Did you know that adoptive fathers can get postpartum too?
Only a couple of years ago, biological dads were saying “you know, I think I have postpartum,” and mothers were all like, “oh c’mon, Reggie, just let us have one thing, would you?”
Assuming of course that your name is Reggie, which according to our website stats – it is!
Anywho, Karen Foli, of Purdue University’s School of Nursing got to thinking about postpartum in fathers – specifically adoptive fathers. Foli recruited fathers from an online support group that had adopted within the last two years.
Foli found that four main factors that predicted depression in those adopted fathers: younger ages of the adopted children, less perceived support from the father’s friends, lower scores on the Dyadic Adjustment Scale (which is essentially a relationship satisfaction scale), and higher scores on the unmet expectations of the child (we kind of don’t know what this means).
“Rates of paternal postadoption depression” says the study, “were 24% and 11% as measured by the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression scale (CES-D) and Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS), respectively.”
Foli believes that it is necessary for adoption services to offer some sort of in-home care for the parents after the adoption to ensure that the psychological needs of both the mother and father are being met. As well, clinical professionals need to acknowledge the depression in new dads, and the similarities and differences between it and the postpartum that new mothers suffer.
New fathers themselves need also to validate, confront and solve all of those confusing post-birth emotions, regardless of whether the baby came out of their own parts or not.
The study, titled “Depression in Adoptive Fathers: An Exploratory Mixed Methods Study,” can be found in this month’s issue of Psychology of Men & Masculinity.