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Men Get Postpartum Depression, Too

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Are you fighting with your man a lot more now that your baby is born? Is he irritable and drinking more than usual? He may be suffering from postpartum depression.

We are always told when you see your baby for the first time it's "pure joy, pure bliss" -- but the reality is, once settled into your life of tending to a newborn 24 hours a day, seven days a week, sleepless, sexless nights can get to men the same way the change can get to women.

Man covering his face and a baby crying

According to psychotherapist Dr. Will Courtenay, as many as one in four new dads can develop postpartum depression. Postpartum depression in men can happen for the following reasons:

• lack of sleep
• relationship issues
• stress
• poor social life
economic/financial issues
• feeling excluded from mom and baby.

Interestingly, nearly half of men whose partners have postpartum depression are suffering from it themselves.

Here's an even more alarming fact: according to the Center for Pediatric Research, the effects on a child when the father develops postpartum depression are actually greater than when Mom is faced with it. Children at 24 months were less likely to speak, whereas it had no link in cases of Mom and baby.

Men who are becoming dads for the very first time run a greater risk of developing postpartum depression. All the unspoken fears, feelings of sadness, worry, withdrawal from a social world, and failure can contribute to its development.

CNN reports that leaving depression untreated can have long-term effects on everybody in the family. Here are some things you can do:

1. See someone before the baby is born to work through anxieties;
2. Seek marital counseling ahead of time to talk about upcoming changes and get communication issues in order;
3. Evaluate monetary issues.

next: Mother's Fight Against Junk Food Puts a School on Edge
247 comments so far | Post a comment now
Stephanie June 17, 2009, 7:39 AM

Excellent article. I suffered from PPD with my son and it is good to know that Dad’s are not being ignored. I think children change their lives just as much as ours and their risk factors, while not hormonal, are just as insidious and potentially severe.

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