As postpartum depression in mothers is well recognized, studies show that even new dads get depressed, too. Their case, though, goes undiagnosed. For one, most aren’t aware that the irritability and anger new dads experience are associated with the recent birth of their child. Likewise, men are typically less inclined to be vocal about their feelings of sadness or worthlessness. It is for this reason that PSST.ph challenges new dads to be more in touch with their feelings. Postpartum depression is a serious matter. More than taking away their interest in their newborn, the depression can lead them to even hurt their child.
Change in hormones
If moms experience a change in hormones following a childbirth, dads’ hormones change, too, either before or after the delivery.
Research shows that as a man’s testosterone level decreases, his estrogen level, on the other hand, increases. These hormonal changes make a man biologically inclined to depression. Testosterone is the key male sex hormone that regulates fertility while estrogen influences mood and bone formation.
Feeling of isolation
After a child is born, the wife usually attends to the needs of the baby more than her husband’s. This makes the latter feel excluded. The feeling of isolation all the more increases as most men tend to be not so vocal about their feelings.
Feeling of uncertainty
A father becomes anxious, too, and stressed about new responsibilities. As dads are expected to be involved in parenting, reports have it that still, they remain unprepared. This unpreparedness leads to anxiety and depression.
Sleep deprivation can cause a mood swing or anxiety disorder in anyone, dads included. Studies have it that lack of sleep affects changes in brain chemistry that intensify the risk of depression.
When dads experience postpartum depression
Postpartum depression doesn’t happen only to moms. It can affect dads, too. It is defined as an episode of depressed mood occurring in a few weeks and even months after the birth of a child.
Sometimes, postpartum depression happens to a new dad when he feels too overwhelmed with the new responsibilities. To help deal with it, one may seek professional help. He may also take medication. Taking time to relax, clearing his mind, and practicing mindfulness are helpful ways, too, to deal with the depression. These make a father feel more positive about life and erase any negative thoughts.
Being surrounded by a loving support group is also helpful. Same with talking with someone to at least release those worries off his chest is advantageous. Taking a parenting class to meet other expectant dads and set expectations is a possible way to somehow avoid postnatal depression, too.
Postpartum depression is not a weakness of character. For a gentleman to admit he is depressed isn’t unmanly either. It, on the other hand, shows courage and taking charge of his life.