Postpartum Depression: Not for Women Only
Postpartum depression in men
If your depression persists for more than a couple of months, you may find it worthwhile to seek professional help.
Feeling depressed? Wishing that you could share in the joy of having a new baby, but you're feeling left cold for some reason? You're not alone. More than half of new fathers experience their own version of postpartum depression. Fortunately, the depression of new fathers, like that of new mothers, usually passes relatively quickly.
Although you have ample reason to feel happy and exhilarated, you probably have plenty of good reasons to feel depressed, too. The following sections address some of the most common causes of depression for new fathers.
Having a baby changes relationships within the whole family. You may find it difficult to adjust to these changes. For one thing, you probably won't make love with your partner as often as you did before having the baby. Even worse, you will both no longer have as much energy to invest in each other physically, emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually.
With all the dramatic changes that your tiny new tenant has wrought in your household, you may wonder, "Where do I fit in?" With no clear sense of purpose in your home, you may suddenly feel like an observer of events that seem outside your control. If so, then stop sitting on the sidelines. You may be able to shake a good deal of your depression by taking action. Define your role more clearly by participating as an equal partner.
If you're out of the house working most of the day, try to assume more than your share of caregiving when you get home. Especially if your partner works outside the home, too, you should increase your share of child care and other parenting responsibilities. Help out with household chores, too. Recognize that your partner has a full-time job even if she's "only" with the baby all day. Do some cleaning and cooking and diapering and work your way out of depression.
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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Bringing Up Baby © 1997 by Kevin Osborn. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
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