Postpartum Depression Among Fathers

Not many people are aware that postpartum depression among fathers exists. It is a common misconception that solely the mothers experienced intense and overwhelming emotions because they are the ones carrying the baby.

Fathers, on the other hand, are expected to be strong and dependable because their partners needed them the most during this period. This is the reason their mental health is often disregarded and unconsidered.

Is postpartum depression among fathers real?

Until now, mental health among men is still considered a stigma because of what society portrays them. Men are supposed to be tough and full of vigor. They need to be unwavering because their families heavily depend on them.

Studies show that 1 out of 10 fathers struggle with postpartum depression and anxiety during pregnancy. The number increases 6 months after the baby is born. Men with partners who are struggling with postpartum depression are likely to suffer with the same condition.  

Their worries and uneasiness during pregnancy is not much talked about because they stay on the sidelines. They also feel pressured and stressed out to meet the new demands and high expectations of their growing families.

What are the common causes of postpartum depression among fathers?

Fathers feel the weight of their responsibilities as new parents. Not all are equipped to be a good provider, a supportive partner or a loving father. 

1. Hormones

Several studies show that male hormones also changes during and after pregnancy. There is a sudden drop of testosterone level and an increase in estrogen, prolactin and cortisol. There are no known scientific explanations to these hormonal changes up to now but it is implied that this is nature’s way to make fathers stay by their partner’s side.

2. Partner’s depression

Fathers whose partners are suffering from depression are at high risk to experience the same mental condition. It is difficult to handle someone with depression and most times, fathers do not want to face this kind of challenge in the relationship. For men, dealing with emotions is not their best suit.

3. Being left out

All the fuss during pregnancy is centered on mothers and the babies. No one seems to take notice of the important roles of the fathers. They are merely expected to pay the hospital bills and run errands. This makes them feel unwanted and insignificant.

4. Cannot bond with the baby

There is that special bond between mothers and babies that does not automatically develop on fathers. Some fathers are confused on why their baby cries every time they hold them. There are also instances where they feel scared about looking after the baby and being alone with them.

5. Lack of sleep

Sleep deprivation can cause postpartum depression among fathers. Fathers think that one way of supporting their partners is by staying awake at night to take care of the babies. It becomes a problem when they have to wake up early in the morning to work. It is possible that their performance at work will be greatly affected.

6. Financial stress

Everyone knows how costly having babies and the burden of paying for everything relies on the fathers. With this new responsibility of providing a comfortable life, fathers must work harder. Others have to juggle two or three jobs for doctor’s appointments, diapers and milk.

7. Difficulty in adjusting to parenthood

Some fathers are not innately ready to have children. It takes time for them to really understand their new roles and how their presence can impact the life of the baby. There are fathers who choose to run away from this responsibility because they are scared and unprepared.

What are the symptoms of postpartum depression among fathers?

Males, in general, are good at hiding their emotions. They do not talk about their feelings and thoughts. They want to keep them to themselves because they do not want to look weak or to bother anyone. But there are red flags that clearly indicate that they are going through something.

1. Sudden outburst and violent behavior

2. Irritability, and extreme sadness

3. Loss of interest in sex and in their hobbies

4. Substance or alcohol abuse

5. Extramarital affairs

6. Trouble concentrating

7. Weight gain or loss

8. Excessive sleeping habit

9. Fatigue

10. Suicidal thoughts

What to do?

Postpartum depression among fathers can be treated. Though this is something serious, it does not mean that this will be a lifetime problem. When you know someone who is suffering from depression, you need to lend a hand and be more understanding of their situation.

Mindshift Psychological Services acknowledges the important roles fathers play in rearing the children. They, too, need support and guidance as new parents. This is the perfect place for them to openly discuss their feelings without being judged and criticized.

Some of their therapy near me sessions include Family therapy, Depression therapy near me and Psychotherapy for Individuals and Couples. Learn more about their services on their website or contact them at (714) 584-9700.