Guest blogger Jessica Katz: After I had my baby, I suffered from the "baby blues." I felt disconnected from my baby and I even thought she was evil for a short time. I was happy whenever anyone wanted to take her and hold her.
I was devastated that I didn't have the euphoria I'd expected to after I gave birth. Everything I had ever heard about postpartum depression
talked about moms killing their babies. I was terrified, and finally confided in my husband. He thought I was being ridiculous. He told me, "Of course you love her and you're a good mom. You're just tired." I knew it was
more than exhaustion, and I sought help. But it turns out I wasn't the only one suffering from this disorder.
Research says that one in four new dads suffers from postpartum depression
. Between 1,000 and 2,700 of them are diagnosed each day in the United States
alone! Men generally don't experience it right after the baby is born, though. In fact,
men mostly feel pride and excitement when the baby is born. They are in baby
bliss -- often while the mom's hormones are bouncing off the walls and driving her
However, between three and six months later, things begin to change. Men start getting
stressed at work, sleepless nights start catching up with them and they even start
feeling anxious and irritable, withdrawing from their friends and getting angry
at their spouses. Their depression
is just as real as the moms'.
This happened to my husband. Around six months after the baby came, my
husband started feeling isolated. His friends were no longer calling as much,
and by the end of the day, I was exhausted. I barely had the energy for me, let
alone the energy to be a wife -- and he was starting to feel it. He felt antsy and stuck.
The changes had sunk in. Dinners got earlier and earlier, and we became ships
passing in the night. He felt lonely and depressed. It was affecting every
part of his life. He started feeling antsy in his job, lonely and withdrawn.
His life had dramatically changed since the baby and I was no longer
there for him like I used to be.
He adored our baby, was obsessed with her. He thought she was the greatest
thing he had ever known. But everything else in his life felt upside down. So
he agreed to get help and talk to a therapist. I even agreed to go with him
when he wanted me to. And I did. Paternal postpartum depression
can affect a
baby just as much as maternal depression
, so it is important that people
recognize it and treat it. It is a very real disorder, and it occurs twice as often as regular depression
Experts say that if a baby's
mother suffered from postpartum depression
, the father is more likely to be
afflicted. The link may be that the depressed mom leans more on the dad, causing
him to feel more of a strain.
Symptoms of paternal depression
include sadness, loss of interest, sleep
problems, low energy, irritability, withdrawal and disengagement from the family
. These symptoms are very real and can become
very serious. So listen to your babydaddy if he says he's depressed. And be there
to lend a helping hand.