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Postpartum Depression

Postpartum Depression in Dads?
By Karen Kleiman, MSW
Karen KleimanQ. I have a friend who had her third baby two months ago. Starting last week, her husband is withdrawn and won't talk to ANYONE. After work he goes outside and works in the yard until dark, stares off into space and has stopped doing his hobbies that he used to enjoy. My friend said that after the birth of their second child, he acted the same way, but this time it is worse. She is really worried and doesn't know what to do.

A. Yes, absolutely dads can get depressed after the birth of a baby. We just don't hear a lot about it. Women are more at risk for depression, and they are also more likely to seek help when they become symptomatic, so for those reasons, we tend to address the issue of men and depression less often. But particularly if he has experienced depression previously, which you indicated, that would make him more vulnerable to depression again.

What should she do? She should address it. She should reassure him. She should encourage him to seek professional help. She should talk to him about how he's feeling, follow his lead, then make sure he takes care of this.

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