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New dads too get baby blues

sex and relationships Updated: Mar 22, 2010 17:23 IST

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Men also suffer from postnatal depression, according to a new study, which shows that for every two mums suffering baby blues, there is one dad going through it.

The condition affects more than 15 percent of new mothers and 10 percent of new fathers.

According to Belinda Horton, CEO of the Post and Antenatal Depression Association (Panda), many parents are afraid to admit that they're not coping and are experiencing painful emotions and feelings after the birth of a child, and are ashamed to ask for help.

And this is particularly prevalent in men. Those in 20 to 35-year age group rarely seek medical, let alone emotional help.

"Sadly, parents feel that there is a stigma to even admitting that they are experiencing difficulties. They often feel they will be judged as bad parents and the authorities will get involved," quoted Horton as saying.

"It is not the case, and there is absolutely no correlation between depression and anxiety and bad parenting. Many men hope that the negative feelings and emotions they are experiencing will simply pass. However, worry and anxiety can develop into depression and desperation," she added.

Rebecca Dunn, a perinatal psychologist and committee member of the Gidget Foundation, which promotes awareness of perinatal anxiety and depression, says: "Parents make a mammoth transition and there are a lot of expectations of how it should be due to societal expectations and the media's portrayal.

"Men are often under-prepared: suddenly they have to juggle work stress, financial pressures, being a support to the mother, the loss of the freedoms they took for granted before their child was born, lack of sleep, lack of sex and coming to terms with the change of identity that comes with being a father," she added.