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Walking on Eggshells-Postnatal Depression and the Subsequent Parenting for Men




Much has been written concerning the mental health effects of postnatal depression for women, but the effect on male partners has not previously been explored. This chapter highlights the need to develop a body of knowledge about men's health that goes beyond the mainstream concerns of physical wellbeing.

The chapter begins by highlighting the facts that: mental illness is grossly under recognised in our community; health services operating under direction of current policy initiatives do not adequately meet the needs of those suffering mental health problems; and contemporary gender roles generate unnecessary stresses that can contribute to mental health problems.

This contextualisation is essential to gain a heightened appreciation of the fact that, for both sexes, the stresses developing in connection with pregnancy and parenthood may be superimposed on pre-existing life stressors that are not insignificant.


Contents include

  • Introduction
  • Mental health in Australia
  • Work and Family
  • The pregnant couple
  • The man during the pregnancy
  • Postnatal depression
  • Postnatal depression and subsequent pregnancy
  • The Role of the health professional
  • Conclusion
  • Acknowledgments
  • References
  • Personal communication
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Author / Editor Biographies

RN, RM, Cert (Maternal and Child Health), BN, MSc (Primary Health Care) and FRCNA.
enny Donovan is a member of The Flinders University School of Nursing in South Australia. She wrote the following notes about this chapter: The project for my Master of Science degree evolved from the work of Barclay (1993) who interviewed couples during pregnancy and found a mismatch with regard to the sexual interest levels between men and women during pregnancy. I worked with Professor Lesley Barclay for my project and my novice research skills improved within the culture of a research-oriented and collaborative team of nurses, midwives and doctors at Flinders University. That environment p...

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