So you are a new father. You were pretty excited about the pregnancy and the birth of your child. But then something changed and you began to feel down and depressed. You might be feeling that way right now. This topic doesn’t get talked about very much because we men don’t like to talk. But we need to. Male Postpartum Depression is real. In this video we are going to talk about it. How do you know you have it and what can you do about it.
Male Postpartum Depression has a couple of other names: It can be called Paternal Postpartum Depression or Paternal Postnatal Depression. Anyway you say it, postpartum depression in men is a big deal. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, 10% of men worldwide showed signs of depression during their wife’s pregnancy and shortly after the child was born. Then from 3-6 months after the baby was born, that number grew to 25%. Can we review that again? 1 in 4 men experience some form of depression after the baby is born. Let’s look at some of the factors that increase your risk for postpartum depression.
– Lack of sleep – Check
– Financial Stress – Check
– Relationship Stress – Check
…and here are some others
– You have a history of depression (a birth can trigger it)
– Your family has a history of depression
– Excessive alcohol consumption
– or a Poor diet
But how do you know you have male postpartum depression versus just feeling a little down. A big sign is that you don’t seem to be coming out of it…you are sort of stuck there. There are many potential signs of depression, but here are a few that stand out for us men:
1) More often than not, you are feeling sad or hopeless
2) You seem to have a lot of anger or irritability that you just can’t get over
3) You don’t really care to do activities you used to enjoy
4) Maybe you have a big change in your weight (either increase or decrease)
5) You are always feeling tired and lacking energy
6) and of course if you are having thoughts of death or suicide
So what do you do if you feel like you have postpartum depression? Well first realize that you are not alone. A lot of guys are affected by this but we just don’t talk about it. Remember 1 in 4. The good news is that you can get out of it. Here are some suggestions:
#1 – Get sleep – I know this can be hard with a baby but it may mean you have to give some things up (stop watching television, get off social media). or Try to figure out a schedule with your wife that allows you to get some sleep.
#2 – Feed Your Body Well – Stop eating junk, it’s not helping you. What you put in your body can absolutely make you feel bad. You may get a temporary fix from eating bad but it’s having a negative effect overall. Eat healthier foods.
#3 – Reduce or Stop drinking alcohol – Alcohol is a depressant. I can tell you first hand that when I cut back on my alcohol consumption, I felt better physically and mentally. You may feel like those beers are giving you pleasure, but just like the food, it’s short term. The alcohol is keeping you down.
#4 – Fill Your Mind with Positive Messages – There is so much negativity in news, social media, and other things we view. Try listening to uplifting and motivational information instead. Try podcasts, videos on YouTube, listen to motivational speeches. Put positive messages into your brain every single day.
#5 – Practice Gratitude – Whether you can use a gratitude journal and write things down or use a gratitude app on your phone, it is really hard to be depressed if you are grateful. It takes practice but building your gratitude muscle is extremely valuable….so practice gratitude.
#6 – Get support – Lean on your family and friends, local support groups, or even online support groups. Understand that it is absolutely ok to say “I need help”. It doesn’t make you less of a man or reflect negatively on you. Get support from others.
#7 – Get professional help – Even if you think you might be able to get through this Paternal Postpartum Depression, seek out the help of a professional therapist or psychologist. It’s crucial that you get the help you need so you can get through this. Male postpartum depression deserves attention. We want to be the best we can for our families and especially our children. Don’t be afraid. You have to take action to make change and I know you can do it!