Postpartum Depression in Men
Postpartum depression is an established mental health condition and reality to some women, and now reported by men. According to a meta-analysis study of prenatal and postnatal depression in men, in the Journal of the American Medical Association, 25 percent of men experienced depression 3 to 6 months after having a baby. Initially, 10 percent of men experienced postpartum depression. What this shows is how depression can creep up in your life. Having a baby is an amazing life changing experience bringing on so much love. It can also create a lot of stress and change as the relationship between the couple can change. Energy and love may shift more to the baby vs the couple. Increasing work demands, responsibilities, finances, and limited sleep and self-care are factors experienced by not only women, but also men. Many men are focused more so on their wife and baby’s emotional and physical state to where they may be suffering in silence about their own.
Depressed Men, Depressed Woman
The research also showed a relationship between depressed women and depressed men; where there were depressed women, there are depressed men. This shows how relationships feed off one another and how depression on either side of the partnership can breed onto one another. This is no surprise as unhappiness transpires through behaviors and interactions and can be felt on some level by the other person. For example, the woman may disengage and then the disengagement may be felt by the man to where he avoids the relationship. This avoidance may lead to unhelpful behaviors involving overworking to burnout, increased drinking, drug use, spending, and/or possible affairs.
The first three years of a baby’s life are significant not only in terms of how much their brain grows, but also sets the tone for their sense of self and expectations in relationships from other people. Also, there is research on the influence of maternal depression on children. If we know these things, what can we do to combat depression?
How to Overcome Postpartum Depression in Men
- Help Please! Increase supports such as having family or friends on board to help, a babysitter, someone to run errands, a night nanny/nurse, and/or housekeeper during the first several months to help adjust to the new transition.
- Sleep Sleep is so important to our functioning as humans. Losing sleep has been shown to significantly hurt attention, concentration, and mood all things needed to take care of a family and work. Finding time to sleep and creating a schedule with your partner is key. The schedule will likely change and it is important to remember this may need to change with time. When unable to schedule sleep time with your partner it is encouraged to find family, friends, or hired help.
- Date night We all have an innate desire for connection and having that time to do so with your partner is so necessary especially after having a baby. It is recommended that date nights or time scheduled in the day to connect in a positive pleasurable manner is key to keeping to healthy romantic relationships, but also helpful to lifting depression. Increasing pleasure helps to improve mood. Having fun helps the mood. Who can argue with that.
- Work/Life balance Another important thing to consider is having a work life balance where one is able to work efficiently and also spend quality time with baby. The word quality is key. It isn’t about quantity but quality of the time. The memories you create with your family are happening now and memories are not something taken away. Some men and women work to burn out whether out of house or in house and the key is to notice the signs of burn out and change.
Dr. Watson Provides Treatment for Postpartum Depression in Men
The above factors can overlap and things can get messy and hard to sort through. Or you have tried these things and are still feeling depressed. This is when seeking help from a licensed psychologists trained in treatments for depression can help assist. There are treatments for depression that have been proven to effectively treat depression. For example, cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the most effective treatments for depression. Click here for more information or to schedule a consultation, I can be directly reached at 404-954-2713