Male Postpartum Depression

For my reflection post this week, I chose to explore male postpartum depression. I myself did not know this existed, so I figured it was a good topic to elaborate on. Male postpartum depression is experienced by about 10% of new fathers once their child is born. The stresses of raising a baby can build up and lead to serious depression in men. As we learned in class, many times it is important for an individual feeling ill to take some time off and regain their health. Well, parenthood in a nonstop 24/7 job that you cannot take a break from. We live in a stigmatized society; what is the correct method to approach a certain situation and what is not according to a predetermined norm. The stresses to live up to all these societal stigmas, while known to effect women, also affect men. Most men want to be a good father and be there for their kids. But, as stated in the article “Depression In Men: A Dad’s Story of Male Postpartum Depression,” “un-fatherly” feelings may happen, making a man doubt his abilities. This is okay and something that is very normal. Similar to postpartum depression in women, men cannot play the sick role either.

I believe there is a correlation between belief and healing. Many examples from the movie “Placebo: Cracking the Code” proved that the power of belief can increase an individuals health. Whether it is belief in a pill that an individual believes will make them better or their belief in a higher power and miracles, the mind is our strongest drug and healer. If an individual believes they will get better, they have a higher chance of feeling healthier. From the video, placebos help release endorphins in your brain. An example from my life is that when I have a headache or any other type of pain in my body, I don’t take any medicine. Instead, I try to convince myself that the pain is in my head or that if I just drink some water, the pain will go away. This little trick works for me a majority of the time I have any pain.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Morgan Barnett says:

    I had no previous cultural or biomedical preconceptions of male postpartum depression before reading the article, “Depression In Men: A Dad’s Story of Male Postpartum Depression,” because I didn’t know that it existed. Instead, I will elaborate on what I believe to be a common preconception about this disorder, after having been educated about it through class materials this week.
    I think that Craig Mullins fear of the depression reveals something about the place of the disorder in society. Mullins contends that he did not want to be seen as week by others in admitting that he had this kind of depression, especially because of his past actions that would seem to make him prepared for a child, such as the classes he took and lectures he made on fatherhood. The societal figure of a father is a strong man that cares for his child. The actions of the depression make the father seem to fall short of this role, and that is the reason that society has such a negative view towards it. Although difficult, it is important for any man that experiences it to seek help so that he can return to his health and care for his baby.

  2. Amber Roberts says:

    I was aware that postpartum depression existed with mothers but I had no idea that it was also an issue with fathers. With mothers, postpartum depression can be expected because the mother feels that the direct bond she has with the baby is broken because she is no longer carrying the child. However, men also can experience postpartum depression, but for different reasons. After the baby is born, the parents experience a lot of stress, much of which is unexpected. Parents prepare for the birth of their new child but no matter how much preparation they put in, there will always be some unexpected events and feelings that can arise. One of these feelings is the new immense stress of becoming a parent. Being a parent is a full time job, 24 hours a day and unfortunately there are no breaks. This is an issue that both mothers and fathers have to face and often this stress can make parents doubt their parenting abilities.

    I think that perceptions about postpartum depression in males are very much influenced by society. Generally society sees the father figure as being a strong leader and provider of the household. Men are not supposed to show signs of weakness or helplessness and this is perhaps why there is a lower reported rate of postpartum depression in males. I think that it is normal for all parents to experience stress when bringing home a newborn child, but it is much more culturally and socially acceptable for woman to acknowledge that they may be experiencing postpartum depression.

  3. Kayla Lumpkin says:

    Male postpartum depression is not very common and I have never heard of it before learning about it through this class. My first thought was that it was not a real illness, and that it was a condition that males just “thought” they had. My perception of this illness is that it could be embarrassing for males to experience this because how society shaped the idea of males always being emotionally stable and showing his family that he can take care of them in every aspect. This view of males is seen all throughout the American culture and I believe this make it harder for males to overcome the illness. If Americans are not supporting them and finding ways for them to get better, it will only make the illness worse. Therefore, this illness is not very easily measured, and it should be talked about more often even though it is not common. I do find it unusual that the emotional imbalance in a male could cause them to be depressed when usually the focus is on the mother of the child. However, after reading about it, I can understand that males have feelings just like women and they can be stressed out just like any other mother. I believe that friends, family, and social institutions have influenced my perception of this illness by showing that it can happen to both the mother and father. The male is supposed to be the dominant caregiver in the family so its necessary for him to overcome the illness with a support system.

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