Christopher Rose-Banks had always been optimistic.
The Richmond, CA. resident was always a quiet guy and never let things get to him.
After the birth of her first child, a daughter named Sybil, Rose-Banks said her mood began to change.
“I would get very nervous or anxious when I put her to sleep,” Rose-Banks said. “Any little noise … we have two little cats, if they were making noise in the house, I would be immediately frustrated.”
The dripping from a drain pipe outside was enough to cause it.
“It was pretty heavy,” Rose-Banks said.
The depression and anxiety began when Sybil was six months old, after the period in which Rose-Banks and his wife, Lisette López-Rose, struggled to feed their daughter at night. Sybil was not gaining weight and the couple had to wake their newborn every hour to feed her.
They were exhausted.
After his wife suffered from postpartum depression, he suggested that he might be experiencing the same roller coaster of emotions.
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“She said you need to watch out for these things and unfortunately I didn’t see her signs when she was going through her first delivery, but she said, ‘We’re not going to make the same mistake twice.’
The couple joined a postpartum support group with Postpartum Support International (PSI). Group meetings helped.
Rose-Banks said she is still working on recovery, but feels much more capable of coping and calming down.
Both parents have set out to bring the postpartum discussion into the mainstream, especially for parents.
Lisette has launched a social media page detailing your ongoing journey.
Rose-Banks said any future parent finds out about her struggle, including her co-workers and even her boss.
“The first thing I told them was to make sure to research postpartum. It’s not a joke and it doesn’t just affect your wife, it affects you.
“He’s a huge elephant in the room when it comes to men.”
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Sheila Duffy, Director of Pacific Postpartum Support Societysaid more should be said about male postpartum depression and anxiety.
“Dads are at higher risk if their partner has had postpartum depression or anxiety,” Duffy said.
“I think with parents in particular, it can be challenging as it may not be the way they have been socialized to communicate and talk about their issues.
“It’s a bit misleading, the name, because it’s actually perinatal depression and anxiety, which means symptoms often start during pregnancy.”
It is estimated that one in 10 dads suffers from postpartum depression.
Duffy said that number could be higher, especially as the pandemic has led to more isolation and lack of support.
Add in work from home or a mother suffering from postpartum depression, the father may feel like he has to stay calm and “take some of the slack.”
“We know this because calls to our support line have increased. The demand for support has increased dramatically. “
Families from across Canada and parts of the United States have been calling or texting for counseling, seeking emotional support.
Pacific Postpartum Support Line: 604-255-7999
Duffy said that anxiety and depression can manifest in different ways: anger, frustration, or irritability. A new parent can spend more time at work because it is the only place where they feel competent.
“A lot of people just say, ‘I don’t know if this is what it is,’” Duffy said, “because a lot of the things that they are experiencing are all the things that all parents experience. It’s more about how it’s affecting your daily functioning. “
Duffy said it is important to contact someone who can help.
“The thing about this is that it is treatable. Highly treatable “.
Rose-Banks credits his wife for helping him through his postpartum battle and encouraged other dads not to feel embarrassed about seeking help from loved ones and support groups.
The father said it was the best for his family, especially for his little girl.
“She is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It does not weaken you. It doesn’t make you less of a man. “
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