You probably assume at least some things about fatherhood—perhaps that it’s filled with joy and love and, at least at first, sleep deprivation. What you likely don’t know? That one in 10 dads experience a perinatal mood and anxiety disorder (PMAD)—that’s postpartum depression, anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), for example—after becoming a father.
Makes sense. The lessons we teach boys and men about vulnerability go something like this: Don’t be vulnerable; it’s an antithesis to strength, explains Daniel Singley, Ph.D., a San Diego-based board-certified psychologist and director of The Center for Men’s Excellence, who studies postpartum mood disorders in men. The short version of what society teaches men about fatherhood? That it’s all about providing and protecting.
“Part of the damage we’re doing to men is training them that mental health difficulty and vulnerability are not okay; that they are weakening,” Singley says.
We also often