – there is a simple checklist you can do to see if you are battling with PND.

– Meg Faure

Meg is an occupational therapist with a special interest in treating fussy babies and those with sleep problems. She brought the Baby Sense brand to life in 2005 and is the owner of the company Baby Sense, for which she develops innovative baby products.

Meg co-authored the bestsellers Baby Sense (published in 2002, new edition 2010) and Sleep Sense (published in 2007) with Sister Ann Richardson. She wrote Feeding Sense (published in 2010) with dietician Kath Megaw and Dr Simon Strachan, and her fourth book, Your Sensory Baby, was published in May 2011.

Meg has also developed a collection of innovative Baby Sense products based on her Sensible Sensory Parenting principles outlined in her books.

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