Just over half of expecting dads feel that they will be a terrible parent and struggle with confidence about becoming a parent

Let’s get real.

Every child has the right to be safe, happy and healthy . . . and so do their parents. That’s why we are speaking out this November, to raise awareness of Perinatal Anxiety & Depression.

Perinatal anxiety and depression are serious medical conditions that are more common than you think. But, since there is poor community awareness and understanding about the illness, its far-reaching impacts are often overlooked.

November 10 – 16 is Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Awareness (PANDA) Week. So, we are talking with Julie Borninkhof, Clinical Psychologist and CEO of Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia (PANDA), to ‘get real’ about mental illness during pregnancy and the first 12 months after birth.

LISTEN TO OUR INTERVIEW HERE

According to Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia (PANDA), too many people are still afraid to talk about perinatal anxiety and depression; too many people don’t know the signs and symptoms; and, too many people don’t realise that fathers and non-birth parents can also experience depression and anxiety in the perinatal period. In fact, a whopping 60 per cent of Australians are unaware that perinatal anxiety and depression can be experienced by men.

Just over half of expecting dads feel that they will be a terrible parent and struggle with confidence about becoming a parent

So we are here to tell you that it can - and it is.

Recent findings from PANDAs online mental health checklist tool reveal that just over half (53%) of expecting dads feel that they will be a terrible parent and struggle with confidence about becoming a parent. 

Up to one in five expecting or new mums will be affected by perinatal anxiety or depression and as many as one in ten expecting or new dads will too. Across Australia, 100,000 families will be impacted every year.

Increasing overall awareness of mental illness during pregnancy and the first 12 months after birth is PANDAs number one priority, with a particular need to increase awareness that:

  • Depression occurs during pregnancy and not just after birth

  • Anxiety is just as common, if not more, so than depression

  • Fathers and non-birth parents can also experience depression and anxiety in the perinatal period

Relationship troubles are alarmingly common during the perinatal period with three in four (76%) expecting parents experiencing more conflict, and 85% of new mums and 65% of new dads struggling with intimacy.

The transition to parenthood is a major life event and raising a human being is no easy task.

So, why is it that we fear being seen as a bad parent if we reveal what we are really feeling?

Over 25,000 individuals have completed PANDAs online mental health tool for expecting and new parents. Checklist data confirms that if left untreated, perinatal anxiety and depression can have devastating consequences for the whole family unit.

The PANDA Perinatal Mental Health Checklist, intended to help ALL parents to assess their emotional wellbeing, can be accessed HERE

Jump online and check it out and share it with your friends - guys and gals!

We must not forget, or ignore, that having a baby brings many challenges, even to men. New dads can feel just as confused, anxious or lonely as new mums. According to the latest data, two-thirds (65%) of dads feel more withdrawn from their partner.

It’s time get real about pregnancy and becoming a parent. It’s time to overcome the misconceptions.

Howisdadgoing.org.au is PANDA’s emotional and mental health support site for new and expecting dads. The site busts the myths and misconceptions about fatherhood and unveils the signs and symptoms of perinatal anxiety and depression in men.

Clearly, we need to get better at checking in with expectant and new Mums AND Dads.

According to PANDA, some of the factors that might contribute to perinatal anxiety and depression in men include:

  • Family or personal history of anxiety or depression

  • Partner is struggling with perinatal anxiety or depression

  • Stressful life events

  • A troubled pregnancy

  • Infertility or previous pregnancy loss

  • Relationship difficulties

  • Financial difficulties

  • Lack of social support

Julie reminds us that there remains considerable scope, and a need for, continued awareness-raising around anxiety, mental health in pregnancy and men's mental health. Expectant and new parents need to know their mental health matters.

Any major life change, such the anticipation of a baby's arrival, can contribute to anxiety or depression. And welcoming your little one to the family can take some time to adjust.

At Little Rockers Radio we are committed to making a substantial and lasting impact in the lives of children and their families. Raising awareness around perinatal anxiety and depression is vital.

Let’s end the stigma. Because there is one thing we can agree on – pregnancy and parenting is not all happy dancing.


Find out more about Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia (PANDA) information and support services HERE

For the PANDA National Helpline (Mon to Fri, 9am - 7.30pm AEST/AEDT) Call 1300 726 306

Find out more about paternal perinatal mental health support and information, visit howisdadgoing.org.au HERE