Two weeks ago, I wrote about postpartum depression in men. There are many reasons why such depressions occur. A variety of studies, including this one published in the U.S.in 2007, or this one reported in Scientific American in 2010 point to factors as varied as biological factors like hormonal changes in men during the their partner's pregnancy and postpartum period and like sleep deprivation, to ecological factors like a sick baby, a difficult relationship, financial stress, and a lack of good role models for fathering to help us to understand the ways in which men can have difficult experiences as they enter into fathering. A more recent study out of New Zealand likewise points to poor health and stress as common factors in the lives of men who experience PPD. The Scientific American piece notes that being proactive is important:
If there is a history of depression, be prepared for a relapse and have plans in place for seeking treatment quickly. If there is strife in the relationship between the parents, seek counseling or other help before or during pregnancy. Or if a father-to-be is starting to feel anxious about his new role and responsibilities, he should enroll in a parenting class.
If you know a father who is struggling--or if you are that father--please know that there are many resources for you, both online at Postpartum Support International and locally at Baby Blues Connection.