Research published in The Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that the overall estimate is “One in 10 new fathers experience prenatal or postpartum depression,” a condition long thought to affect only mothers. The research analyzed 43 studies involving 28,004 fathers observed during the period between the first trimester of pregnancy until one year after the birth. The 10.4% depression (in new fathers) finding is more than double the 4.8 percent among men in the general population. “About a quarter of women experience depression during pregnancy and about one-tenth have postpartum depression.” The brief analysis of this new statistic was discussed in yesterday’s New York Times article, Having a Baby: Depression Affects New Fathers, Too by Roni Caryn Rabin. (thanks Matt S.)
The men are at the highest risk for depression three to six months after the birth of a child, and their depression often corresponds with depression in the mother, the paper found. “It may be Mom’s depression leading the way; it may be Dad’s depression leading the way; it may have to do with the child’s temperament,” said Dr. James F. Paulson, of the Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Va., the lead author of the paper, told The Times.
If you want to dig even deeper into paternal depression, check out the complete paper from The Journal of the American Medical Association.
The study was unable to find the exact causes of the increase in father depression. My two cents on the possible causes – the anxiety of knowing you will be losing a ton of sleep, the need to become less selfish and self-centered, your wife/partner may love this child more than you, maintaining work-life balance, and the money that will start flowing out of your pocket- in the literal sense on new clothes, baby supplies, babysitters, and 529 Accounts for College. Additionally, you may also become depressed when you look at the exorbitant cost of childcare, preschool, and college!
Ok, so now we know that 10% of new fathers experience depression. What are the solutions to paternal depression?