Postpartum Depression In Dads
If you know a friend who has become a dad recently and instead of bouncing off the walls with happiness, he seems to be a little down in the dumps, then he could be suffering from postpartum depression.Yes, you read that right! Dads also suffer from postpartum depression; it’s not only a mom thing. Statistics show that 1 in every 3 dads is suffering from the ‘baby blues’.
A study shows that fathers of newborn babies could suffer from postpartum depression (PPD) owing to low testosterone levels. If the testosterone levels in a male drop, it could trigger PPD.
“We tend to think of postpartum depression as a mum thing”, lead author Dr Darby Saxbe, from the University of Southern California, said in a statement. “It’s not. It’s a real condition that might be linked to hormones and biology. We often think of motherhood as biologically driven, because many mothers have biological connections to their babies through breastfeeding and pregnancy”, she added.
The study took into account 149 couples, aged between 18 and 40, all of whom had just had a baby. This study spanned 2 years, during which time, the researchers met these couples several times. After 9 months of the study, the men were asked for saliva swabs, and samples were taken to test their testosterone levels thrice a day.
They were also questioned on topics like depressive symptoms, parenting stress, relationship satisfaction, and partner aggression. The study showed that fathers with higher testosterone levels reported more parenting stress, and their partners reported more relationship aggression.
One positive outcome of this unfortunate father PPD was that women whose partners had lower levels of testosterone post-birth reported fewer symptoms of depression themselves 9-15 months after their baby was born.
The reasons that fathers could be experiencing PPD were listed as:
- A tough relationship with their partner
- Financial status
- Low salaries led to vulnerable depression
- The pressure of fatherhood
- Lack of enough sleep
We understand that the world thinks that the man has to be ‘macho’ and that such a diagnosis might make men vulnerable to ridicule, but bottling things up is never a good idea. Opening up about what you feel applies to mothers, as well as to fathers. In today’s world, fathers are as active in contributing to their child’s upbringing as a mother is. The traditional roles of both men and women are now changing, and with it, traditional expectations too. ‘Men don’t cry’ is now as outdated as ‘women don’t work’. So if you are a man who is going through PPD, or if you know someone who is, get help. There are specialised and qualified doctors who deal with issues such as these. You and your spouse are both raising the baby, so dealing with postpartum depression together is healthy not only for you, but for your marriage too.