The author of this document is a husband, father of three and highly qualified classroom practitioner. With 18 years experience of teaching in both secondary and primary schools, as well as private tutoring, Adam has a wealth of experience to share with new dads, single dads, experienced dads and dads who just need a bit more guidance.
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Postnatal depression The private tutoring industry has no regulations, tutoring agencies self-regulate, so anyone can become a tutor. It is the one industry where workers can have contact with children without any previous checks. This is my guide to finding a safe and competent private tutor.
1 in 10 dads will suffer from depression
More than 1 in 10 dads will suffer with depression at some point in their lives. There will be many dads who struggle to bond with their new born babies and this often leads to anxiety, despair, anger and even aggression. My own experiences have shown that there is little support or even acknowledgement of men with postnatal depression, also know as postpartum depression (PPD).
I hope by sharing my experiences that you will be able to seek support from trained professionals and reach out to those around you for support:
other new dads who you may have met in parenting groups;
trusted friends and family members;
The first step is admitting to yourself you are struggling and that these feelings are normal, expected and can be worked through. There are an estimated 629, 134 men suffering with depression.
“It is an illness, it takes time to get well but, there is a cure.”
“You are not alone. There is support”
10 Facts About Dads With Postnatal Depression
1. Dads can and do experience depression within the first year after birth
The number of men who become depressed within in the first year after becoming a dad is about 1 in 3. First time dads are particularly vulnerable . One in ten dads-to-be will also become depressed during their partner’s pregnancy.
2. Postnatal depression in men often goes unnoticed.
Research shows that postnatal depression in men generally occurs three to six months after the birth. Just as with mums, postnatal depression in dads is often undiagnosed. The symptoms look and feel much like stress. It affects people differently but can include; constant tiredness; despair; short temper; anger; aggression; prolonged feelings of sadness; loss of appetite; feeling unable to look after baby; scary thoughts of wanting to hurt your baby (research shows these are rarely acted upon); dark thoughts about suicide and self harm.
3. Male hormones change in men too, just like in mums
Male hormonal changes might make postnatal depression in dads more likely. The hormone levels of testosterone, oestrogen, cortisol, vasopressin, and prolactin often change in dads after their new born arrives. This can be a contributing factor to the onset of postnatal depression.
4. Postnatal depression is more likely if mum is suffering with the symptoms too.
If either you or your partner are experiencing emotional or mental health difficulties it is more likely that the other will too. Looking after your first born is physically and emotionally draining. The added pressure of trying to support your partner inevitably leads to physical and mental exhaustion. Try and read the symptoms early on and seek help. Male pride is a challenging trait and one I have suffered with. DO NOT be afraid to ask for help. It is a sign of strength, not weakness. For me, just picking up the phone and speaking to a health professional lifted an enormous weight.
5. There are many factors that will cause dads to be more prone to postnatal depression
New dads under 25 are more likely to go through postnatal depression than older dads so age is a risk factor for postnatal depression in men. Other major risk factors include a previous history of depression and anxiety; financial pressures, and not being in a relationship with the babies mother. Other factors that lead to postnatal depression in dads are: prolonged periods of baby crying; drug abuse or dependence; and feeling unsupported by their partners. The causes of depression are seldom clear and these factors may not lead to depression or even be the cause.
6. Dads deal with postnatal depression in different ways and display different symptoms
Dads may show signs of:
physical symptoms like indigestion, changes in appetite and weight, diarrhoea, constipation, headaches, toothaches and nausea.
fear and confusion
withdrawal from family life, work and social events
an inability to make decisions
frustration and irritability
negative parenting decisions
increased alcohol and drug use
7. Postnatal depression in dads often affects relationships within the family
Postnatal depression in dads often affects their relationship with the baby’s mum. It can also affect the relationship they have with their new born and other children. Dads might interact less and avoid playing with their children also talking more negatively about them and to them. Discipline is sometimes unnecessarily harsh too.
8. Postnatal depression in dads can have an impact on the development of their children
Postnatal depression in Dads is linked to emotional, social and behavioural problems in their children. Research also shows that it can lead to developmental delay also. The eveidence is stronger when a father experiences antenatal and postnatal depression, and when Dad’s symptoms are particularly severe. Therefore, there is also an even stronger link when mum also suffers with mental health issues.
9. Mental health screening is available
Screening for physical illnesses is a well known practice but mental health diagnoses are also beginning to be more common place. Dads who are concerned should go to this link at NHS Choices and use the depression screening tool. If you are concerned about yourself or someone else see your GP or call NHS 111. Remember, mental health is an illness and the symptoms can be treated.
10. Postnatal depression in dads is treated the same as postnatal depression in mums
The treatment of paternal postnatal depression is in its infancy. As of writing the options for treatment are the same as for mums. This is either with psychotropic medication or talking therapies if not both. In some cases relationship counselling may also be of benefit.
“Dads, you must share how you are feeling. You are not alone and support is available.“
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