Experts say one in four dads get post-partum depression. Could your guy be next?
"This comes as quite a shock to men who are expecting this wonderful time of baby bliss with the new baby and a time of bonding," said Will Courtenay, psychotherapist, a leading expert on paternal postnatal depression and founder of Saddaddy.com.
Here are the stats:
Each day in the U.S., 1,000 new dads become depressed - according to some studies that number is as high as 3,000. That's as many as one in four new dads who become depressed.
"We hear this from a lot of men," Courtenay said. "They can't stand to be around their baby...they can't stand the smell or the sound of their child screaming."
Factors like sleep deprivation may cause depression, but guess what? Hormones play a role too. According to Courtenay, "It's a double whammy. Not only do our testosterone levels go down, but our estrogen levels go up and these female hormones coursing through our body can really wreak havoc on a man's functioning."
Although experts aren't sure why, they say these fluctuations are similar to "sympathy pains" people feel when a loved one is hurting.
One of best predictors of male post-partum depression?
If his wife is depressed too. "Half of all men whose partner has postpartum depression are depressed themselves," Courtenay said.
But you may not know your hubby is bummed out, since experts say men are more likely to hide depression from their wives.
The problem is, left untreated, mood disorders often worsen. "If a man doesn't get effective treatment for his depression, it could have damaging, long-term consequences for himself, his marriage, his career and his child."
How can you prevent this from happening to your guy?
•Men - especially those with a history of depression - should seek professional help before the birth of a child to deal with stress and anxiety.
•Couples should seek marital counseling before they get pregnant to work through relationship problems.
•Evaluate your financial situation. Courtenay says men feel financial pressure and should enter parenthood with realistic expectations.