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Fathers Experiencing Postpartum Depression – PPD

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Fathers Experiencing Postpartum Depression – PPD

In 2022, Hopeful Beginnings was proud to take on our first few male clients into our mental health/counseling program.

It was a much-needed mindset adjustment for myself as a human services professional and for the agency. Having worked for much of my career listening to victims of domestic violence, I will always be an advocate for women-only spaces. But there is a huge lack of resources for men, and fathers in particular, who have the courage to acknowledge that they would like to work on their mental health and their parenting skills.

Studies have shown for years the importance for fathers in children’s lives, and it is time to acknowledge that fathers, the same as mothers, also need space to attend to their mental health in order to give their best selves to their children. Just as we provide adjustment to motherhood services, we must also support fathers who are struggling to accept their new roles as caretakers to little ones.

There is also a growing body of research that speaks to the realness of fathers who experience postpartum depression (PPD) and anxiety. It is estimated that up to 10% of fathers may experience PPD, whose symptoms may include lack of appetite, sleeplessness and difficulty bonding to their new child. The hormonal piece of course is different than mothers, but the effects on the baby and the partner/spouse have very similar consequences. Like mothers, early treatment for fathers with PPD is important for recovery.

Interestingly enough, our first male client at Hopeful Beginnings this year was a grief and loss client. It is important to give grieving fathers, as well as mothers, the space to mourn the loss of a pregnancy and the “what could have been.” For fathers, or any other non-pregnant partner, it is especially important to hold this non-judgmental space that allows for grief without comparison to the pain experienced by their partner who physical lost the pregnancy.

As an agency that has always worked with mothers, it has been a shift but one that will make Hopeful Beginnings, and the families that have come to rely on our services, stronger for years to come.

Postpartum Counseling

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