Paternal postpartum depression is more common than we realize.
What is Paternal Postpartum Depression?
The clinical term is paternal postpartum depression. In accordance to this study [PubMed], 4 to 25 per cent of fathers will experience paternal postpartum depression. Within the academic world of psychology and psychiatry, there are few studies of clinical paternal postpartum depression. However it is very real. Not only is paternal postpartum depression valid, but also the fact that many men feel isolated within the family unit and ignored, subsumed with the demands of work, being paternity leave is largely non existent in the United States. There is also an excellent article written by the peer reviewed journal Psychiatry which outlines what fathers need in the United States in order to reduce the rate of paternal postpartum depression. Below is a quote from their summary of findings:
…Educational programs in the community help fathers understand their expected roles. Findings suggest that a program for PPD mothers and their partners is more effective then a program with PPD mothers alone. For the same reason, a program for both PPD fathers and mothers could be more effective to alleviate paternal PPD.”
In the NY Times article Postpartum Depression Strikes Fathers Too , the writer paints an intimate portrait of how and why fathers are also susceptible to the same toxic blend of anxiety and depression that new mothers, (one in ten, sometimes one in four mothers) are susceptible to.
“The pregnancy was easy, the delivery a breeze. This was the couple’s first baby, and they were thrilled. But within two months, the bliss of new parenthood was shattered by postpartum depression.
A sad, familiar story. But this one had a twist: The patient who came to me for treatment was not the mother but her husband.”
“How can I be substantial if I do not cast a shadow?
I must have a dark side also If I am to be whole”
― C.G. Jung