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A Letter to The Dads

by PMH Support

Firstly, let me say congratulations on your journey into parenthood. My name is Scott founder of PMH Support which I set up due to experiencing PTSD/ Anxiety after a traumatic delivery where both my little boy and wife nearly died. It was then I realised there was nothing for dad’s, nowhere to go and no one to talk to. I now raise awareness of parental mental health and offer advice and tips that I have picked up over my 18 years of being a parent in the hope of being able to prevent a parent feeling like I did, but if they do, they no support is available. What I do is not trying to take the focus off mother and baby, I just want to promote awareness of mental health in expectant fathers and new fathers so they can get support.

 

I have been where you are and I know how overwhelming and exciting things can feel, you are about to embark on one of the most amazing journeys you will ever be on. I will offer a few top tips to help you on your way.

 

Remember this is your pregnancy journey together as a couple and you are each other’s support, remember to talk to each other about any concerns you may have don’t bottle it up its best to communicate and discuss anything you are unsure of. You are on this journey together and something I say a lot is you learn as you go “parenting is the only job where you are promoted to CEO on the first day” that’s fine just remember you don’t need to know everything, and you can’t know everything at first. Be kind to yourself, you will learn as you go, and it will get easier.

 

It is quite common to feel nervous, overwhelmed, anxious during pregnancy this is a natural response as I have found speaking to other fathers there is a lot of pressure and expectations, this journey is for you and your partner no one else. your little families all are that matters.

 

Be the parent you want to be not the one society tells you to be, do what works for you and your family take it slow don’t put pressure on yourself to get it all right. Becoming a new parent takes a lot of adjusting be kind to yourself, look after each other, take this time to bond as a family.

 

Now for something that really isn’t talked about and we need to break the stigma because mental health matters and you matter most so please talk to someone, talk to each other, talk to your health visitor or midwife. There are also amazing support groups for both parents.

 

 

1 in 10 dads suffer from Post Natal Depression – that’s 75,000 dads each year in the UK

 

On average 10 % of dads become depressed in the antenatal and postnatal period.

 

Upto 50% of new dads whose partners suffer from depression can also affected.

 

Approx 40 % of new dads are worried about their own mental health during pregnancy.

 

20% of new dads felt completely isolated in the year following birth of their child.

 

Fathers with perinatal mental health problems are 47 times more likely to be rated as a suicide risk than at any other time in their lives.

 

 

 

Some Signs to be aware of:

 

  • Tearfulness, weeping frequently

  • Panic attacks and anxiety

  • Being unable to sleep or feeling exhausted even when you have had sleep

  • Feeing anxious

  • Trouble concentrating

  • Irritability

  • Worries over everyday objects that could cause harm to yourself or your child.

  • Feeling physically ill; chest pains, headaches, dizziness

 

If you recognise any of these symptoms or just change in how your are feeling if this persists for more than 2 weeks then please seek support. I know how hard this can be but you can take the step you are stronger than you know.

 

 

What can you do if you feel you partner may be affected by paternal mental health?

 

•               Firstly, accept that THIS IS NOT YOUR FAULT!

•               You are not the only partner to go through this and sadly will not be the last.

•               DO NOT take it personally

•               Encourage them to talk or get support.

•               Understand how hard it is for them to talk at first patience really is a virtue.

•               Don’t push to get help just prompt and encourage they have to be ready or have     an understanding that things are wrong first.

•               This is for both parents hold on to each other as tight as you can as this storm will pass if you hold on tightly enough.

•               Supporting and encouraging telling them how loved and special they are, it can be a thankless task at times but one day he will thank you for not giving up on him.

 

Creating awareness and education to all future parents and service ensuring Support on parental mental health has a positive effect on your child development and the family as a unit, support both parents to support each other should be standard policy.

 

 

I feel its important to make people aware that these things exist, however being a parent Is the greatest achievement and the thing I am most proud of. It’s incredible holding and cradling your baby and watching them grow and develop, but for as wonderful as it is its hard and we all find it hard so be kind to yourself and I wish you all the joy and laughter in the world.

PMH Support

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