While it was stupid cold outside, it was warm inside. We we talked about conversations to have, sleeping and yes, even postpartum in DADS. Surprised? Dads can get postpartum depression too. Though I wish I had this type of space to ask some serious questions locally (especially within my church), I felt relieved. I wasn’t flawless, but I wish other men would forbear and help me process my emotions and offer support during this transition; this may have made my transition to fatherhood experience better, and allowed me to better adjust to my mental wellbeing as a new dad.
If you’re becoming a dad for the first time, welcome to the journey!
It’s OKAY to feel how you do. Reach out to other men you can trust to help you. Contact your doctor. Ask your partner’s OB if they have some live dadhood courses (not to be confused with birthing courses at the hospital). If you need resources, let me know.
If you know a man who’s about to be a dad, support him! Get ready to deal with his emotions. Of COURSE we want to make our lives better for Gen Alpha and Gen Z, so let’s do what we can to help men be better men. I realize not all men shaft other men to fend for themselves, but all men CAN help other men be ready to be a positive influence upon their child.
A juggling act
From losing sleep because of anxiety over being a good dad, my depression and unemployment history, feeling like my in-laws were wedging me away from Carter, not having time or space to process everything going on (and now factor my autism in!), and marathon training (hindsight: never again!), I did my best to cope. But I felt guilty that I couldn’t perfect my ability to juggle multiple responsibilities at once.
I felt lonely (it’s inevitable that a newborn will create that social shift), and frustrated that my wife and son were getting all the attention.
Even dads can get paternal postpartum depression (PPPD), as high as 1 in 10 dads (Paulson 2010). Click here for a scale for new dads to use.
I was the perfect case study for PPPD.
Thankfully, my church has a ministry where other members walk alongside those who are going through life changing events. My coworkers, non-Christian friends, and a FEW Christian friends were SUPER supportive. My church? Only my student ministry pastors and another older man (to my recollection).
New dads, if you’re in this position, it’s okay to get help. Take the scale, talk with your healthcare provider about it. Get the help you need. I know you can be the best dad you can be for your newborn, and the best support you can be for your partner.