Postpartum Depression Can In Fact, Hit Daddy Too

Amy Hendel Health Guide
  • We are all aware of many famous mommies who have shared their descent into postpartum depression.  They merely mirror the many, many moms around the country and the world who have struggled with this condition.  But we need to start realizing that Daddy's life changes - dramatically - and therefore, all daddies may not be filled with the anticipated joy that is supposed to come along with the birth of a son or daughter.  In fact, most men find that their wives have an almost primal immediate "love bond' with the newborn, while they are at a loss...for feeling anything.  In fact, up until recently, the nearly 10% of new dads were overlooked by the mental health community while they suffered from...postpartum depression

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    Though the symptoms of postpartum depression are similar in both sexes, the causes are quite different.  For women, the hormonal changes are considered to play a large role in precipitating and perpetuating postpartum depression; for men, it is more likely caused by the shift in lifestyle.  After the baby's is born, the whole family structure changes.  His wife may make him feel like a second class citizen, even unintentionally, and the economic pressures can be overwhelming, even when financial planning has taken place.  When Dad gets depressed, he may express his feelings with destructive behavior: alcohol, drug use, anger, increased aggression, constant conflict, and risk-taking behaviors like drunk driving and even extramarital sex can be some of the ways depression is expressed.  Dad can also exhibit sad mood, loss of interest in hobbies, weight gain or weight loss, excessive sleeping, impaired concentration.  The post partum depression can appear within days, weeks, even months after the birth of baby and the cornerstones of treatment are therapy and anti-depressants.


    We always worry about the newborn if mom has postpartum depression; we now need to concern ourselves with the impact if Daddy is the suffering parent.  It can lead to the baby being at increased risk of developing physical and emotional problems.  Studies show that the child of a dad suffering from postpartum depression, who is not treated, may act out and behave more destructively later in life.  Wives need to be on the lookout for this in their partners.  They will often notice that "he just hasn't been himself lately."  And if there is a history of depression in the man's family, he may be at greater risk.  Sometimes if mom can simply involve dad in the joys of physical bonding and make it a threesome, the risk can be diminished.


Published On: September 29, 2008