momlogic's Vivian: More than one in 10 fathers become depressed after the birth of their child, and their postpartum depression is linked to a greater risk of the mother developing depression in that period as well, according to a study published Tuesday.
Dr. Michelle Golland, clinical psychologist and momlogic contributor, says, "Interestingly, men's hormones change both during and after a pregnancy. Their testosterone levels go down, and their estrogen levels go up. We don't really know why the hormones shift in men, but researchers speculate that it is nature's way of helping men bond with the baby, and it helps them be less aggressive at a critical time in the mother's and child's life. Fathers can also experience negative emotions toward the baby, similar to mothers with PPD. They may feel very disconnected from the child and want to get out of the house."
Dr. Golland says that men sometimes avoid seeking mental-health services because they feel it's "going out of their comfort zone in regards to how to cope with stress in their life."
That said, Dr. Golland says it's imperative that we learn to recognize depression and anxiety issues in our husbands and partners, and encourage them to get the help they need.
Keep on the lookout for these symptoms and risk factors of male PPD:
- A history of depression
- Wife is diagnosed with postpartum depression
- Lack of support
- Sick or challenging baby
- Financial concerns and pressure
The more people that are aware of male PPD, the more depressed dads will get the help they need to get through it. Spread the word!