Did you know that one in ten fathers suffers from postpartum depression?
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Muhammed Nitoto, from Berkeley, Calif., is one such dad who battled depression after the birth of his daughter.
“Postpartum depression wasn’t supposed to be just for men, and if I said anything about it, I’d sure be ashamed of it, wouldn’t I? I felt so many different things like the day my daughter was born. Obviously, I was extremely happy,” Nitoto said. “I know it’s the best day of your life, but I also remember feeling this immense pressure and then. Just can’t. I never had the impression of being happy as I should be, of being happy as I thought. You know, people thought you should be, but I was inside. I was really sad.
Nitoto shares his true fatherhood journey on his Instagram page which he calls “Dad Chronicles”.
On May 6, 2021, Nitoto posted the following post about his experience with postpartum depression.
“With May being mental health awareness, let’s talk about something we don’t talk about. Postpartum depression is a serious thing for men and women to be prepared for, but what I learned on becoming a father was that all the baby books talked about how it would affect women and how men could support them. Now, because of that, I never saw it coming as I was affected by it.
When Zendaya was born, it was the happiest day of my life. I remember all about it, but one thing that happened that I never talked about was all the different feelings of guilt that I started having. Of course, I never told my wife because she had done all the real work so I kept it to myself. Once we got home, reality hit even harder. My wife obviously couldn’t work so it was all on me. I had never felt this level of pressure before, but I stayed on my own and kept going.
I remember feeling like a failure. Like we should have had more in life and I couldn’t give it away. Making things work the worst for me was not a good thing. Financially, we were in trouble and I was responsible. I remember crying in the shower sometimes. I lost motivation to do things I loved and literally stopped taking care of myself. Finally, my wife addressed what she was seeing. I thought I was doing a good job hiding it but she saw. Postpartum simply means after childbirth. Mom and dad have an experience after birth. Most dads don’t process all the feelings that come with fatherhood and that’s the biggest mistake you can make. Children need happy, healthy parents if you really want a happy, healthy child. New dads should talk with other dads about their experiences and feelings. And women, I know you already have so many worries during childbirth, but keep an eye on your man. You may be the only one who can see what he is hiding from others.
Nitoto encourages new dads to connect and even open up with other dads and build a support system.
“Asking for help is a strength. The strongest people are not those who do not ask for help. They are the people who understand that they cannot do something alone and who have the confidence and the security of themselves such as self-assurance that getting help does not diminish them,” Nitoto said.
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