Postnatal depression in fathers of twins and triplets is a topic that many people shy away from talking about. You have just brought home several newborn babies, whom everyone wants to see. The pressure is already there for this to be the most exciting time in your life!! What people don’t realise, is that it can also be extremely overwhelming and emotional.
People tend not to talk about it if they are the one suffering from it and others also shy away from raising the topic if it is someone close to them that is suffering from it.
It is a topic that does need to be spoken about and awareness needs to be raised around it.
Generally when people think about postnatal depression they assume that it is the mother that is suffering, however post natal depression in fathers of twins or triplets is just as important to consider.
One in ten new dads will also suffer from PND.Queensland Health
New dads are prone to developing postnatal depression after their babies are born and those who are new dads to twins and triplets may be more at risk.
What is postnatal depression?
Postnatal depression is the name given to a depressive state that kicks in after the birth of your baby.
It can start anywhere from a few weeks after birth up until the age of 12 months old.
It is very common for parents to feel a little overwhelmed in the first few weeks of bringing a baby home and parents can at times suffer from the ‘baby blues’ however this only lasts a few days.
If you continue to suffer from emotional struggles and it goes on for a number of weeks, it is possible that you may be experiencing post-natal depression.
What causes postnatal depression in fathers of twins or triplets?
The change of lifestyle that comes with becoming a dad of twins or triplets can be overwhelming and emotional at times.
There is no real way to prepare for the birth of your new babies and bringing them home. This can cause a lot of feelings that at times may not be able to be controlled.
New dads of twins or triplets can suffer from postnatal depression for a number of reasons including:
- The social aspect of being told men don’t talk about their feelings.
- Trying to adapt to a new routine.
- Previous history of depression or mental illness.
- Complications with the birth or health of your new babies.
- Anxiety around your babies needing to stay in NICU or SCN.
- Relationship or financial stress and pressure.
What are the symptoms of postnatal depression in fathers of twins or triplets?
The symptoms of postnatal depression can vary from person to person and what may look like a normal new dad to one person may not actually be the case.
There is a common social misconception that males should not or do not talk about their feelings. This can add to the risk of developing postnatal depression as the dads feel like they need to stay strong and not speak up about how they might be feeling.
Symptoms of postnatal depression can include feeling low, unmotivated, lack of excitement around your new babies, frustration and the feeling like you are unable to cope with your surroundings and the new routine that you need to try and follow.
There are also physical symptoms that can show including inability to sleep, lack of appetite and low energy levels.
How can we help dads with postnatal depression?
Very much like when a new mum is suffering from post-natal depression, the first step is to be able to recognise that there may be an issue there and to seek assistance from a professional.
By having your partner speak with your doctor he will be able to voice how he is feeling. The doctor will be able to assist with putting a treatment plan in place. This may include counselling and or medication.
It is also important that at home you are able to be understanding of their condition and provide support wherever possible.
Help your partner to feel more involved in the early weeks and months of your children’s lives. Get them helping with feedings, changing and bathing the babies. At times they may feel like their place isn’t there if you are providing all the support for the babies.
And most importantly, talk with them. Let them know you are there to listen and help them through this period.
Bringing new twins, or triplets, home can be a difficult time, especially if your babies have spent time in special care. Both parents are bound to be tired and at times frustrated. Remember to be there for each other and provide a support network so you can speak and work through any concerns together.
If you think you may be showing signs of postnatal depression, don’t suffer in silence — speak to a loved one or your doctor. Alternatively, you can phone beyondblue on 1300 22 4636 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.