Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Postpartum Depression... in Dads

This is from today's Wall Street Journal: "More than one in 10 fathers become depressed after the birth of their child, and their postpartum depression is linked to greater risk of the mother developing depression in that period as well, according to a study published Tuesday." And "...a growing body of evidence suggests that depression in either parent is linked to long-term behavioral and psychiatric problems in the child."

While I certainly was not depressed when my son was born 4 months ago, there were certainly a great deal of new pressures on me both at work (provide) and home (nurture and guide). I can easily see how these pressures, along with the strong emotions that come with the arrival of a new child, could lead to depression.

What I found particularly disturbing about the article were the reader comments attached to it. One person said he did not understand why the Wall Street Journal would even print the article, especially in the business section.

Why wouldn't they!?

First, when fathers or mothers are depressed, it has a profound impact on their child's development, which in turn, effects just about everything that child does in the future, such as doing well in school, getting into college, thriving in a career, etc.

Second, fathers are whole people. When they are depressed at home it has an impact on how they do at work. Thus, business can suffer. This is the fundamental premise behind work-family balance programs. If dads are working too much, they are not paying enough attention to their kids, who desperately need it. And if they are depressed about what is happening at home, they don't pay enough attention at work.

It is all linked.

Finally, you have to hand it to the guys in the article who admitted to being depressed. That is not easy for guys to do, especially publicly.

Were you depressed or maybe just sad after the birth of your baby?


  1. It's a shame that more people don't see the effects on a family when mom or dad have a mental illness (such as depression). I'm glad there's blogs out there like this one advocating for parents and families. Keep up the good work!

  2. As a dad who suffered PPD after the birth of both of my kids, I have to say that it is a tough spot to be in. It is a disturbing thing to realize that you don't feel good or bad, positively or negatively, about your newborn. I got stuck in just being....not being happy about my son (and then daughter), not being proud to be a dad...just being.

  3. I think its hard to understand people that were blessed to have children get to be depressed about being a parent. I get it you want the best for your child and have everything go easy at home and at work. We all have the daily grind of pressure at home and work. My wife has done two round of invitro just to have a child for me. I think the parents that want children go through a lot more drama.

  4. not necessarily sad, but surprisingly ticked and even a little resentful towards my wife. at some point we did something we called a resentment check (http://tinyurl.com/39kk2ku) which was a great help.

  5. Labor Nurse / Dad GaryMay 20, 2010 at 10:47 AM

    I am a male Labor & Delivery nurse so I get to see the effects of labor and birth on fathers of all ages, race and economic status. I can't say that I have seen evidence of depression in those first few hours but I do believe it can happen. After months or years of anticipation and expectation, it is easy for reality to have an overwhelming effect on either or both new parents.
    I have much more information on mothers and there are many who have anxiety or depression histories. I would not be surprised that the same number of men also have these issues, we just don't know about it.


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