By ELI J. FINKEL, NY Times, Gray Matter, JUNE 27, 2014
For many people, a new baby is a joy, if not a challenge. For many others, there is great love, but he challenges out-weigh the joy. What are they to do? They are now tending their new lifelong commitment 24/7 and everything in their life revolves around it. Yes, there is love; but there is also the hard hard work of parenting. And then there is the shame of admitting how awful it really feels. Raising our collective awareness around this dilemma can help us create a more empathetic and effective response for these new parents, and their babies.
An excerpt from a NY Times OP ED piece exploring this issue:
“This is the ideology of modern parenting, and it can lead to unnecessary feelings of guilt and shame, for it ignores an inconvenient truth: that many women and men experience significant psychological distress in response to becoming a parent and that much of this distress isn’t caused by a hormonal epiphenomenon of the birth process. It is driven instead in large measure by the objectively bleak circumstances new parents often face. That you love your child is not always sufficient to counteract this reality. …
Although many parents happily take to their new role, millions every year respond with despair. According to a 2010 article in the Journal of the American Medical Association, among new parents — three to six months postpartum — 42 percent of mothers and 26 percent of fathers exhibit signs of clinical depression. In a longitudinal study reported earlier this year in the journal Pediatrics, men on average experienced significant increases in depressive symptomatology across the first five years of fatherhood (if and only if they lived with their child). Indeed, in the years after becoming a parent, both men and women experience significant reductions in their overall level of satisfaction with their lives, according to a 2008 paper in The Economic Journal.”