Can men get the baby blues?

Can men get the baby blues?

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Yes, fathers are vulnerable to similar emotions. Many years ago, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development found that 62 percent of fathers felt blue some time during the first four months following the birth of their baby. That's one of the reasons we know that the baby blues aren't exclusively caused by hormonal changes.

Many factors can contribute to these feelings. The most common are: fear of fatherhood or worries related to new responsibilities and loss of freedom, financial concerns or stress over added expenses and worries about whether his current salary will be sufficient, and role anxieties such as asking, "Will I be a good father? Will I father like my father did?"

What compounds the stress is that men are encouraged not to share their fears. Instead, they're often told to "take it like a man" and just deal with it. Unfortunately, keeping silent about your emotions can actually increase stress. Men should be encouraged to talk to their partner or to a professional about what's worrying them. By expressing their anxieties, new dads are more likely to get a clearer perspective and the support they need to feel better.

Occasionally, some men will develop depression that goes beyond what we would refer to as the "blues" or common worries. In fact, a study published in the August 2006 edition of Pediatrics found that ten percent of new dads — compared with 14 percent of new moms — showed signs of moderate or severe postpartum depression.

Clinical depression needs to be taken seriously, and it's very treatable. Typically, a dad who's depressed feels fatigued and anxious, is preoccupied with finances, begins to withdraw from the family, is irritable, sleeps poorly or too much, or becomes very angry. If any of these symptoms persist beyond a couple of weeks, he should seek professional help from a therapist or psychiatrist. Men who are depressed may also turn to short-term fixes, which can turn into long-term problems if things get out of control. For example, some men may throw themselves into their work, extending their hours and leaving little room for down time. Others may rely on alcohol or other substances for relaxation or escape.

Like new moms, new dads need support, encouragement, reassurance, and a safe place to vent their concerns. Talk about the changes in your lives with your partner. Support each other. Remember that dads, too, need some extra TLC and attention during this transition — they just may not be good at asking for it.

Watch the video: Postpartum Mindset. How to Process Your Birth u0026 Overcome the Baby Blues (February 2023).

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