While Mother’s go through so much in postpartum, it’s important not to forget about the family unit and fathers during this huge change in everyone’s life.
Having a baby of course has many effects on Mother when it comes to hormones and nutritional needs, but, there is also another big portion of postpartum being completely looked over, and that is Fathers in postpartum.
In this episode, I chat with Joshua Maze about his personal journey through postpartum with his wife after they had their daughter, who is now a very independent 5 year old, and the different struggles he faced with his mental health prior to her birth and how it continued to get increasingly worse after the baby arrived with depression and anxiety.
This caused him to withdraw, and doubt his ability to be a good husband and father, and provider.
We get into conversations that are so often not discussed about how postpartum affects Dad’s as well as Mom’s, and the importance of getting all important parties involved and offering support and guidance to them all.
Listen to Joshua’s story and his tips on how the entire family unit should be receiving support during the transition of postpartum and bringing a new baby home.
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If you are struggling, and in need of some answers, especially immediately and you’re not able to get in to see a provider, reach out to PSI (Postpartum Support International).
This is a wonderful place to receive education and get the support that you need!
PSI Phone number: 1-800-944-4773
PSI Website >>>>here<<<<
In this episode, we share with you:
- Introducing Joshua Maze
- His postpartum journey
- Finding Postpartum Support International
- How depression can present itself differently, especially between males and females
- A huge transition for both parents, not just moms
- How can we do better to support the entire family, not just the mom?
- Including the spouse
- Oftentimes healthcare professionals neglect supporting the whole family
- Screening both parents for depression
- Men generally do not get any parental leave & the issue with it
- Starting to see change
- The biggest piece of advice from Joshua for Mom listeners
- The importance of communication
- Offering support to your spouse
- If you are struggling with your postpartum journey or know someone who is and need some answers, I encourage you to reach out to PSI for more education, support, and answers.
PSI Phone number – 1-800-944-4773
We all get it: postpartum and the years after having a baby is no walk in the park. But you know what? It isn’t just about depression or anxiety either.
Hey, my friend, I’m Maranda Bower, a homesteading mama with four wild kids. My life passion and education is all about supporting mothers and providers in understanding the science, the art, and the sacredness of healing after birth. What we know as common sense in the postpartum years has many women feeling just plain awful. It’s time to bring back the truth. Get you the tools you need to heal and thrive in motherhood and beyond.
Hey, everyone, it’s Maranda Bower with the Postpartum Circle podcast, and I am incredibly excited today because I have a very special guest for you, particularly in celebration of Father’s Day. Today, we’re going to be talking with Joshua Mays, who is a specialized coordinator for dads through PSI. He’s going to tell us about his experiences with postpartum and really just opening up this conversation about dads and the postpartum experience.
So, Joshua, welcome!
“Hi. Yeah, thank you so much for having me.”
This is such a unique thing. I feel like we are beginning to have these conversations about postpartum depression, anxiety, and all things related in terms of moms. But what we hear even less is how this impacts dads. I’m very excited, as I had mentioned, to have this conversation. I’d love to hear about your story, how you got into this position with PSI, and what brought you here.
“Yeah, absolutely. I’m so glad that this is important to you and your listeners. As for my personal story, I have dealt with mental health concerns, depression, and anxiety for a better part of my life. When my wife became pregnant and our daughter was born—she’s now five years old—my depression and anxiety amplified. The self-doubt and anxiety, wondering if I was doing it right, being a good father and provider, the experience of having my daughter just intensified everything. It took me a while to understand why. That’s how I found PSI, one link led to the other. Now, here I am, helping dads who are in similar situations. It’s a gratifying experience.”
Absolutely, and such a needed service. Can you tell us a bit about how the experiences of moms with depression and anxiety might compare or contrast with those of dads going through postpartum?
“Yes, absolutely. It’s important to know there’s a difference. Generally speaking, there’s a difference in how depression and anxiety present in moms versus dads, or women versus men. For women, depression might lean more towards sadness. For men, it can manifest as anger, rage, or being withdrawn. It’s essential to recognize that these can look different. Especially for spouses, understanding the symptoms can vary, and knowing how to be a good support is crucial.”
I appreciate that insight. It speaks volumes about the different emotions stemming from this experience. This period is a transition not just for moms but for dads too. It’s a significant change for both parents, whether it’s the birth of the first child or the tenth.
Tell us a little bit more about how we can do better in the ways of supporting families, not just the moms but also the dads, especially those who are listening in as providers, medical providers, doulas, midwives, OBs.
“Absolutely, and I really appreciate that question. During the pregnancy and, you know, as my wife was going into labor and then, you know, after the birth, going to some of those, you know, those initial pediatrician appointments, I tried to be as involved and go to as many appointments as possible. But, you know, I really felt disconnected from the whole process, especially this being our first child. I had lots of questions. I had lots of concerns. And most of the doctors along the way didn’t slow down and make sure that I was doing OK, and it was a scary time for me.
“My wife labored for a very long time and wound up needing to have an emergency C-section. And absolutely, the health of my wife and my daughter were paramount. But I didn’t feel like I was a part of that conversation. Nothing was explained to me. It was, “All right, let’s go.” And I was like, “Is this necessary? Is this what we want? Can we take just a moment to explain what is going on?” And in similar situations in the prenatal appointments, I would go to as many of those as possible. And I felt like my questions were kind of landing on deaf ears.
“And so, yeah, I think, to your question, just making sure that the dad or whoever, the other family members that are in the room that might have a voice in the raising of the child, making sure that those questions are answered. Because it really is an event that’s going to impact the whole family. And unless it is obviously an emergency situation, let’s take just a couple of seconds to make sure that the spouse is included.”
Yeah, I absolutely love that. And I find the dynamic between mother and baby and father and baby and then the family unit as a whole. Like we can speak on those three separate topics alone, like the mother-baby dyad, the father-baby dyad, and then the family unit as together. And each one of those has very specific needs. And so oftentimes, we neglect so many of— we neglect all three of those in terms of healthcare and, and really supporting the family, but even more so in terms of the father.
And I often hear in my line of work, especially working with professionals in this space and supporting women, where, you know, and even women having this idea, and I’m going to say it, and it’s going to be not the greatest. And I’ve had this thought myself, especially after my own postpartum journey with my first was like, “Well, I just gave birth, right? This is me, like, yeah, he’s got his own experiences, but I’m the one who just had a baby, right?” And I, and I think that’s valid and so important. And that’s why when we are speaking of the mother-baby dyad, right? And also acknowledging that space needs to be held, as well as the father-baby, and then the mother and, and father and family unit together, and, and really drawing. And that’s why we’re having this conversation, because it’s so important to recognize that all of these pieces and that the father’s experience also directly impacts the mothers. And vice versa, as you had just shared, like her, her experience in that labor room affected your feelings and, and your emotions in your postpartum journey.
“Absolutely. Yeah. And, you know, it has been shown that if one partner has, you know, postpartum depression or anxiety, you know, some mental health concern, it’s likely that the other partner will as well. So it is very important to make sure that both partners are screened during the, the, the, you know, first pediatrician appointments, make sure that those tools are in place so that those conversations can start, whether it is in, you know, the, the more medical offices, or if it’s doulas or midwives or wherever these conversations might originate, just making sure that the spouse is included in that. And check in, see how dad’s doing ’cause that’s gonna affect mom’s mental health as well.”
A thousand percent. And oftentimes when I work one-on-one with my clients and we’re focusing on nutrition, we’re focusing on sleep, hormone balance, all of these key pieces. And often the conversation comes up almost every single time where we’re talking about, “What about dad, what about my partner? Can this benefit him too? Because I notice XYZ, right?” Like, you know, and it’s absolutely because so often not only do we as moms tend to neglect our own needs for our baby, our partners do the same and neglecting their own needs for nourishment and rest and bonding because their minds are elsewhere, trying to take care of raising a family. “Am I doing this right? Am I doing a good job? Should I, you know, all of these other components?” And so I often find that when working with moms, we’re also simultaneously working with dads, even if they’re not necessarily coming to the meetings and having the conversations in our sessions together.
“Absolutely. And, you know, I think the nationwide issue that we have of men generally not getting any parental leave when they have a child is one more stressor that new dads face, myself included. I was able to take one week’s vacation, and I had to go back to work. So I missed out on those formative bonding times with my daughter. I felt like I wasn’t able to take care of the medical and physical needs of my wife who had just had a C-section. And that really contributed to my own mental health because I felt like I had responsibilities to take care of my family by going to work but I also needed to be there physically to take care of them that way. It was really frustrating and scary, but the positive aspect that I’m really happy to report is when I talk to dads from across the country, more and more fathers are saying that their company has allowed them leave. So I think that there is starting to see change in that. I wish that it was on more of a national level, but I’m so encouraged to hear that companies are starting to recognize the importance of fathers taking that leave as well.”
Oh, I appreciate you sharing that information. We have listeners on this podcast from all across the world and many who hear that, and I hear this often, about how absolutely insane it is that we do this to families in terms of not offering them the time and space they need to fully heal, recover, and bond with their baby. We’re forced back into the work world, many of us without any other option, and how that greatly impacts not just our mental health but the way we contribute to the world and society as a whole and our abilities to really function at the level that we need to. So I appreciate you saying that. That’s really exciting to hear that you’re noticing a big shift in the way businesses are treating families.
“Yeah, it is really encouraging to hear that, and I talk to dads all over the country, so it’s not necessarily just isolated in one city or one pocket of the country. More and more businesses, it seems, are going that route. So I hope that that continues to be the trend and that more and more families are able to stay together during that postpartum period.”
What would you say would be like the biggest piece of advice that you can give our mom listeners when it comes to the topic of dads and postpartum?
“I think the best advice that I can give is to keep those lines of communication open. It has to be intentional because so much focus goes to the baby, so much focus is on mom’s health, but in general, the couple dynamic tends to kind of fall apart. Just having those conversations about ‘how are you feeling?’ And the same goes for dads. Dads, check on your wives, check on your spouses to see how they are doing, how is their mental health? Because I think that the mental health piece gets overlooked for both parents. To your question, moms, check-in with dad and see how is he doing and how is this new change affecting him? And is there any resources that we can get for him or any supports that he might need?”
Yeah, I think that is the absolute best advice that I’ve heard and keeping the communication lines open and being very intentional. Like, I love that you’re saying that because we can have conversations, and I often find this with my clients, like, “oh, well, I told them how I feel, but nothing happens, right?” And there’s so much more behind that. Let’s open this dialogue and say, “well, how are you feeling?” And “here’s how I’m feeling” and “what can we do about it?” Let’s bond over this rather than split apart because we see things differently. Let’s hug over it, let’s have these conversations, shed some tears, and look forward to what could be even more. And I often find that to be the missing piece. Oftentimes, we want someone who’s just going to listen, but also, we need tools, we need support that goes well above and beyond. And that’s another thing that dads are really great at, providing those tools, right? And wanting to be that support but also recognizing and having those conversations that say, “you know what, he might also need those tools.”
Yeah. And recognizing the support for mom and support for dad might look different. So it’s essential to have those intentional conversations about what do you need, how can we help each other? Who do we need to bring in, whether it’s formal therapy and counseling sessions, a postpartum doula, or more medical issues that we need to get out in the open? But again, having those intentional conversations.
Thank you so much for your time, Joshua. I really appreciate this. And I am so glad that you were here to join us as a very special guest, particularly for Father’s Day here in the States. And I just want to say thank you for sharing your time and your wisdom here.
“You are so welcome. And is it okay if I give the postpartum support international contacts for all of your listeners?”
Absolutely, and we can also drop those links in the show notes too.
“The phone number is 1-800-944-4773, and you can call or text that number. The website is postpartum.net, and I encourage moms, dads, caregivers, doulas, everyone, to go to that website. There’s a bunch of excellent information, support groups for both mom and dad, so definitely check that out and call our helpline if there’s any questions or concerns.”
I appreciate that. I love PSI, I’m certified through them as well, and I find them to be an absolute wealth of knowledge. I recommend that if you are having some struggles, need some answers, especially immediately, and you’re not able to get in to see a provider, that PSI is the place to call and get support, so thank you for that, yes, absolutely.
Thanks for tuning in and taking the time to learn about how to support your body in deep healing. We don’t do this work just for us or for you. Your healing impacts your children, your relationships, and your community. We do this work because the health and vibrancy of our world begins with its mothers.
I hope you have taken some valuable information today and applied it to your own life. If you aren’t sure where to begin, reach out about working together one-on-one or, at minimum, learning about my postpartum nutrition plan, which is where I start every single one of my clients. You can do that by going to MarandaBower.com.
Hope you enjoyed this episode. Let us know by leaving a review, and we will see you next time.
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