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Postpartum Depression: Now for Men, Too!

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Guest blogger Kate Tuttle: According to a new study published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, new fathers, just like new mothers, face an increased risk of depression -- and that risk remains high much longer than had previously been assumed, sometimes lasting until children are in adolescence.

depressed man
Attention, researchers: I could have told you that. No matter how much we love our kids, having them in the house is simply stressful. As delightful as they often are, they make demands that no other people make of us, rob us of our sleep and require our careful attention for literally years and years.Parenting is hard and it depletes our resources, so it's no surprise that it can leave us vulnerable to suffering from depression.

So if this research -- which looked at family records for over 80,000 births -- doesn't contain anything particularly shocking (as more than one commenter on the New York Times health blog pointed out, it's a study of the obvious), why is it making news? Partly because up until now, very little attention has been paid to the mental and emotional health of new fathers. We all know about postpartum depression as a potential problem for new moms, but it makes a lot of sense that caregivers should begin to check in with new dads as well.The old saying goes, "If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy" -- but if mama and papa are both battling depression, their kids are at very real risk.

So what can be done? Better screening, for one thing. Parents who have previously suffered from depression are at higher risk for postpartum depression, as are parents who are younger or who lack social and financial supports. (Again, no shock there.) Identifying and supporting these couples before or soon after their children are born is the best possible gift we could give their children -- who, after all, will join our children in making our future.


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25 comments so far | Post a comment now
HeeHee September 22, 2010, 4:09 PM

What do men have to get depressed about?

Suan September 24, 2010, 4:04 PM

I definitely thought my husband was slipping into PPD, there was just so much change in our lives and we were both so exhausted. Luckily, we were using The Happiest Baby DVD and the methods helped us all get some sleep during this chaotic time. I believe it can happen though!

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