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Am J Mens Health. 2016 Sep;10(5):428-39. doi: 10.1177/1557988315574740. Epub 2015 Mar 4.

"Waiting for Better Times": Experiences in the First Postpartum Year by Swedish Fathers With Depressive Symptoms.

Author information

1
Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden maigun.edhborg@ki.se.
2
Stockholm County Council, Stockholm, Sweden.
3
Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
4
Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden Stockholm County Council, Stockholm, Sweden.

Abstract

Swedish fathers are largely involved in their infant's care, and Sweden has a generous parental leave, with 2 months especially assigned for fathers. The prevalence of depressive symptoms postpartum for fathers appears to be similar as for mothers in Sweden. This study aimed to describe fathers' experiences of the first year postpartum, when they showed depressive symptoms 3 to 6 months postpartum. Semistructured interviews with 19 fathers were conducted and analyzed with content analysis. The fathers experienced loss of control and powerlessness due to discrepancies between their expectations and the reality they met after birth. They found the everyday-life turbulent, with much stress and worries for the infant, conflicts between family and work, and lack of support in everyday life. In addition, the fathers struggled with impaired partner-relationship, losses, and contradictory messages from both the society and their partners. These findings indicate that the fathers had difficulties to balance the competing demands of family, work, and their own needs. Thus, it is important to identify fathers with depressive symptoms at the Child Health Care Centers and attend to fathers' needs of support and acknowledge them as parents equal to mothers.

KEYWORDS:

content analysis; depressive symptoms; fathers; lived experiences; postnatal

PMID:
25739550
DOI:
10.1177/1557988315574740
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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