Sunday, December 1, 2013

Postpartum Depression - Does It Happen to Fathers, Too?

Postpartum depression in men has since long been dismissed as a myth, but most new fathers might heartily disagree. While it is true that women tend to be more depressed after childbirth owing to all the biological transformations they go through, it has lately been concluded that up to 11 percent of new fathers complain of depression after the baby has been born. Depression in new mothers is associated with the hormonal imbalance they go through during pregnancy and even after childbirth. While men have no such hormonal fluctuations, after the birth of a baby there is much that can render a father depressive.

If you have just become a father recently, and you have noticed slight withdrawal, stress, feelings of panic, loss of appetite and increasing irritability, you are most probably suffering from postpartum depression for men. Having a baby is a big step, not to mention a life-changing one. This on its own is enough to slow a man down for a while and make him panic. Most men complain of feeling pressurized for a while after the baby is born, for now they have to provide not only for a wife but also for a child. This additional responsibility takes a little long to come to terms with, and during this time new fathers feel upset and depressed. Another contributing factor is the lack of sleep. With a wailing infant who needs to be fed and changed eight times a night, the new parents are up most of the night. Lack of sleep is enough to stress anyone out after a day or two, making one cranky and unreasonable. And after a long night when the exhausted father heads to the office and finds himself unable to work or do much of anything, he more often than not succumbs to depression and a feeling of worthlessness. Not only this, after the birth of a baby, the mother is always occupied with the baby, for it is a full-time job. Many men may feel left out and lonely, having to fend for themselves all day while the wife is busy managing the baby.

Postpartum depression in new fathers is completely normal. What all men with symptoms of this depression should do is to focus on the sunny side of things and be patient for a while; the good times are just around the corner. If the symptoms seem severe and nothing helps, one should get help from a professional.

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