Having a child is one of the great joys in life, but for some, once baby is home, depression sets in. Postnatal depression is a well-known illness among new mothers, but recent research shows it’s also a serious problem for many new fathers. Olivia Spencer’s groundbreaking book, Sad Dad, explores the various causes and symptoms of postnatal depression in fathers, and what can be done about it.
Symptoms such as irritability, sleeplessness and loss of appetite can affect both men and women, but men may experience additional symptoms such as heavy drinking or working late hours. If we can see how these are often symptoms of a serious depressive problem, rather than bad dad behaviour, we can do a better job of helping the men who suffer from it.
Sad Dad combines personal anecdote with scientific research in an engaging way. We hear from men and women about how fathers suffering from postnatal depression affect their partners and their children. We’re reminded that because people are unique, we need a comprehensive approach to preventing and treating postnatal depression in men. This includes considering possibly controversial theories, such as that of renowned obstetrician Michel Odent, who suggests that being present for childbirth might actually trigger this depression—and sometimes physical ill health—in men.
Spencer talks with several additional experts in her drive to better understand the relatively unknown phenomenon of postnatal depression in men, including Jeszemma Garratt of the Fatherhood Institute, academic Andrew Solomon, and paediatrician Aldo Naouri. Psychotherapist Adam Jukes emphasizes the need for better resources for men to cope with welcoming a new baby into their lives.
Sad Dad is a new resource for men and women encountering postnatal depression in their lives, researchers looking for some of the major issues and arguments contained in one book and anyone interested in learning more about this crucial health issue.
Olivia Spencer has written about postnatal depression in fathers for The Huffington Post. Free Association Books is proud to announce that Sad Dads is out now, available for purchase at your local bookstore and on Amazon.
By Lisa Findley