Postpartum Depression In The Non-Birthing Parent

New parents, both birthing and non-birthing, can develop postpartum depression.

Birthing parents are easily recognized as being at risk for postpartum depression; however, it is important to acknowledge that non-birthing parents are equally susceptible to experiencing postpartum depression.

Up to 1 in 10 non-birthing parents experience postnatal depression.

What Is Postpartum Depression?

Postpartum depression (PPD) is a condition that includes strong feelings of sadness, anxiety, or tiredness that last for a long time after giving birth.

It is a specific type of depression that is incredibly prevalent in both birthing and non-birthing parents.

When these changes cause significant emotions of worry and melancholy that interfere with your everyday life, they are no longer considered "baby blues."

What is meant by "non-birthing parent"?

The term "Non-birthing parent" is used for a parent who is in an essential role of raising a child but does not physically give birth to a child. This is an inclusive terminology that does not leave many valid caregivers out of the conversation entirely.

Symptoms Of PPD

Postpartum depression can be expressed in four categories: physical, emotional, behavioural, and cognitive.

Physical symptoms can include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue and tiredness
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Difficulty falling asleep

Emotional symptoms can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Anger issues
  • Feeling of guilt or shame
  • Isolation
  • Sadness
  • Lack of interest

Behavioural symptoms can include:

  • Use of drugs
  • Aggression
  • Distancing from loved ones
  • Lack of physical intimacy with your partner

Cognitive symptoms can include:

  • Trouble concentrating
  • Uncontrolled thinking
  • Trouble making decisions
  • Suicidal thoughts

Diagnosing PPD

Unfortunately, many non-birthing parents may not receive treatment or assistance because they are not screened for postnatal depression.

Though it can happen at any point in the first year of the baby's life, it usually appears one to three weeks after delivery. It appears more slowly in non-birthing parents and is most common between three and six months.

Speaking with your physician or therapist may be crucial if you exhibit PPD symptoms. During screening, your doctor can rule out any other underlying medical disorders that might be the source of your symptoms.

Causes of PPD

Psychologists and psychiatrists are still unsure of the causes or risk factors for PPD in non-birthing parents. However, they believe a few factors could have a significant impact on PPD in non-birthing parents, such as:

  • Additional responsibilities
  • Financial pressure
  • Relationship changes with your partner
  • Lack of sleep
  • Taking care of other children

You run a higher chance of developing postnatal depression if you go through other major life stressors like moving, losing your job, or losing a loved one. Some others lack of effective support networks, poor living conditions, and neglect or maltreatment during childhood.

Treating PPD

Your physician or therapist can collaborate with you to choose the best course of treatment if you are given a PPD diagnosis.

It could take a few tries to figure out what works for you.

Postpartum depression is treatable, and treatment plans often include a combination of:

  • Therapy
  • Medication
  • Support groups
  • Support from loved ones
  • Self-care and lifestyle changes

Ask For Help

Do not deal with your anxiety or despair alone. Your family and friends can provide invaluable support so you can get some much-needed rest. This help could come in the form of communities or support groups for those experiencing circumstances similar to yours.

It's crucial to understand that asking for assistance and seeking support when needed are acceptable behaviours. Nobody is expecting you and your spouse to handle everything on your own, particularly if you are both experiencing postpartum depression.

Treatment for postpartum depression often consists of medication, therapy, support groups, family members, lifestyle modifications, and self-care. Your unique circumstances and requirements will determine the best course of action, and you'll need to test a few different approaches before figuring out which works best for you.

Consult your counsellor or therapist, as they will assist you in choosing the best course of action and make sure you are taking the necessary actions to recover from postpartum depression.

Conclusion

Parental mental health is essential, yet it is often overlooked by both birthing and non-birthing parents.

Taking care of your mental health and well-being can benefit your family greatly since it lays a solid basis for good parenting.

Children benefit from their parents' cognitive and emotional well-being.

Your child deserves a parent who is present and concerned about their mental health.

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