Postpartum depression in men
Is this true? Does this really happen? When I thought of this and asked Mr. S about it, he broke down. I could see those silent tears which spoke volumes about what he was undergoing at that point in time. Work pressure, running a household, having two tiny kids and a wife who perpetually kept crying, this man had a lot on his plate to handle. On doing a Google search on this, I realised that not many people talk about it. And yes, MEN GET POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION TOO! New dads do feel as lonely and isolated as we new moms, just that they don’t talk about it.
I had a miscarriage prior to Twisha’s birth. That I believe was the beginning of this dark phase. We barely spoke, and cried for the most part of the day. Yes, we were depressed. Then came in the girls in our life. Back to back. Hit us like a rainbow after torrential rains. Friends first, is what we kept telling each other. I kept opening up about myself but he, he kept quiet. He spoke very little about it and steadily managed to keep his thoughts to himself. He heard more and spoke less. Until a few days back. That’s when he spoke and I heard.
It’s difficult being a woman and it’s also difficult being a man. It is also more difficult to be a FATHER. The society has put these norms about the ideal Dad. About the qualities he’s supposed to harness. About the fact that he’s the Macho Man in the family and that he’s the strongest. Unfortunately, these burdens do shackle him and choke him too.
Financially, he is strained and stretched. One, he has to meet the needs of the newest member of the family. Two, if the couple has lost the income of the parent staying home to look after the baby, it’s more stressful for him. He has the pressure to maintain the family’s lifestyle even with a hole in the pocket.
Even new dads are sleep deprived and yes that’s a fact. He works his a** off at work. Deals with work crisis. Comes home. Spends the night with his kid who is super clingy as Da wasn’t at home all day and decides to keep him up till wee hours. Unfortunately for him, he barely sleeps when the baby sleeps.
There is definitely a division in the attention that he receives. There was a time, when you used to take care of him and gave him complete attention but now, life revolves around the kids. The attention that once was completely his is divided. That too overnight. As harsh it sounds, we women hate such drastic change and so does he. While he loves the fact that the kids are the centre of our attention, he unconsciously misses that spot.
A new baby can be equally overwhelming for a dad as it is for us moms. It’s a HUGE change in their life. A lot of men with postpartum depression suffer needlessly in isolation as postpartum depression is usually only thought of as something that affects me, the mother. I think we need to sit and have a chat with them too. After all, the silent conversations needs a hearing too.