According to an article in Newsweek, over 1,000 men each day become depressed after the arrival of a new baby.
So now post-partum depression is not just a mom issue. There's even a site called SadDaddy.com, run by Dr. Will Courtenay, who says that whether a man will become depressed depends on whether his partner is depressed: "Half of all men whose partners have postpartum depression are depressed themselves," he says. He also counts stress, economic concerns, anxiety and hormone changes as factors in male postpartum depression. Yes, hormones. "Men's hormones change. too, both during pregnancy and early in the postpartum period," he explains. "Our testosterone levels go down, and our estrogen levels go up.Our testosterone levels go down, and our estrogen levels go up."
But even more unnerving is what Dr. Courtenay calls the "signs of depression" in men:
When we think of a depressed person, we usually picture someone who's sad and crying. But if we picture instead a guy who's working 60 hours a week, is a little short-tempered, drinks a couple of beers at lunch, slips out of the office to have an affair, then speeds home to his wife, that's not what we picture when we think of depression, but those are some of the signs of men's depression, which can often look different.
Yes. An affair. Additionally, Dr. Courtenay says:
One of the things we hear from men is that they have difficulty hearing a child crying uncontrollably. It's one of the things that seems to stand out the most. There's a kind of helplessness that men are not used to experiencing. We like to feel confident, so when we can't make this helpless infant feel better it creates a lot of difficulty.
Really? Really? Look, of course we should take depressed new dads seriously. But is it supposed to be easy to hear a crying child? Newsweek's Christina Gillham asks, "Surely there are many who might think, "Hey, wait a minute-I went through the nine months of pregnancy, I went through the grueling labor, I'm staying up all night doing all the breastfeeding-and you're depressed?'" Dr. Courteney's answer is that it speaks to "our cultural denial of men's depression in general." But is this about denial? Or expectations? Because even though having a child is a life-changing event for both a mother and father, don't women expect men to put emotions aside and "man up," as it were? And if drinking at lunch, affairs and avoiding a crying baby are sympotms, what's the difference between a man with postpartum depression and a total jerk?
Understanding Male Post-Partum Depression [Newsweek]