Pre and postnatal depression occurs most commonly in mothers, but 3 to 10 per cent of fathers also suffer with this type of depression.
The causes in women include the dramatic shift in hormone levels and the effects on the mother’s body during childbirth. But many of the other factors that contribute are the same for both men and women. The shock of the situation can act as a trigger. Sometimes birth or health complications can produce an emotional roller-coaster. Not everyone adapts to these emotional changes easily.
Depression before (pre-natal) and after (post-natal) the birth of a child is very common in Australia.
The idea of being a parent and caring exclusively for the baby’s life can be daunting. The constant demands of a newborn baby are unlike anything else you can encounter. There are also multiple stresses and demands from the extended family and society and these expectations can seem overwhelming. For mothers it is sometimes thought that if they don’t bond with their baby within a certain timeframe, it won’t happen at all. This is untrue. Once the depression is treated and lifts, the baby will be there and the relationship and bond will begin as normal with the full range of emotions. Friends and family supporting the mother during this phase can make all the difference.
Relationships can suffer due to pre or postnatal depression. It is often thought that the father’s depression is a result of the mother’s depression, but this is not always the case. Fathers can become depressed well before birth and this often lasts much of the first year. There can be increased pressure on the man to be the provider and unfortunately often there are much fewer support mechanisms or networks available.
Pre-natal and postnatal depression are real issues, and it needn’t be suffered alone. Call today and make an appointment to see a psychologist.