I now feel the Love I always wanted to feel for my Daughter
Ross is here to talk to me about having Post Natal Depression as a male. He has very kindly opened up about having postnatal depression as a male to help spread awareness. Dad’s having postnatal depression is very rarely spoken about, and a lot of males don’t think that it is something that they can get. This makes it harder for people to understand, and Dad’s are less likely to speak out and seek support.
I’m a 26 year old, married father of one from South Wales. I’ve suffered on and off with depression since I was roughly 17, but when my wife got pregnant it pretty much cleared up. Having a child was always something that we wanted, we even had the name Isabelle picked out since 2008, she wasn’t born until 2017, so you could say she was a long time coming. I honestly thought that when she would arrive, that my depression would be gone for good. Unfortunately, I was wrong.
What type of Post Natal metal health condition did you, or do you have?
I suffered with postnatal depression.
When did you first realise that you had a mental health condition, what were your first symptoms?
Luckily, since I’ve had a long history of depression I was well aware of the feelings when they came to me. I knew pretty quickly into having Isabelle that something wasn’t right. I know postnatal depression is different for many people, but for me, it all came down to the lack of bond that I had. I didn’t like my daughter at all. I regretted that we had her, and thought she had ruined my life. All of that then turned to guilt and as a result I felt even worse.
It must have been really tough feeling this way. I had a similar feeling when I was pregnant with my first, and I still feel guilty about it 6 years later. Do you feel like this had an affect your parenting?
It made me not want to be there, but never did it stop me from being a her dad. Every morning I would get up with Isabelle, change her, and then play with her as much as I could in her room. Did I always want to be there? No chance. Often I led there wondering what I was doing, and how much I wanted to be anywhere else. But I kept doing it. I knew the only way I could form a bond was to actually spend time building one from scratch.
What was your biggest worry about having a mental health condition?
Simply that it would last. That I would never actually love my daughter or care about her. But I know depression isn’t a constant thing, that it’s an illness that clouds your thoughts and alters how you really feel. I knew, even if it was deep down, that eventually all of it would pass.
You are 100% right, depression really does cloud your thoughts. Did you receive any help from a healthcare professional? If so, what was it?
I went to the doctor who signed me off work for a month. She also prescribed me medication that I took for a few weeks before stopping. I’ve never really liked taking meds, and I would never recommend someone doing what I did, but as the side effects haven’t been the best for me, I decided to take myself and sort myself out with the help of my wife.
Do you feel like your mental health improved since?
Very much so. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had the odd bad moment since I considered myself clear of PND Read that post here. And even in the last month or so I’ve had the odd day where I’ve regretted having Isabelle. But they are much rarer now. And usually the bad feelings arise a little more when my wife is in work and I’m left looking after Isabelle on my own for 13+ hours. It’s been another learning curve for me, and one I’m slowly getting used to. But in essence, I would say I now feel the love that I always wanted to feel towards my daughter.
Thanks Ross, I am really glad you are feeling the love for your daughter now, that you always wanted to feel. What do you do personally, to help your own mental health?
I love getting away as a family. Whenever we get the chance we head off and go travelling somewhere. It doesn’t really matter where, but just getting out of the same four walls that the house presents gives us a chance to reconnect as a family, see somewhere new and spend time together. Isabelle is currently ten months old and has been in 13 different hotels already. I guess that’s one of the perks of having all that time off with maternity leave, the ability to pack up and go whenever I get a few days off.
Other than that, I find talking about it via the blog and being open and honest in a public space really does help. I quickly find that I am not alone, and there are plenty of others on my Facebook page who feel very similarly to me. They’ve been a great support since I first started writing last year.
Do you feel there is enough support out there, for parents with a mental health condition?
I think there can be. There’s certainly plenty of support online. There are groups on Facebook for people to share their experience, and then there’s the #PNDHour on Twitter every Wednesday between 8-9pm. Talking to others who find themselves in a similar place as you helps to shift your perspective, reevaluate your own struggles and make realise that you’re not alone. As for in person support, I guess there’s always your GP for a start. You can take meds, which is a stepping stone in the right direction, but I can’t say what’s really out there in terms of local support groups as I’ve never really looked.
I find online groups to be really helpful too. I didn’t know about the #PNDHour on twitter, so thanks for sharing this with me. Finally what advice would you give to parents suffering from a postnatal mental health condition?
Talk about it. That’s what works the best for me. It doesn’t matter who it is, but getting everything you’re feeling out there will do wonders. But that’s not it. PND is different for every person, so you have to find out what works for you. That’s why I started a PND Tool kit . It’s basically as many ways as I can think of that can help someone through it. There’s everything from babywearing, attachment parenting, meds, talking about it, yoga and plenty more. But it all starts with being open and honest about how you’re feeling.
Thank you so much Ross for taking the time out to answer these questions for me. I really appreciate hearing how it feels for a Father to suffer from postnatal depression, so thank you for sharing this with me. Please show support for Ross and leave a comment and share this post. If you want to contact Ross, or follow his journey, his details are below. Tomorrow’s interview is with Christy from Welsh Mum of one. Christy wants to spread awareness on how it feels to suffer from PTSD. Post goes live at 9am.
Much love 💕
Ross’s Contact Details
Ross has a really useful tool kit to help with PND. Go and check it out here – PND Toolkit<<<<<<<<