A new Australian study, published in the Journal of Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, shows mothers and fathers are equally likely to experience postnatal depression after the birth of their baby. Men show different signs of depression than women do. While men tend to process anger more externally, women tend to process depression more internally. You could miss the symptoms unless you read on. How To Enjoy Watching Sports With Your Man
Signs Your Baby's Father May Be Experiencing Depression
1. Does he complain of new pain, particularly in the stomach or back?
2. Have you noticed an increase in risk-taking behavior, escapism (gaming, going out with the guys, gambling, watching sports, etc.), or increased drug or alcohol use?
3. Does he seem more angry, controlling, violent, abusive, hostile or irritable?
4. Does he seem increasingly distracted, have difficulty concentrating, or is he having difficulty making decisions?
5. Have you noticed a major change in his sleep pattern, e.g. is he sleeping too much or too little? Does he have a lack of energy he previously had?
If you recognize a cluster of these signs in your partner particularly after the birth of your child, tune in. It could mean your partner is experiencing depression.
How You Can Help
1. Make sure you and your baby's father take turns with night feedings, and if it's your turn, attend to the baby in a way that won't disturb your partner's sleep. When it's his turn, ask him to do the same. 12 Tips For Improving Your Relationship
2. Even though you now have the most amazing miracle you've ever experienced, your baby, be sure to remind your baby's father how important he is to you as a man, and not just as your baby's father. He needs to be reassured of his importance in your life. Don't be so invested in the baby that he begins to feel like "spare parts." Is Jealousy Destroying Your Relationship?
3. Be particularly attentive and responsible as it relates to finances at this time, particularly if financial stress is a worry. There are tons of bells and whistles you can get for babies these days that are not necessary. Stick to essentials and register at a retail store for baby gifts on your wish list. Will Money Ruin Your Relationship?
4. Help your baby's father form a strong bond with the baby. Teach him how to connect by looking in his eyes while feeding him and having skin-to-skin heart/chest contact whenever possible. Show him how to engage with the baby in ways that are pleasurable for them both.
5. Get a babysitter you trust and create special couple time for the two of you to get away, relax, and enjoy each other again.
6. Be sure to engage with your partner sexually. You may still be out of commission but your partner needs reassurance that he is still the "man" in your life and that he is desirable. There are ways to be intimate that don't required intercourse that can be just as satisfying to your man. 5 Marriage Secrets From Happily Married (A Long Time!) Couples
7. Take care of yourself. One of the main causes of postnatal depression is exhaustion. If you do your best to sleep while your baby is sleeping, eat properly and get some daily exercise, then you will have more energy to attend to your baby's father when he gets home.
I am in no way saying it is the woman's job to give all the nurturing and that your male counterpart has no responsibility in helping you with your challenges but that's a subject for another article. Stay tuned!
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