Let’s talk about PND in both Mothers & Fathers - the stats and how to look out for the signs.
Today is world suicide prevention day and to help spread awareness I want to discuss PND in mothers AND fathers.
50% of mother experience the baby blues, from day 3 and it has usually passed by day 7. However 15-20% (and this number is always rising) of mothers experience some degree of postnatal depression. This can start during pregnancy, straight after birth or up to a year after. As many as 1 in 10 dads are affected with post natal depression also and of the fathers with depressed partners, 24% to 50% experience depression themselves.
This is a crisis.
PND often goes unnoticed or undiagnosed. How do you know when it’s more than the baby blues? How can you recognise PND in your loved ones?
Being a parent can be beyond overwhelming and I think it is good for both mums & dads to work on helping themselves as well as baby. I strongly believe that happy parents make happy babies so you are just as important.
When suffering with postnatal depression or anxiety it can become all consuming and you may feel like no one can help you. It’s good to remember that even though you may feel alone, there are people out there that want to help you, whether it be family, friends or specialised organisations that can help.
New dads can become depressed for many of the same reasons as mums can - feeling overwhelmed, the responsibility, financial pressure, tiredness and if mum suffers from PND too.
Common symptoms to look out for can include:
fear, confusion, helplessness and uncertainty about the future
withdrawal from family life, work and social situations
frustration, irritability, cynicism and anger
negative parenting behaviours
alcohol and drug use
physical symptoms like indigestion, changes in appetite and weight, diarrhoea, constipation, headaches, toothaches and nausea.
If you feel like this and want to try and figure it out on your own first before speaking to someone, then try these - Please note, it is always important to try and talk to someone, even while you are trying out any of these self help strategies.
Go to bed early. You need to rest. Sounds like an obvious one but you would be surprised how many sleep deprived parents still stay up late.
Eat well. Low blood sugar levels can really affect mood changes and anxiety so try and keep a well balanced diet. Avoid too much sugar and alcohol as they can make your depression and anxiety worse.
Accept help. Ask your partner for time outside of being a dad, she will understand. She needs the break too.
Treat yourself. Simple things like retail therapy or watching the footie while the other watches baby then alternate.
Exercise. A simple thing like taking a walk can help clear anxiety or stress. It releases endorphins which help improve your mood. My husband relies on running to keep his sanity.
Have realistic expectations. You have a healthy baby, you are already doing an amazing job. Try not to put pressure on yourself.
Keep a diary. Writing down all your fears and worries can really help release any inner rage or sadness, it helps to clear the mind.
Focus on the positive. Be kind to yourself and do not overcommit. Family and friends will understand.
Talk. It is so important to try and talk to someone. You could speak to a counsellor, your GP, a health visitor, support groups or family & friends.
Please know that if it all feels a bit too much then I strongly encourage you to speak to your GP or one of the amazing organisations listed below -
APNI (Assocation for Postnatal Illness)
0207 386 0868
020 8519 2122
0300 330 0700
The Lullaby Trust
0808 802 6869
Remember PND doesn’t last forever and you will recover. You will have good days and bad days, however eventually you will have more & more good days and feel yourself getting better.
All of my packages come with post-natal depression support so if you feel the lack of sleep is affecting you, I am here to help all aspects of this journey.
Find out more about Sleep by Alexandra
Sleep by Alexandra helps your family sleep better so you can enjoy more time together. Alexandra Collingbourne is a sleep consultant specialising in safe, holistic methods of getting your baby, toddler or young child to sleep in a way that empowers parents to live better, happier and with more energy. Specialist postnatal depression & anxiety support is also available for those who need it.
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