Dad’s Matter Too.

I don’t know how to talk about dads without someone making assumptions about who I am. I am quite firmly in the middle of this #metoo movement, equal rights and pay for all, with the intersectional feminism force. I focus deeply on the need to support new families that in a way, our society is failing. I support all types of families.

That said, whenever talking with groups, I always make a point to acknowledge dads or partners. Most times when I make mention of dads, I get asked ‘why waste resources on dads when there is not enough for moms?’ I hear the underlying naivety but also binary confusion here.

My ‘go to’ response is usually something about dad being the natural support for mom. This is a half truth.

The truth is: dads matter too! AND there are plenty of resources if we continue to build awareness and ask for it.

I don’t want anyone to compare this to the black lives matter vs blue lives matter movements. We know that is a defensive argument to not support black lives matter. The reality is moms are dying AND dads are too. This is pluralism where two truths exist at the same time AND maybe they exist together because they are a result of the same disrupted system to begin with.

Over the last two weeks I have heard about AND/OR supported families through death by suicide for FOUR dads. The common denominator is that they were all in their 30s with children under the age of five.

According to the American Association of Suicidology, over 47,000 people in the United States died by suicide in 2017. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death nationally, and it is the 2nd leading cause of death for youth aged 10-34. One person every 11 minutes. 3.5 males for every 1 female.

This takes me on a whirlwind of how to do better to support dads (or even men without children we can see). How do we support men, when our current society is having a complicated relationship with understanding them or being afraid of them?

First, let’s try to understand depression in men. Here are the symptoms via NIH.gov:

  • Anger, irritability, or aggressiveness
  • Feeling anxious, restless, or “on the edge”
  • Loss of interest in work, family, or once-pleasurable activities
  • Problems with sexual desire and performance
  • Feeling sad, “empty,” flat, or hopeless
  • Not being able to concentrate or remember details
  • Feeling very tired, not being able to sleep, or sleeping too much
  • Overeating or not wanting to eat at all
  • Thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts
  • Physical aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems
  • Inability to meet the responsibilities of work, caring for family, or other important activities
  • Engaging in high-risk activities
  • A need for alcohol or drugs
  • Withdrawing from family and friends or becoming isolated

Isolation, lack of connection, and low feelings of worth are the big ones. How long can ANYONE feel like they are worthless or causing more harm to their loved ones before they do something to relieve the pain?

I want you to know there is help and you are not alone.

So more information on why dads matter can be found here. We know kids with involved fathers tend to grow up with more self-esteem and daughters become sexually active later in life (presumably because they don’t crave male attention). Children with involved fathers tend to have higher cognitive achievement in the early years and grow to be more socially adjusted later in life.

Though this post is about men, non-gestating/ birthing partners of all sorts need to be supported.

There is help. At Forward Wellness we are working on developing a dads’ group facilitated by Frank Bienkowski . This is just a small step. There is a lot more work to be done. Please reach out for support today. #dadsmattertoo

Also, want to give a shout out for this awesome article about Postpartum Depression for Dads.

Take care of each other,

J

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