Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Men suffer post pregnancy stress too

So, I came across several studies about men’s perspectives of the child birth experience, fathers had this notion that;
They were most helpful to their partners during labor 
And they found childbirth very stressful!

The consensus was that- Fathers’ needs and roles should be regularly assessed during childbirth as the way in which they experience childbirth may have some influence on their emotional well being.

I need me a Prism face here!

An Obstetrician gives his view point supporting this notion of male post partum depression:

"When I was first involved in obstetrics in the Fifties, it was unheard of for a man to be present as their child was born. Childbirth was predominately a woman's preserve - usually carried out at home - and while a man may be in the vicinity at the time of labour, in the kitchen probably boiling copious amounts of water, and generally missing the actual event.
However, by the late Seventies, all pregnant women were saying they could not imagine giving birth without their husband at their side.
Now, not only is the husband nearly always present at birth, but with his wife clasping his hand during labour and screaming out for reassurance, he became an active participant.

The reality is that, for her, his presence is a hindrance, and a significant factor in why labours are longer, more painful and more likely to result in intervention than ever.

As for the effect on a man, over the years, I have seen something akin to post-natal depression in many men who have been present at the birth.
In its mild form, men often take to their bed in the week following the birth, complaining of everything from a stomach ache or migraine to a 24-hour bug. Their wives, meanwhile, are up and about, caring for their baby and in good spirits, and tell me how unfortunate it is that their husband has been struck down by one ailment or another.
There are also men who try to find ways to escape the reality of what they have been through. This could just be a night at the pub, or a day playing golf when their child is a day old.
I've known of perfectly well-balanced men who held their wife's hand through labour then left the next day never to return again.
And in the most graphic example, one perfectly healthy man had his first experience of schizophrenia two days after watching his wife give birth" (Sounds like a scene from a Nollywood movie..lol). Read more here
People please help me corroborate. The two things I know men do during labor are: 
Take pictures/videos
Read Newspapers
Play phone games
Social media
How in the world does that translate to ‘stress’? He is not the one who carried a kicking turning 7 pound football for 9 months. He didn’t push it out of a small crack.
(Ahem, Housewives tales has it that a husband watching a baby emerge from that most cherished vaginal orifice kills future sexual desire).
]\Maybe it is the thought of future ‘relations’ (thank you Lady Ngo) that is causing the stress?
Obviously this research was conducted in the West because Africa has bigger problems. I would rather research on ‘African/Nigerian men’s perception about their role in pregnancy’ because seriously I have regularly witnessed some gross neglect from the same husbands that would rather bandy round town receiving pats on their back for their perceived virility while their poor wife is writhing and moaning on the hospital bed after 18 hrs of labour.

A few other deeds of neglect (you are welcome to add to the list):
Not helping around the home
Expecting her to cook and entertain like before pregnancy
Never accompanying her for Ante-natals: Studies show that only 1 out of 3 women attend at least one antenatal clinic. Any wonder they are dying from simple health complications that a little preventive medical attention could have solved.
Never rubbing her back
Not buying her the medicine she needs: Iron deficiency is real and common among African women
Not making sure she eats well: She is eating for two you know!
Not making sure she uses the best of healthcare affordable: Studies show that deliveries were more likely to be in hospitals or by a trained medical personnel if husbands or the spouses decide on the place of delivery. Men may have more knowledge about hospitals, less concerned about cultural and traditional beliefs, and more concerned about the well being of their wives and children.
Not knowing your wife's EDD (expected due date) and then conveniently be away on the D-day so she is left to find her own way to the clinic. It’s all about planning. If you can’t be available, at least make contingency plans.
I had a neighbor who was away on two separate occasions during the birth of his children. One of the other neighbors on each occasion had to be woken up and asked to take her to a clinic. This same man does not believe in carrying babies. His excuse “they are too tiny, they might fall off my hands”.

I know some of these problems are related to poverty but some cooperative planning between a supportive husband and wife can make a difference.

Dear Wives, you too must learn to ask/demand your husband’s cooperation if he wants to answer proud Daddy. Don’t bear it all alone or keep making excuses for him. Believe me, if men were the ones who had to go through pregnancy, you the wife would be expected to wait on him hand and foot. You’ve nursed a sick man before haven’t ya?
I rest my case!


  1. I find it hilarious. I am sure the article was researched by a man...they absolutely want to make themselves relevant in the birthing process. Lets allow them....:)

    1. lol@ make themselves relevant. Yes o lets allow them if it translates to increased contribution towards child care!

  2. So men have post-partum depression? Interesting. All from just snapping pictures, making calls and generally lazying around? Alright.
    I'll go on a limb here and say some men are usually not ready/prepared to have the attention shift from them so they sulk and call it PPD :P *flees*

    The guy that took off and never came back though. Scary stuff O_O

  3. Only a man could have conducted this study. PPD ko PMT ni *hisssss*

    The only depression they have is related to withdrawal symptoms from reduced sex.

    I blame lazy husbands on the wives. If you could get away with doing nothing...wouldnt you love it.
    God gave me a mouth for a reason. If someone is not pulling his/her weight, I am ready to 'talk' their feet into moving. LOL

  4. I dunno... I feel like Naija men are starting to participate more in childbirth. Or maybe it's the ones I know.

  5. Awww poor men! So fragile, lol! But why are we finding it hard to believe this study? It's not fair. They may actually really suffer from depression. Poor poor men.

    Nobody should form depression around me sha after I give birth. I won't take that nonsense.


  6. I was already shaking my head horizontally and vigorously so until I got to your own synopses....The research was definitely conducted in the West...They are the ones who have a name for every feeling in this world, HIAN!!!

    I am totally with you on how Nigeria Men perceive it tho. If nothing else, I know that my dad was "conveniently" never around for the birth of all 4 of us. And I remember that when my mum had my bay bro, I literally left her at home to go to school in the morning and came back from school the following day to meet her and the tiny one at home. She spent only 1 night in L'hopital cos she had to be back home to take care of us existing shireeen.

    All these things should be discussed and gotten a pulse on during dating, frankly. I know that it doesnt guarantee anything, but at least, it puts the word out for the male folk and gives an idea of what individual women have as expectations, with regards to this.

    Plus, in fairness to the menfolk, these things seem to be changing these days. I believe they are getting more involved. Hopefully, it is not a fluke

  7. kai...this oyinbo people can like to form big big english. Please they should start conducting research in Africa, Nigeria especially sef.

    I have conducted my own research in my office corner here jare.It is the lack of sleep after the birth (due to the baby crying) that my male colleague complained about. Two guys even said they relocated sharply to the next available space. They also said because their wives had their baby during the day, they were in the office when the birth happened.

  8. I won't be surprised that men who are close to their wives suffer some form of emotional problems related to pregnancy and birth. Do you know the number of women who die in the process? For someone who cares for that person, one is too much sef. And then caring for an infant can be very stressful too.

    But a lot of men in Nigeria don't really care deeply, and sometimes their wives keep them distant from the whole process that it is hard for them to be emotionally invested.

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  10. so on point .....what's that? men are sick/mental because they watched labor??, eehen.. they should try being the ONE in labor and the world will stop turning.. you are right o.. you put it best .. You’ve nursed a sick man before haven’t ya?

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