With the birth of a child, everything changes.
Nothing can fully prepare a mother for this experience. There is no going back. Who we were, who we thought we would be, how we thought we would live this life – all slips away, like a faded dream.
Even the most prepared and supported moms face unexpected physical challenges, emotional struggles, and PTSD (birth trauma). There is an expectation that moms should love being pregnant and should have an instant connection with their babies, and just know what to do, and heal quickly and be happy. All too often, this isn’t the case. Most mothers in the United States experience support and community within the first 2 days of their child’s birth, but afterwards they feel a sense of isolation and fear. 60% of new moms experience isolation.
The CDC estimates 1 in 4 women suffer from Postpartum Depression and even more may suffer with Perinatal Mood Disorders such as anxiety and obsessive intrusive thoughts. The fear, doubt, and feelings of aloneness are gripping.
Postpartum depression and anxiety are the most common complications of childbirth, putting American families at risk each and every year. We need to do more, now. Mothers are often told that in order to care for their babies they must take care of themselves first – how do they do that? What resources are available to them? We can provide connection, help, and support for new moms.
Dads get Postpartum Depression also: 10% of new dads become depressed before or after baby’s birth, Researchers Say. “This is a rate that is two times higher than what is generally seen in adult men.” In addition to postpartum depression, new dads experience an overwhelming amount of anxiety.
“The pregnancy was easy, the delivery a breeze. This was the couple’s first baby, and they were thrilled. But within two months, the bliss of new parenthood was shattered by postpartum depression. A sad, familiar story. But this one had a twist: The patient who came to me for treatment was not the mother but her husband.”
In the NY Times article Postpartum Depression Strikes Fathers Too , the writer paints an intimate portrait of how and why fathers are also susceptible to the same toxic blend of anxiety and depression that new mothers, (one in ten, sometimes one in four mothers) are susceptible to.
The clinical term is paternal postpartum depression. In accordance to this study [PubMed], 4 to 25 percent of fathers will experience paternal postpartum depression. Within the academic world of psychology and psychiatry, there are few studies of clinical paternal postpartum depression. However it is very real. Not only is paternal postpartum depression valid, but also the fact that many men feel isolated within the family unit and ignored, subsumed with the demands of work, being paternity leave is largely non-existent in the United States.
There is an excellent article written by the peer reviewed journal Psychiatry which outlines what fathers need in the United States in order to reduce the rate of paternal postpartum depression.
The need for a central community to provide resources for both Mothers and Fathers during the postpartum phase is real, and tremendous. We have solved this problem…