We know that about one in 10 women can be affected by postnatal depression. New fathers can also develop depression in the antenatal or post natal period. This is not uncommon but can often come on more slowly than in women.
We know that younger men and families with low incomes are more vulnerable to depression. If your partner is depressed you are also more likely to suffer from depression.
No one can be sure why this happens but life changing events can trigger these emotions. We also know that if you have previously suffered from depression or emotional issues, you will be more at risk of developing depression.
What can you do about it?
- Admit there is something not right. This is the first step to getting better
- Talk to your partner, a trusted friend or other family member about how you are feeling
- See your GP to discuss how you feel and treatment options available
- Develop helpful self-help measures such as a healthy diet and regular exercise. Try and avoid or cut down on alcohol as this can lead to more depression.
- Focus on the positive aspects of being a new father.
- Get plenty of rest. Ask family and friends for practical help if needed.
- Share parenting with your partner. Support each other.
- Seek local support groups or websites that can help. Your local children’s centre may have a group for new fathers. Sharing being a new dad with other dads can help.
- Talk to your health visitor.
Try and maintain hobbies and interests where possible, allowing for the changes in demands on your time now.