Remi Schloff, LMSW started the Postpartum Support Center of Holland to help new mothers and fathers in West Michigan with the adjustment to parenthood or an additional blessing to their family that just might not feel like a bundle of joy in that moment. “Young couples are often extremely stressed. In fact much research says that the young family life cycle is the LEAST happy time in a couples life!” Says Therapist and Director Remi Schloff. “We are beginning to think and hear more about Perinatal Mood Disorders (formerly known as Pregnant or Postpartum Depression) in Women - but what happens when Dad is depressed too? Or when Mom isn’t suffering - but Dad is? PPND (paternal postnatal depression)—is real, and is an added challenge many parents face. If Mom wasn’t depressed but Dad is- you can better believe Mom can develop anxiety and depression related to her husband’s withdrawal, irritability, exhaustion and expressions of being overwhelmed.”
The Journal of the American Medical Association found that 1 in 10 men across the world experience symptoms of depression between the first trimester of Mom’s pregnancy up to 6 months postpartum. The number doubles during the three- to six-month period after baby arrives.
“Stress reduction, exercise but most importantly communication is key,” says Ms. Schloff. “Men need to talk about what’s going on- not act it out or escape through work, the computer or any other unhealthy coping mechanism. Talk to your Primary Care Physician about medication options too. Often a trial of medicinal and talk therapy can make a huge difference until this new family life makes its necessary adjustments. Relationships have to be renegotiated and Mom and Dad need to find a way to support each other. For those unmarried persons- often family members need to step in and support the parents. Ideally, couples work together no matter, for everyone’s sake.”
For more tips on this issue and to access screening tools for your relationship and postpartum mental health, visit http://www.supportmom.org today.