Dads’ Postnatal Depression Myths Debunked

Postnatal depression is a condition that is most commonly associated with new moms. This is why women have appointments after they deliver their babies with their doctors so that their mental health can be evaluated.

And while doctors are doing their best to make sure that women can be mentally healthy to not only take care of themselves but their babies, they are not paying attention to how new fathers are doing.

As such, postnatal depression is going under diagnosed in this population. Many times because there are myths about dads’ postnatal depression. Something that needs to be debunked.

According to a 2019 study, eight to 10 percent of men suffer from postnatal depression. While it generally makes its presence known three to six months after babies are born, it can also rear its ugly head up to a year postpartum.

By that time, many men may believe that their mental state is a result of something other than postnatal depression. But because the condition is not something many men have heard about, it may not even register as being what is triggering the poor emotional state.

And as a result, men suffer in silence with their depression instead of getting the help they need.

RELATED: Dad With Postnatal Depression Says It Got So Bad He Didn’t Want To Hold His Baby

Here are myths about dads’ postnatal depression that needs to be debunked.


10 Only Moms Suffer From Postnatal Depression

With up to 20 percent of new mothers suffering from postpartum depression, according to the Illinois Department of Public Healththey suffer from the condition at rates higher than men do.

But that does not mean that fathers do not also have problems with their mental health after babies are born. And that means that not just one, but both parents need to receive mental health screening after babies are born.

With one in 10 men suffering from postpartum depression, according to UT Southwestern Medical Center, It is clear that not only moms suffer from postnatal depression. And because of this, it is a myth that needs to be debunked.

9 No One Else Feels The Same Way

Men have a hard time discussing their feelings after babies are born because they think that no one else feels the same.

But the only reason they feel this way is because no one talks about it. If there was more awareness about postnatal depression among men, and it became more normalized, then men would realize they were not alone and that there is help out there if they seek it out.

8 Postnatal Depression Looks The Same In All Dads

For those dads who are suffering from postnatal depression, it may not always be easy to recognize. This is because the symptoms of postnatal depression can vary for all men.

According to VeryWell Mindthe symptoms that men can suffer from when they have postnatal depression include:

  • Change in appetite

  • Loss or gain in weight

  • Problems sleeping

  • Aches or pains that come on without explanation

  • Agitation

  • Feeling sad

  • Feeling hopeless

  • Feeling worthless

  • Changes in mood

  • Thoughts of suicide

  • Thoughts of harming their baby

If any of these are present, it is likely that men have postnatal depression. And as such, the need to receive treatment immediately.

7 Dads Will Have To Go On Medication If Diagnosed With Postnatal Depression

While medication is an option for fathers who are suffering from postnatal depression, it is not the only mode of help that can be received to aid with mental health.

According to Mass.govthe options to treat postnatal depression in men includes:

  • Counseling

  • Support groups

  • Exercise

  • Meditation

  • Yoga

In conjunction with these treatments, medication may be recommended. But not all men will require it, meaning it is a myth that needs to be debunked.

6 Dads With Postnatal Depression Are Failures As Fathers

When fathers feel like they are unable to take care of their babies or support their partners after delivery, they feel like they are failures. And while they feel this way, having a mental health condition does not make them failures as fathers. It makes them human.

With the societal pressure for men to not show their feelings, when big feelings do arise, and they are unable to cope with them, they can feel less like a man.

But, if men get help for those feelings, they will actually become stronger by facing them head on rather than sweeping them under the rug. And they are nothing but a success, not a failure are a father, when this is done.

5 Postnatal Depression Can Be Fixed Without Help

Postpartum depression can indeed fade over time. But, according to MedicalNewsToday, if help is not received, it can go on for months or longer than it would if help were received. And for those who have serious cases of postnatal depression, letting it go on for one day longer without help can be detrimental for men suffering.

Therefore, while postnatal depression can fade on their own, men should not let their depression go on after it is recognized what they have. Not only will get help make them better, but it will make them better fathers as well.

4 Men’s Hormones Do Not Change During Partner’s Pregnancy

Hormones play a huge part in why women suffer from postpartum depression. But because men’s hormones do not change when their partners are pregnant, it would not make sense for them to suffer from postnatal depression. That is, unless they do.

According to Scientific American, hormonal changes occur in men during the early part of their partners’ pregnancies. The testosterone levels drop as the women’s bodies have hormones increasing exponentially.

And while this is purportedly to help men bond with their babies, when the levels go back to baseline, it can cause postnatal depression.

3 Men Can Talk To Their Friends About How They Are Feeling

As men get married and have children, their social circles can begin to shrink. And when this happens, they have a fewer people they can talk to about anything happening in their lives.

It is hard enough for men to express how they are feeling. But when they have very few people outside their marriage or partnership to speak to, many do not want to burden them with their problems. As such, they keep their emotions bottled up and nothing gets resolved, with their mental health suffering as a result.

2 There Are No Factors That Put Men At Higher Risk For Postnatal Depression

Just like all mental health conditions, there are factors that put men at higher risk for postnatal depression.

According to Choosing Therapysome factors that put men at higher risk for postnatal depression include:

  • Partners who have postpartum depression

  • No support after birth of baby

  • Stress in the relationship between partners

  • Having jealousy about time moms spend with babies

  • Problems with intimacy in the relationship between partners

  • Inability to figure out the new roles of everyone in the family

If any of these factors are present, it is important that men pay close attention to their emotions to see if anything changes. And if it feels like postnatal depression is present, help should be gotten immediately.

1 Dads Do Not Need The Same Screening For Postnatal Depression As Moms

Clearly, with the number of men who suffer from postnatal depression, there is a need for them to have screening for the condition.

As such, men should also have follow-up appointments after babies are born to have their mental health checked so that if there are any red flags, they can be addressed immediately.

Source: Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience, Illinois Department of Public Health, UT Southwestern Medical Center, VeryWell Mind, Choosing Therapy,, MedicalNewsToday, Scientific American

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