W4 Reflection: Male Postpartum Depression

Many people are under the false impression that only women experience postpartum depression. However, a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association has found that 26 percent of new dads experience postpartum depression three to six months after their baby is born. They become withdrawn, anxious, rarely sleep, and overall do not feel as pleased about the new addition as they once were. It is an unfortunate condition to deal with because it can also negatively affect the baby too. Because postpartum depression is typically tied to women, culture can cause an adverse illness experience in men. According to society today, men are supposed to uphold a ‘tough’ image and be there to comfort mom and baby when they are crying. But when males are the ones crying and ‘shattering’ their strong exterior, they probably feel confused and shameful, thus leading them to forgo opening up about it and seeking treatment. From a biomedical perspective, men are also at a disadvantage. It is typically assumed that the varying hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy are what cause postpartum depression in women. As a result of that, treatments including hormone therapy exist for women…but what about men? The article explains that men ALSO undergo hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy/birth, such as a decrease in testosterone. However, some men who do seek help are just brushed off by doctors.

Healing doesn’t just involve medicine, it requires positive thoughts and attitudes and believing that you can and will get better. You have to will yourself to heal with the power of the mind. Just like you can make yourself feel sick or in pain, you can make yourself better. In “Placebo: Cracking the Code,” researchers try to figure out the phenomenon that is the placebo effect. Doctors even performed a placebo surgery for those with knee problems and found that their patients actually improved. I have OCD and turning my negative thoughts into positive ones and believing that I’d get better has been vital in my treatment. Ultimately, I feel that if someone has the potential for recovery, they can improve vastly if they believe in themselves and maintain a positive attitude throughout their illness experience.

Rosen, Margery. “Sad Dads: Coping with Postpartum Depression.”<i>Parents Magazine,</i> Accessed June 12, 2015. http://www.parents.com/parenting/dads/sad-dads/

One thought on “W4 Reflection: Male Postpartum Depression

  1. I really loved that you chose this illness to talk about. I think depression in males itself is a very misunderstood illness in society. I had never given much thought to the possibility of it being caused by postpartum though. Like you said, postpartum depression is a hormonal imbalance due to giving birth that causes the depression in females. However for males, the same hormonal imbalance that causes their depression is the result of the life events that change so quickly after having a baby. For some people, males and females a like, the change into becoming a parent can be a difficult adjustment.
    I also liked how you said males might not seek treatment because of issues of ‘toughness’ and not wanting to be perceived as weak. I also think this is why more males succeed with attempting suicide. They go longer than a female might to get help, so by the time they are at that point of suicide, they make certain it works. Not to say females can’t do the same but statistics have proven that more females attempt suicide, but more males commit suicide each year; for all of the same reasons a male wouldn’t seek treatment for postpartum depression.

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