The Taboo Battle New Dads Face That No One Talks About

May 2nd 2016

Almie Rose

There are some things you may be expecting as a new dad, like lack of sleep and a hormonal partner. But there's something you may not have been prepared for: postpartum depression. Not hers. Yours.

baby in crib

Paternal Postnatal Depression (PPND) is commonly referred to as "a dad's version of postpartum depression," according to What To Expect. While the rates for PPND aren't as high as traditional postpartum depression, studies have found that it is indeed occurring among dads.

The Journal of American Medical Association reported on a study devoted to postpartum depression in fathers and showed that out of 28 participants, about 10 percent of men had prenatal and postpartum depression. In the 3-6 month postpartum period, that number got even higher.

The Conversation pulled up another startling figure: "If there is a birth somewhere in Australia every 1 minute 46 seconds, then every day about 80 dads are being added to the depressed category."

Father holding newborn

Will Courtenay, Ph.D., LCSW, and founder of Postpartum Men, told Fit Pregnancy, "depression among new dads is not uncommon, and they're not alone. The fact is, one in four new dads in the United States become depressed — which amounts to 3,000 dads who become depressed each day."

We hear a lot about moms with postpartum depression (PPD) and the stigma moms can face when they publicly acknowledge it. But we rarely hear from dads with PPND.

Father holding son's hand.

Beyond Blue, an Australian-based website that seeks to spread information about depression, did a study on new dads and PPND. They found that although dads described fatherhood as being rewarding, they also commented on its challenges, and the challenges are distinctly different from the ones new moms experience.

For example, one dad said, in regards to interacting with healthcare providers, "No-one has asked me how I am going, and you know, it’s disappointing." Another added, "In all honesty it was like I was a ghost in the room, no one even looked at me let alone talked to me."

Depressed man.

It's a little disturbing how often new dads feel left in the dark. It's not even assumed that dads would even experience depression.

"I’m sure that a lot of men don’t realise [sic] that PND can affect them too. Maybe this should be called out and explain it that it can be completely normal for men to experience PND too," one man reported in the study.

He wasn't alone:

"Depression is all about the mother, nothing for the father – everything is for the mother and the child."

"One in 10 fathers experience post-natal depression. Really? That’s huge but it sounds about right to me."

"I don’t think guys know about PND."

"Most information you see or hear is about troubles mothers will experience."

It's time to change the stigma for all new parents.