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Ways to help my partner who is suffering from male post natal depression.

(30 Posts)
divadee Tue 04-Apr-17 16:21:56

My partner has admitted to me last night (by way of opening up an article on the BBC website about male PND and asking me to read it while he was in another room) that he thinks he may be suffering from male PND.

He has struggled since I nearly died giving birth 8 weeks ago I lost over half my blood volume and it was touch and go. Also our daughter has a few health issues that we are sorting and will be resolved but wanted to give the complete picture.

He has also had issues at work as since he went on paternity leave his boss has been an arse and started a bit of a witch hunt that even HE have agreed are out of order.

I am trying to do as much as I can but worry I may make him worse. He is very self critical and feels he is failing as a dad. Nothing I say helps him. He is a wonderful dad. He does lots round the house including all the cooking. He feeds our daughter and walks up and down for miles when she is badly suffering with reflux.

What else can I do? I have encouraged him to go for counselling. He is thinking about it. He won't take medication and that's not up for discussion with him. The gp has signed him off for 2 weeks and then a further 2 weeks which runs out next Friday.

ineedamoreadultieradult Tue 04-Apr-17 16:24:32

No advice but watching with interest as I believe my friends DH is also suggering from this and he also refuses to even consider medication

PerspicaciaTick Tue 04-Apr-17 16:26:27

Our local community midwives run a (phone-based) support group for new fathers suffering from PND. It might be worth checking with your midwife or health visitor to see if there are services available in your area.

Wolfiefan Tue 04-Apr-17 16:29:04

Is it depression as such or a reaction to the traumatic birth you suffered? It must have been terrifying for both of you. And having a child with health issues can also feel overwhelming.
Congratulations on the birth of your baby and hope the health issues are resolved soon.
I would keep focusing on all the positive things he is doing to help him feel like a decent dad. At that age it is mainly feed, change and settle.

Veterinari Tue 04-Apr-17 16:31:03

He needs to see his GP - he could be experiencing ptsd associated with the trauma he experienced at nearly losing you.

I know it's scary, but the only way to get help is to seek it

TimetohittheroadJack Tue 04-Apr-17 16:36:30

To be honest I think he is being a selfish arse. You almost died 8 weeks ago giving birth, then your daughter has a few health issues. You need support right now. If he is off work damn right he should be doing the lions share of house work and cooking!

Its unacceptable for him to say hes not taking medication, why wouldn't he if it is going to make him feel better? If you have a headache you take a paracetamol? if your a diabetic you take insulin? whats the difference with taking anti depressants if you are depressed?

divadee Tue 04-Apr-17 16:37:26

wolfie I think it is the beginning of full blown PND and possibly some PTSD thrown in. He is normally such a placid, funny, charming and confident person. He is now in bits and literally has no confidence at all. And I mean zip. I tell him all the time what an amazing dad he is, and he really is an amazing dad. He shouted at our daughter to stop crying Monday night andbimmediateky burst into tears. He would never ever ever hurt her and as parents we have all had that end of the tether moment when a baby has been screaming for 4 hours straight (as our baby had been)

paddlenorapaddle Tue 04-Apr-17 16:38:26

Put him in touch with Mark Harris he's a make midwife his website should be able to point you in the right direction

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Tue 04-Apr-17 16:38:42

Is he in touch with PANDAS? They have a Facebook support page for dads here

paddlenorapaddle Tue 04-Apr-17 16:39:41

Male midwife bloody spell check

divadee Tue 04-Apr-17 16:40:04

timetohit I don't think that's fair to be honest. I have suffered from depression before and I found it hard to function. He is really trying. He is just being so hard on himself. Everything he does he is self critical.

And to be fair I am a lot better and my blood count after 2 transfusions is nearly back to normal. So I am as healthy and as well as to be expected for giving birth.

mypoordoggie Tue 04-Apr-17 16:40:17

Sorry Im with Timeto - he needs to get it sorted, 4 weeks off work wont fix it (nice break though if he has issues at work, nice timing)

You nearly die, are 8 weeks post birth and hes the one who the focus is on?

SloanePeterson Tue 04-Apr-17 16:42:03

I don't think it's fair to call him a selfish arse actually. I admire his honesty with you, he now needs proper encouragement to get help from a professional. I had a mc 7 months ago which went very badly wrong and I too lost half my blood volume. I was hugely traumatised by it, though bizarrely I coped well for a few days before falling to pieces over it. Dh felt he had to stay strong and project an image of coping and after about a week he too fell apart. And he wasn't even there to see the worst of it, he arrived just as the ambulance was taking me to hospital and wasn't there when I crashed later on. It's a huge huge thing to face up to the 'what ifs' in that situation. I hope you feel better in time too x no one prepared me for just how long it would take my to feel physically well and strong, it took the best part of 4-5 months and I didn't have a newborn to look after! Are you taking any iron supplements

Wolfiefan Tue 04-Apr-17 16:44:09

Glad you are feeling better. He sounds really very unwell. He needs to see his GP and be completely and totally honest about how he feels.
And yes we absolutely all reach that point where we can't take it anymore. (I left eldest in lounge safely and hid in the kitchen in cried. Youngest? I would go for a wee and a weep!) It is tough.

Mishmishmish Tue 04-Apr-17 16:46:56

Hi, a close family member went through this after his wife became extremely ill at the birth. He was diagnosed with PTSD and a kind of anxiety and his GP was very helpful. I would urge him to see his GP and talk it over, if one is unsympathetic he can try another. My family member was fast tracked for CBT and it really helped, he had got so panicky and fearful over accidentally hurting the baby his wife and baby had to move out for a while.

ILostItInTheEarlyNineties Tue 04-Apr-17 16:46:56

I don't really think it's helpful to label it as "male PND". It is still debatable as to whether this exists or is recognised by medical professionals.

He does sound traumatised by your difficult birth and stressed with caring for your baby and the worry of her health concerns.
Depression can take various forms but quite often the sufferer experiences the following;
Fatigue, lack of energy
Insomnia,
Difficulty concentrating,
Feeling guilty, worthless,
Anxious empty feelings,
Loss of sex drive
and loss of appetite.

I hope your dh can access the help he needs. There is nothing shameful about being on anti depressant medication. Depression is an illness like any other.

divadee Tue 04-Apr-17 16:57:12

ilostit that is exactly what he is like apart from the lack of appetite. If anything he is comfort eating. I have encouraged him to call our occupational health counselling number that we have through work. You can access 6 sessions a year so that should help things in the short term and be quicker than waiting for the nhs.

mypoordoggie the Dr signed him off as he is in a really bad way. His blood pressure is sky high, his mood is rock bottom and work is contributing to the already pressure he feels under in himself. He knows he needs help but men find it hard to ask for. It's not being selfish I think he's trying to stay strong for the rest of the family.

TimetohittheroadJack Tue 04-Apr-17 17:00:35

While being honest and admitting that he has a problem is good, refusing to even consider medication is where I'd start to consider his actions selfish. Why wouldn't you take medicine to make you feel better?

Yes mental health, even these days is stigmatised. But apart from him, his doctor and maybe the OP, who would need to know?

ILostItInTheEarlyNineties Tue 04-Apr-17 17:02:19

Over eating can also be a symptom of depression, Diva. It's a form of self medicating as is drinking alcohol to blot out anxiety.
The work counselling sessions are worth pursuing. He may already feel a weight has been lifted talking to you about it.

I hope you are looking after yourself too. flowers

DearMrDilkington Tue 04-Apr-17 17:04:40

To be honest I think he is being a selfish arse. You almost died 8 weeks ago giving birth, then your daughter has a few health issues

Aren't you delightful. No wonder so many men feel unable to tell someone when they need help.

divadee Tue 04-Apr-17 17:11:27

timetohit I had a breakdown 2 years ago and I refused medication. I needed to talk it through and get to the root of the problem. I also had hypnotherapy in conjunction with counselling and that's what got me through. A lot of people don't like medication as they need to get over the root of the problem.

Firstaidnovice Tue 04-Apr-17 17:14:08

Describing anyone who is suffering from mental health issues as a selfish arse, or suggesting they should "pull themselves together" is totally unacceptable. Anyhow, the OP has clearly stated he's very involved in helping with the baby. It's not as simple as just taking medication to the poster who suggested that.

OP, the GP has signed him off, have they made any treatment suggestions? Could you afford private counselling? My personal experience is with depression, and this does sound more like some kind of PTSD, so my advice might not be relevant, but i find exercise, and using the headspace app to be helpful.

Also, rather than constantly reassuring him that he's doing a good job, he's a good dad, try and make sure you are being receptive to how he actually feels in a non judgemental way. When i feel really bad, my partner tends to say "it'll all be ok, everything's fine, etc", and although it comes from a good place it isn't that helpful, because it feels like he's denying how i feel, if that makes sense?

Anyway, congratulations on the baby, and it sounds as though you too have a lot on your plate, so watch out for your mental health too, and take good care of yourself.

DangerDays Tue 04-Apr-17 17:24:26

@TimetohittheroadJack your attitude is contributing to the stigma of mental health issues.
There is no "magic pill" for depression. I took several types of anti-depressants when I was at my worst, and one of them made me feel suicidal, while another left me feeling so numb and detached from reality that I struggled to remember to feed myself and lost entire days doing absolutely nothing.
Unless you have suffered from depression and know all the potential pros and cons of filling your body with various chemicals to cure it, you are not in a position to judge someone for not wanting to take a course of action that could have unwanted effects.

OP, getting your other half to a doctor is the best course of action. Talking to a doctor does not mean he has to go to counselling or take tablets, but it is the first step to learning what is happening to your mind and inside your body. It certainly sounds like the beginning of a delayed case of PTSD, which is completely understandable.

I wish you both the best of luck in the future.

DangerDays Tue 04-Apr-17 17:27:24

Sorry, x-post, just noticed you've said that the doctor has signed him off. The free 6 sessions of help so sound like they could help to get to the bottom of the problem - learning to accept his feelings and find out how to cope with them certainly couldn't hurt

Mumgyver Tue 04-Apr-17 17:42:37

If this was a woman suffering from depression and her DH posting about it would any of you be calling her a selfish arse, saying she should be doing the lions share of housework, that being signed off work is a "nice break" and that she shouldn't expect the focus to be on her and her issues? I highly fucking doubt you would. And where does the OP say that her partner isn't supporting her too? A relationship is a partnership, give and take, and you support each other. He's doing cooking, he's cleaning, he's looking after the baby.

OP, my partner struggled with depression after each of our DC was born. It was depression directly linked to the postnatal period, he didn't give birth but he did experience postnatal life, so what is that if not a form of postnatal depression?

It's good that your OH feels able to open up to you, he definitely needs to speak to a professional and the GP is the first port of call. Does his employer offer a wellbeing service? Where my partner works they have an employee mental health service who can offer support including counselling. If some of his feelings are linked to the birth of your baby, almost losing you and her health issues would an appointment with the birth reflection midwife help you both? They will go over the notes with you so you can see what happened, when and why, they will be able to answer any questions too. It may help make sense of what happened so that you both can start to process through it.

It's incredibly difficult loving someone who is depressed when all you want is for your loved ones to be happy. Don't neglect your own emotional wellbeing in the midst of all of this, I found my partners depression hard to deal with and I neglected myself in supporting him even though he tried to make sure I didn't do that (before anyone starts calling him a selfish arse too).

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