PMADs In Dads
Posted on: June 22, 2020 | Uncategorized
It’s no secret that the first year is one of the most emotionally charged, rewarding, roughest times as a new parent. The whirlwind of thoughts flood the mind as the days into months of the trimester counts on. The excitement is there for the new father-to-be, and the anxieties of providing for their namesake kicks open a whole new door. Dads can experience perinatal mood and anxiety disorders too! In fact, 1-in-10 fathers will experience postpartum depression, while up to 18% of fathers will experience an anxiety disorder. PMADs in dads, is not a topic that is readily discussed. Who does this affect? What does this look like for the new dad? When can it show up? Where can one find resources and support? And How can one overcome postpartum depression or anxiety?
What dad does postpartum mood and anxiety disorders affect?
It’s no secret that depression affects anyone, and there’s no prejudice in its plight. Studies have shown that there are some instances that would put a radar of suspicion for susceptibility to postpartum depression. Dad already predisposed to depression? That’s a flag. Has the family has experienced a miscarriage or loss previously? That’s a flag. Welcoming multiples? That’s a flag.
Knowing the triggers of what brings dad down in the dumps, and knowing what to do or say to lift them up is a golden tool. Making sure restful rest is had, partaking in nourishing foods, and exercise and fresh air are counter tools for depression. While one may not be able to completely avoid the postpartum dad blues, it can definitely be kept at bay, and tackled before it takes over.
What does a PMAD in dad look like for the new dad?
When a new dad experiences a perinatal mood and anxiety disorder, it doesn’t surface like that in the mother. There’s generally not the emotional highs and lows. PMADs in dads showcase in ways that appear that all is well, when it’s not. They may begin to stay away a little longer. Reverting to believe that they do not matter in the equation. Dads will verbally express “I’m tired” when they are internally yelling “I’m stressed!”. Dads may become defensive in topics and issues that were never a thought before.
As a supportive partner, encourage time alone. Give “permission” to stay later at work, or go to the gym, or to take that nap. When they are expressing “I don’t know what to do”, turn it into an opportunity to educate what you have found to work, and allow dad to Macgyver it in a way that works for him. Just because it’s not what one read or does, doesn’t mean it’s not correct.
When can a PMAD in dad show up?
A perinatal mood and anxiety disorder can surface during the pregnancy, and is classified as prenatal depression and anxiety. In the postpartum period, a PMAD can surface in dad from birth and throughout the first year of welcoming the baby. PMAD is most commonly noticeable within the first 6 weeks of bringing home a baby.
Where can one find resources and support for PMADs in dads?
Locally, in the Las Vegas Valley, there are organizations and therapists that specialize in perinatal mood disorders as well as marriage and family counseling. Las Vegas Therapy is one resource we recommend to families. Their team of therapists specialize in therapies for all members of your family. Nationally, PostpartumDads.org is an online resource for dads, run by dads. They even have a private Facebook Group for connecting with other new and experienced dads.
How can one prevent or overcome postpartum depression or anxiety in dad?
As mentioned previously, it’s proven that good solid rest, healthy nourishment, and exercise combat instances of depression in general. These are important, if not vital for this period after the “Congratulations, it’s a…!” Another big…BIG factor is communicate, Communicate, COMMUNICATE! Communication can make or break the relationship during this fragile time of healing, happiness, and hormones. When the day is filled with friction, take a step back. Talk when the mood is not so fueled by fury. When some extra TLC is needed, open up about what is needed in that moment. Be honest! With yourself, your partner, and the situation. Decide if extra precautions are needed. Be it medications, therapy, holistic, etc… With all being said, if you or your family feel emotionally, physically, or verbally abused, please reach out to someone immediately. Depression does not get to be an excuse for disrespect or harm to another individual.
When noticing signs or symptoms of PMADs in dads, realize that while this may be new, that there is help and resources to get you and dad back to good. Reach out to your provider, and suggest that your partner do the same. Whether medications, natural holistic measures, therapy, or no method at all is dedicated, allowing persons of the right credentials in the situation will help the situation. A healthy happy atmosphere is an unbeatable atmosphere for raising a baby. One thing that is never okay or acceptable, is abuse of ANY kind. If you or your family feel emotionally, physically, or verbally abused, please reach out to someone immediately. Depression does not get to be the excuse for disrespect or harm to another individual.