Postpartum Depression in Men – Does it Exist?

Even though women bear the brunt of carrying a baby and then giving birth, postpartum depression in men should also be taken into account.  As men adjust to a new baby in the home, they may experience anxiety, depression, and a number of other symptoms.  At the very least, if you can accept that this condition exists, you will have a better chance of helping your partner get past this phase as quickly and easily as possible.  In addition, once you acknowledge that you are also having adjustment issues, you can seek help and look forward to an increased level of enjoyment in being a new father.

Postpartum depression in men

Postpartum depression is often experienced by both parents

Symptoms and Risk Factors Associated With Male Postpartum Depression

Overall, postpartum depression in men follows a course similar to what women experience. New fathers will feel anxious, and stressed out as well as go through any number of mood changes. Unfortunately, many people don’t believe that postnatal depression in men exists simply because there are no hormonal or bodily changes, let alone the experience of delivering a child.  That said, it is very important to realize that all the emotions that occur during pregnancy are bound to have an impact even after the baby is born.

Interestingly enough, sharing parenthood with a woman that has postpartum depression represents the most common risk factor for male postpartum depression.  A study published by the Journal of Advanced Nursing indicates that 24 – 50% of all men that experience postpartum depression within one year have a partner suffering from the same condition.  Therefore, if you find yourself having sudden mood swings, or other signs of depression, you may want to try couple based counseling for this issue.

Getting Help for Postpartum Depression

As with any other situation that has a negative impact on your outlook or sense of well being, it is very important to seek counseling.  If your doctor does not know about postnatal depression in men, you can do some research online to find an outreach group, as well as a list of counselors that can help you manage this issue.  At the very least, once you have someone to talk to, you will find it much easier to navigate through this stage of parenthood.

When you hold your newborn for the first time, you are bound to be awed by all of the wonders of that moment.  On the other hand, once you bring the baby home and begin the process of getting to know the new baby, you may start experiencing mood swings and other psychological symptoms.  While many doctors do not recognize postpartum depression in men as a valid condition, studies reveal that it does exist, and that some type of treatment may be necessary.

Goodman, Janice H, Paternal postpartum depression, its relationship to maternal postpartum depression, and implications for family health, Journal of Advanced Nursing, Vol 45, Issue 1.
Photo by Kevin N. Murphy

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