Recently there have been many publicised incidents of postnatal depression in men and after recent research by Oxford University and awareness by myself. But Dads Matter UK now aim to make awareness and educate about fathers who experience post-traumatic stress disorder associated with labour and childbirth. This led us to look at the facts. Some of the men in question had reported their 'labours experience' as exceptionally hard but some were quite normal. We all know that most labours are fine what happen in the labour room . but for some men it can leave deep psychological scars; that are less related to postnatal depression, but more akin to the anxiety disorder PTSD.
Fathers may experience witnessing they're loved ones and baby in distress in the labour room and sometimes witnessing even more blood loss than the mother. The father feels so unhelpful as he watches the trauma of unfold in front of him. The father will experience nightmares and flashbacks first recognised during the Falklands War having previously been known as Shell Shock in the First World War. More recently it has been accepted that PTSD can occur after accidents or disasters and we now seem to have evidence that it can and does occur as a result of traumatic childbirth. Many of those affected have experienced the birthing process as psychological and physical torture.
Feelings of intense fear, helplessness and/or terror.
The re-experiencing of the event by recurrent intrusive memories, flashbacks and/or nightmares. The individual will usually feel distressed, anxious or panicky when exposed to anything which reminds them of the event.
Avoidance of anything that reminds them of the trauma. This can include talking about it, the place where the trauma happened or people that may have been involved in the trauma. (such as hospitals, doctors, healthcare professionals) Even T.V programs or books maybe avoided and even sense of smell from the labour room.
Bad memories and flash backs often result in difficulties with sleeping and concentrating, thus affecting daily activities. Sufferers may also feel angry, irritable and be hyper-vigilant or jumpy, easily startled.
Suffers may suffer panic attacks, depression and anxiety. They may feel detached, alone and have a sense of something bad may happen to them or their loved ones.
Mark Williams founder of Dads Matter UK says" We must educate and make awareness of post-traumatic stress disorder for fathers, we must remember that there is a father in the room and if the mother is being treated than the father must be given information on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)" We know about the recent information about solders in the armed forces and encounter the situation sometimes worse as it's they're loved one and not prepared for seeing loved ones in so much discomfort and in some cases lose of life. Dads Matter UK will provide information for fathers on the following:-
Body work, massage;
Psychotherapy; counseling; and professional support.