Postpartum Depression in Men

Well you are not only one to get depressed after giving birth to a baby. Your husband or partner might also be suffering from postpartum depression.

Studies indicate that one in ten fathers suffer from postpartum depression. In women, postpartum depression is triggered by various factors such as fluctuating hormones, difficult labor, total lack of sleep, fatigue, stress, feelings of inadequacy, weight gain and lack of free time.

One might argue as to why fathers are depressed after the birth of the child since there are no hormones involved there. This is probably why, postpartum depression in men is often ignored and therefore not treated, resulting in many broken families and long-term behavioral problems in the child.

Reasons for postpartum depression in men are the same as the women except for the hormones. Initial symptoms of postpartum depression in men would sleep deprivation, stress, fatigue, loss of interest, aggression, suicidal feelings, restlessness, feelings of inadequacy and guilt. With men, it is quite difficult to diagnose postpartum depression since they are likely to hide it from their partner or withdraw from others.

Studies indicate that postpartum depression in men would develop over the course of the year unlike women who would experience it immediately after the birth of the child. Men in general, will not be vocal about how they are feeling and this worsens the situation with the passage of time.

Men with postpartum depression will classically exhibit the following symptoms – increased anger and conflict, increased use of alcohol or smoking, violent behavior, loss of weight, recklessness, rash driving, extra-marital affairs, loss of interest in sex, suicidal thoughts, irritation and problems with concentration and motivation. Some men, typically would lose all interest in work or they would become obsessive about their work. However all these symptoms will not manifest at the same time.

In most cases, when left untreated this condition brings much unhappiness and discontent in the family resulting in separation and divorce.  The causes of postpartum depression in men could be due to jealousy. Some actually envy the new arrival for taking the attention of their partner. In some cases, the mother is over-protective of the child and is not willing to share the child with the spouse. This kind of behavior makes the father feel unloved and unwanted. It also becomes difficult for him to bond with the new born.

Women who are depressed often cry out loud and seek help by talking their heart out but men do not do that. It is not a manly thing for them to admit they are under stress or depression. This kind of typical mental make-up is what makes it very hard for the doctors to detect that they are suffering from postpartum depression.

Seek help before it is too late. Talk to your friends who have had babies of their own. Join support and help groups or counseling sessions to help you come out of depression. The support of your partner and family is also a very important thing during this period. Talk frankly to your partner and express your feelings clearly. If taking care of the baby is an issue, then you can look at other options such as hiring a nanny or nurse. Enlist the help of your parents, relatives and friends to help you out with the baby.

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