It is highly likely that over the past few weeks and months since your baby arrived, there has been no shortage of friends, family, midwives and GPs asking, “How are you, Mum?” As part of routine postnatal care and support, new mothers are routinely screened for mental health and there is a wealth of support that can be offered.
But… what about partners? Aren’t they new parents too? It is only very recent that fathers, partners and other family members are supported by perinatal mental health services and screened for support.
Becoming a parent is a life-changing event for everyone, be they man or woman, and it is important that they are supported as they make the transition to parenthood. Partners can feel pressure to hide any feelings of anxiety or depression for fear it will worry Mum, who may be navigating her own emotions.
It is now widely acknowledged that at least 1 in 10 men or partners will suffer with postnatal depression (PND). You or another family member may notice changes in behaviour, an increase in alcohol use, changes in food intake or exercise regimes, short temper, or quiet or withdrawn behaviour. If that is the case, encourage that person to talk about how they are feeling.
Whether this is your first or second child, the transition to parenthood cannot be underestimated, so it is worth having regular check-ins with each other. Here are our top tips for supporting each other during these wonderful yet overwhelming times: