A father suffering from 'daddy depression' has shared his open letter to his daughter explaining why he 'didn't like' her in the first few weeks after she was born.
In the open letter, which Ross describes as one of the hardest things he has ever written, he talks about his battle with postnatal depression and why he ‘hated’ his daughter, 11-month-old Isabelle.
Ross with his daughter Isabelle
Ross is careful to stress to his daughter that none of these feelings are her fault. He explains that while Isabelle is not yet old enough to read or understand, he wrote the letter as a way of opening up the discussion in the future.
The letter begins: ‘Isabelle, this is going to be a hard letter to write, but probably a harder one to read. But don’t worry. I’m going to be with you as you read it. I’m not going to let you find any of this out on your own; I want to be there with you as you read what I’m about to say.’
He continued: ‘This might not sound very nice. But for the first 12 or so weeks after you were born, I didn’t like you very much. Some of the following things are going to be hard to read, but it’s very important that I’m honest with you, even if that honesty is difficult to hear. But there were times when I hated you…
‘But you have to know this: those feelings are never me. You see, there’s something inside daddy called depression.’
The letter ends: ‘I know you’re going to have questions about this. And I always want to be someone you can talk to about anything. This letter was just a way of getting the conversation started. Love, Dad’.
According to the NHS postnatal depression can affect men but it is much less common. More than one in every 10 women who give birth will struggle with the condition.
If you think you are struggling with postnatal depression, or know someone who might be, it is important to get help as soon as possible. Head to nhs.uk/conditions/post-natal-depression for more information or speak to your GP or health visitor.