The May 19th 2010 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association contains an article about the male version of post partum depression. The research that the article is based on found that more then 10% of new dads become depressed before and after the birth of their first infant, regardless of how joyous the occasion is. In addition, if the mother experiences post partum depression the likelihood is greatly increased that her husband will as well.
This is a problem that everyone needs to be deeply concerned about. When either or both parents are depressed it puts the infant at increased risk of developmental disorders and emotional problems later on. That is why it is essential that parents see their primary care physician and ask for help with their emotional struggles.
The problem is that men do not like to do this. Well, guys, you must. Your wives and babies need you and depression is neither feminine or weak, it is just a painful emotion for which there is help.
You may ask why this should happen when having a baby is thought of as joyous. Even though this is true, new parents face enormous challenges. For example, night time feedings rob mom and dad of sleep, there are now three people in the family instead of two, finances can become strained to the limit and the entire process is exhausting for the first six months.
Moms and Dads, you are not alone. Ask for help. See your doctor and describe your symptoms. The MD can prescribe an anti depressant, refer you to a psychiatrist for medication and refer you to a good therapist who can help you work on the difficulties.
Your comments and questions are encouraged.
Allan N. Schwartz, PhD.