Watch: Paternal Postpartum Depression in Gay Dads
WatcIt is estimated that somewhere between 10% and 25% of new dads experience Paternal Postpartum Depression (PPD) during their child's first year.
What is Paternal Postpartum Depression (PPD)? How can you recognize it? And, most importantly, what can be done about it?
Watch more videos in James Guay's Living More Fully series here.
Full transcript below:
"Paternal postpartum depression not only affects straight dads, but it also affects gay, bisexual and pansexual dads, too. It’s very, very common, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, age, race, ability; it’s much more common than people imagine.
There are some estimates of anywhere between 10% and 25% of new dads become depressed within the first year of becoming a father.
So what are the symptoms of postpartum depression or anxiety? It’s also called peripartum or postnatal depression.
Especially for guys, there can be an increased amount of anger, irritability or outbursts, those kinds of things. Because often men are socialized to think that being depressed is being weak, and it’s not – it’s just part of the human experience.
There can be other symptoms like:
There can be a whole set of behaviors to try and cope with all of these feelings and anxieties, like substance-use, impulsivity, risk-taking, or staying away from the home.
You might be saying to yourself that these seem like normal characteristics of being a parent, right? But what distinguishes this from major depression is more intense, happens over a longer period of time and there are more of these symptoms that happen all at once.
What’s important to recognize here is that you’re not alone and this is treatable. Things that often at times predict that someone is going to have postpartum depression or makes it more likely, is:
For gay dads, if there is an unresolved, internalized homophobia, most of us come from family, or religion, or society that devalues us simply for being gay. And even if we’ve been out for years, and even if intellectually we understand your value, this material can come up for new fathers, where we can feel "less than" or "not as good of a parent." We might want to be super dad, and we might burn out, fizzle out from those kind of stresses, that we put on ourselves or have been put on ourselves.
So it’s important to be mindful, be curious, don’t judge these kind of thoughts and feelings, that just makes it worse. But to really provide some care and compassion for ourselves in the midst of that, that’s really the antidote.
What else can you do to treat depression and anxiety?
I say this a lot, but good exercise, good nutrition, adequate sleep, getting these things consistently enough is also really important to be operating at your best."