Men Can Also Suffer from Postpartum Depression
Men can suffer from postpartum depression much more often than people realize. In fact, research shows that anywhere from 2% to 25% of men are affected by depression during their partner’s pregnancy or for up to a year afterwards. This number has been seen to increase to 50% when the mother suffers from prenatal or postpartum depression. It’s important that people are aware of this. Suffering through depression can have a crucial impact on the family’s wellbeing, especially children.
It’s normal that a father’s life goes through major changes during (due to all the new pressures, demands, and responsibilities), throughout, and after the pregnancy. There are a few risk factors what will have an impact on postpartum depression. These include:
- lack of a positive male role model in the father’s life
- lack of social support or presence of family and friends
- possible struggle with developing an emotional attachment with the newborn baby
- feeling that there is a lack of rewards in parenting
- change in the relationship with the mother, especially if there is a feeling of a lack of intimacy
- feeling excluded or envious of the bond shared by mother and child
- postpartum depression experienced by the mother
- financial stress or work-leave anxiety
- low testosterone
The symptoms of paternal depression may be different than maternal depression. Instead of crying, there may be more feelings of anger and frustration. Depression may show up as feeling irritable, impulsive, or struggling to feel happy about their situation or events around them. “It’s a lot more likely that fathers suffering from depression turn to substance use, become violent at home, and even request that their partner refrain from breast feeding or breast pumping” explains Kyle Miner, a psychologist at Academized and Paper Fellows.
Screening for paternal depression isn’t as widespread as maternal depression, but it’s gaining in awareness and importance in recent years. It’s recommended that mothers are routinely screened for symptoms of depression. Screenings should be throughout their pregnancy as well as at 1, 2, 4, and 6 months post childbirth, using tools like a screening depression scale. Fathers are starting to be screened as well using the same tools. This helps identify depression signs early to get the right support and treatment. It’s just as important for men to receive treatment for depression as it is for women. Men want and need to be able to contribute positively to the family’s welfare and child development. Treatment may include such options as therapy, antidepressant medication, and community support groups.
The moods of both parents influence how they interact with each other and their children. A father who is suffering from depression is many times more likely to spank their children than if he was not depressed. Also, the likelihood of positive interactions with his children is much lower, including playing games with them, singing songs, or reading stories with them. “Furthermore, research shows that the children of depressed fathers are much more likely to develop emotional and behavioral problems when they grow older, and paternal depression during a child’s early life places that child at risk of a developmental delay” comments Linda Nunn, a mental health writer at State of writing and Big Assignments.
There are impacts on the relationship between parents as well. This includes increased conflicts occurring between depressed fathers and mothers, making the latter more susceptible to depression herself. If the mother is suffering from postpartum depression, research shows that a present, happy, and nurturing father will shield children from many of the negative effects outlined above of parental depression. This is why it is so important for early identification and treatment.
It’s important that you speak to a health care professional, doctor, nurse, or other health care provider. They are well-versed in depression faced by new mothers and fathers and can provide options to you to set you on the right path. What’s important to remember is that it’s normal for either parent to feel depression when a new baby is born. It’s in no way a reflection on your parenting. Identifying these feelings and seeking treatment means that you have your family’s best interests at heart. Don’t suffer in silence, but seek help from those around you.
Guest Writer Bio
Ellie Coverdale, a health blogger at a UK writings service, focuses her research and blogs on such topics as personal development, health and wellness, and early child development. She shares her insight and expertise with her readers on her Essay Roo and Boom Essays blogs.