So its been 8 months since I said goodbye for now to the PND world, I spoke about how raising awareness of PND in men had become an obsession when I started writing nearly 2 years ago I was one of only a few dads talking about our struggles and telling men we needed to talk, this was and is an important message and being one of the only people spouting this message was a big responsibility to have. And it took its toll I spent months talking about the past and my road to recovery reliving all the feelings every time I told the story. I needed to get away and focus on being me and not just The PND Daddy. Well now I am back and I’m ready to blog again, this time its going to be different though. Yes I am going to talk about PND and yes I will keep telling men the importance of seeking help when it comes to improving Mental Health. But this time I am not putting pressure on myself to write. I will write when the mood takes me and about things that matter to me. This week its Kangaroo Care otherwise known as skin to skin. This is something more and more NHS Trusts are promoting. When a mother has a baby it is encouraged that as soon as the baby is born they are put skin to skin this helps to build a bond between mother and Baby. I am not in a position to talk about all the medical benefits of having skin to skin time with your baby but Tommy’s Midwifes have a good article about how kangaroo care can help you and your baby. I can however tell you how kangaroo care helped me with my mental health.
I have to admit the first time I had skin to skin it felt very strange, Elizabeth was a few hours old, I was sitting on an chair at the hospital with my top off and a baby asleep on me. It was the most natural thing in the world but it felt just strange. I never really gave it a chance, I wrote it off very quickly as not for me. For the next few months my top stayed on and it wasn’t coming off when it came to spending time with Elizabeth. It wasn’t until after my break down I began to explore skin to skin again. I thought I might have been too late and maybe she would not take to it but I thought I would give it a go. The next time she was crying and we were struggling to settle her I took my top off and laid her on my chest, she snuggled in and fell asleep listening to my heart beat. It was the closest I felt to Elizabeth ever, I instantly had a connection and a bond. From then on we had skin to skin when ever we could. Elizabeth was more settled for it and my mood improved when ever we did it. It even worked in other ways. All 3 of my kids hated water when they were young, now only one hates water, I strongly believe skin to skin had something to do with this. When Elizabeth and Andrew were young I used to get in the bath and put them on my chest bathing them whilst they were relaxed on me. Interestingly Michael is scared of water and he is the only child I haven’t had as much skin to skin with. Maybe I need to take a leaf out of my own book and give Michael a bath with me.
I would highly recommend skin to skin to both mum and dad it is an amazing way of bonding with your Baby, it helps settle your baby quicker and your mental health will see the benefits of it. I know at times it feels unnatural but its how we cared for our kids for thousands of years and is the most natural thing ever. Give it a real chance to work past the awkward feeling an you will see the benefits.