Postpartum Depression Felt in New Fathers Too

Postpartum Depression Felt in New Fathers Too Becoming a new parent (especially for the first time) can be a period of rough transition for some moms and there are important signs to watch for if you think you or a loved one is affected by postpartum depression. New fathers are also prone to feeling symptoms of depression too, a new study shows, and can display features of postpartum depression that linger up to five years after the birth of their child.

While raising a baby is a time of immense joy and excitement, it also presents new schedules, responsibilities, and the pressure of learning how to parent on the fly. The study, which was conducted by researchers from Northwest University and appears in Pediatrics magazine, also notes that younger men (around 25 at the time of their child’s birth) experience symptoms of postpartum depression that have a 68% chance of increasing over the next five years. This statistic applies to men who live at home with their partner and child; interestingly, men in the same category who live separately from their partner and child but still parent are less likely to experience depression with the same intensity or longevity.

A new baby changes the environment a couple once knew and coping with those changes, along with parenting expectations, is one way to help combat postpartum depression. Flexible schedules, freedom to go out on a whim, a full night’s sleep—all of those lifestyle features are put on hold when raising a newborn, and this perceived loss of control can be hard for a dad to accept. Keep the lines of communication between you and your partner open and honest as a way to save both of your sanity; admitting that he needs time to himself does not make any dad a lackluster father, so being appreciative of each other’s feelings and congratulate each other on the little things that make you great parents.

If you’re worried about your partner or another new dad you know, seek advice from a doctor or counselor that can recommend what steps you should take to help. Knowing that other new parents feel the same as you or your partner do can help, but sometimes it takes a licensed professional to administer the proper care to help combat postpartum depression.