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Dads Get the Blues Too: Understanding Postpartum Depression in Men

Newborn bliss? Not always. While postpartum depression (PPD) is often associated with mothers, fathers can also experience this emotional rollercoaster. Society often paints a picture of the ecstatic new dad, but the reality can be far more complex. Here’s why dads shouldn’t ignore the possibility of PPD and how to recognize and navigate it.

The Myth of the Stoic Dad

Men are traditionally expected to be the strong, silent types, bottling up their emotions. This societal pressure can make it difficult for dads to acknowledge and express feelings of sadness, anxiety, or withdrawal – all hallmarks of PPD. They might feel like they’re failing at their new role if they struggle to connect with the baby or feel overwhelmed by the additional responsibilities.

The Unexpected Triggers of Dad PPD

The factors contributing to PPD in men can be similar to those in women, but with some unique twists. Sleep deprivation, a major culprit, is a given with a newborn. But for dads, there might be an added layer of stress due to needing to maintain their work schedule alongside caring for the baby. Financial worries, a strain on the relationship with their partner, and a lack of social support from other dads can all exacerbate the situation.

Symptoms That Don’t Quite Fit the Mold

While some symptoms of PPD in men mirror those in women (fatigue, changes in appetite, difficulty concentrating), men might express their distress differently. Look for signs like increased anger, irritability, or withdrawing from the family. They might become more withdrawn or engage in risky behaviors as a way to cope.

Left untreated, Dad’s PPD can have a ripple effect on the entire family. It can strain the relationship with their partner, create a disconnect with the baby, and even affect the child’s development. Recognizing the signs and seeking help is crucial for everyone’s well-being.

Breaking the Silence: Talking About Dad PPD

The first step is acknowledging the possibility that Dad might be struggling. Open communication with your partner is key. Encourage him to talk about his feelings without judgment. Seek support groups specifically for dads experiencing PPD. There are online resources and forums where dads can connect and share their experiences.

Just like women, men with PPD have treatment options available. Therapy can equip dads with coping mechanisms for managing stress and emotional fluctuations. Medication might be an additional option depending on the severity of the case.

It’s Okay to Not Be Okay

Fatherhood is a beautiful but challenging experience. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you’re struggling. Remember, being a good dad isn’t about maintaining a facade of strength. It’s about acknowledging your vulnerabilities and seeking support to create a happy and healthy environment for yourself and your family.


Horsager-Boehrer, R. M. (2024, March 18). 1 in 10 dads experience postpartum depression, anxiety: How to spot the signs [Blog post]. UTSW MedBlog. Retrieved from https://utswmed.org/medblog/paternal-postpartum-depression/

Scarff, J. R. (2019). Postpartum depression in men. Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience, 16(5-6), 11–14. doi: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6659987/