Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A word for daddies

A friend of mine asked me how my husband handled the day I ended up in the emergency room and signed up for an out-patient treatment program. What was he feeling during all of that?

I had no idea.

I'd never asked him. I'd been so wrapped up in the madness that it never occurred to me that it might have been hard for L, too. He might have been afraid or terrified or angry. I asked him. He said he was scared but wanted to put on a brave face for me. Wow. I hadn't even thought of that. I figured he was fine. You know, fine. Like seeing his wife losing her mind in the ER was totally cool and not scary in the least.

I think dads suffer in silence a lot. There's evidence now that fathers are more susceptible to postpartum depression that previously thought. The depression rate for women in the first year after birth is about 14 percent. For me, it's about 3.5. That's still a significant number. Even though women are more likely to suffer, men should be tracked, too. There was so little pre-birth intervention for me. I can't imagine how unlikely it is for men to receive any pre-birth depression screening. Hopefully family doctors and obstetricians will take note of these findings and keep an eye on the men in the appointments, not just the pregnant women on their tables.

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