Having a baby is an event that typically brings a lot of joy and excitement for couples. However, roughly 10-15% of new birthing (female-bodied) parents suffer from postpartum depression (PPD), with symptoms being either moderate or severe. Fortunately, PPD is a common health issue with much discussion and content outlining the symptoms and treatment.
It is not commonly discussed that male-bodied parents can absolutely suffer from depression as well. While this depression is usually caused by stress and lack of sleep, and not the hormonal shifts typically responsible for female-bodied parents’ PPD, the fact remains that approximately 10% of biologically male people can and do suffer from PPD.
Other research by APA has also shown that a “similar proportion” of male-bodied new parents experience some form of depression after the birth or adoption of their child. Since the frequency of depression is fairly similar between new parents of all genders, PPD can no longer be viewed as a female only issue.
Because of these recent findings, researchers are now recommending that all expectant or new parents receive regular screenings for signs of depression. This is especially important when people havea history of mental health issues in their own past or in their family lineage.
Causes of PPD in Male-Bodied Parents
A study out of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas published in the Journal of Family Issues found there were a handful of common causes of PPD in male-bodied parents:
They simply didn’t know they could suffer from PPD and so ignored any symptoms they were experiencing, instead of focusing on supporting their partner.
Gender Expectations & Related Repressed Feelings
They feel the need to fulfill stereotypical expectations that they aren’t bothered by emotions or major life transitions.They may be reluctant to share their feelings, let alone seek help because of them.
With these new findings, hopefully, more male-bodied partners and parents will pay attention to how they are feeling and seek help should they feel depression creeping on.
If you or a loved one are a new parent suffering from PPD and would like to explore treatment options, please get in touch with me.