If you thought that only mothers could experience depression after giving birth, a recent presentation at the American Psychological Association tells us that fathers can be affected by it too.
Anxiety and Depression
According to a clinical health psychologist, Sara Rosenquist and a psychologist at the Center for Men’s Excellence, Dan Singley who co-authored the study, new dads can go through a tough time after their child is born. It can be the lack of sleep, the disruption of their work and the care for their child that can trigger anxiety and depression.
Some of the symptoms are irritability, weight loss, and nonstop working.
Postpartum depression in men can also be triggered by the worry of not doing a good job or not knowing how to be a father. They can feel disconnected from their significant other or the baby after the stressful birth, explains a Canadian group for families – Pacific Post Partum Support Society
There are almost 10% of dads that go through postpartum depression and anxiety – a similar number seen in adoptive mothers. Up to 18% of the new dads can suffer from an anxiety disorder, according to research published in the American Journal of Men’s Health (2016), describing that the disorder can “have a negative impact on family relationships, as well as the health of mothers and children.”
According to a different report published in JAMA Psychiatry, men who were stressed during the pregnancy are more likely to develop signs of depression. From a total of 3,500 expecting fathers from New Zealand that were part of the study, 2.3% of them were depressed before the baby was born. Nine months after the birth, 4.3% of fathers were diagnosed with postpartum depression.
The Seleni Institute stated that men are plagued by the thought that they are not just the provider, but also the father, and cannot find a way to balance their roles, leading to burnout because they want to work harder after birth.
Even with the paid time off, men would not take paternity leave.
Throughout the pregnancy, men can also mirror the symptoms of their partner. They can go through periods of bloating, heartburn, nausea, and changes of appetite – many of them even going through hormonal changes. Latest research shows that after the child is born, there is a decrease in testosterone and an increased level of prolactin, which is a hormone that gives women the ability to produce milk.
Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.