Beyondblue statistics show one in 10 women will experience depression during pregnancy, and one in seven the year following the birth of their baby.

In fact, women are more likely to experience a mental health condition around the time of having a baby than at any other stage of their life.

Research also shows one in 10 first-time dads develop postnatal depression and one in seven experience a high level of psychological distress. But according to beyondblue, 44 per cent do not seek information or support while under stress and 43 per cent see anxiety and depression after having a baby as a sign of weakness.

SMS4dads is a research project being conducted by Dr. Richard Fletcher, Faculty of Health and Medicine at the University of Newcastle in Australia.  This study is designed to test a phone based support system that sends information to Fathers during their transition to parenthood with the option to monitor their stress and link those who need support to appropriate services.

A step in the right direction for Fathers who are reluctant to seek help, often due to the belief that they need to be the one providing support to the family during this transition, not receiving it.  Mothers are often hesitant to seek help for the fear of being a burden on others at a time when they are creating and nurturing a new life.

To support others, first we ensure our basic needs are met and we are well supported. If this feel like a difficult decision to make for our self, we can take the first step for our children.  This a beautiful read to act on today and every other:

"The greatest gift we can give is our own happiness and we’re in charge of that. It’s up to us to show others what we want and need, and how we like to be treated. We’re not passive recipients of happiness but creators of it. It’s our obligation to create some for ourselves."

As mentors of new and future parents, we can discuss the seemingly unspeakable to remove the stigma of mental health and set realistic expectations of the transition to parenthood.

Self care is King, or Queen, depending on your perspective. Choose love for yourself today.  No one can make that choice for you.

Melissa Shadforth