Post-Natal Depression And Dads
There has been a spate of articles recently about post-natal depression (PND) in dads. Many still seem to laugh at the idea that men can get PND since they define it strictly as a chemical imbalance caused by hormonal changes brought about by the childbirth process.
This may be true to a lesser or greater extent, but having looked at the definition of PND it seems that it can encompass anything from total psychosis, to the kind of feelings which are more associated with exhaustion/sleepless nights and the kind of upheaval that starting a family brings: the gap between your expectations of being a parent and the reality, the change in how you relate to just about everyone on becoming a parent, the feeling of your life being slightly out of control, the sense of the child's absolute dependence on you, etc, etc.
I'm wondering whether giving a medical label to the less than psychotic parts somehow makes it seem that there is nothing much that can be done about it and tying it into the female hormones once again makes it sound as if women are uniquely ruled by their bodies and unable to function normally.
Surely what is more important is ensuring parents have proper support and understanding following the birth of a child and preparing them so their expectations of parenthood are not of Disneyeque proportions.
Nowadays there are a lot of pressures on parents and, despite much progression in the last 10 years on work-life balance, parents, particularly men, are expected to slot back into work mode after the birth of a baby as if they had just had a minor holiday. A minor holiday which has totally shaken all the parameters of their life.
Women are used to this and there have doubtless been advances which make it easier for women to ease back gradually into their jobs. Nevertheless, having several months off rather than a few weeks presents its own problems, such as loss of confidence.Continued on the next page