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What is Male Post Natal Depression?

By Garry Crystal
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Post natal depression in women is a widely recognized condition, but a lesser-known condition is male post natal depression. The main reason that this condition is lesser known is that men often find it difficult to talk about. Some men do not realize that they are suffering from the condition.

Depression that occurs after a child is born has been linked to an increase in depression in general for a large number of men. It sometimes occurs as a reaction when a man's female partner is suffering from post natal depression. Many men have claimed that coping with their partner’s depression leaves them feeling overwhelmed, isolated, and stigmatized.

According to health workers, male post natal depression has led to the breakup of many marriages. A vast majority of breakups occur after the birth of a child. Many couples are not aware that post natal depression is the cause of the breakup.

A great many women hide their depression to the extent that their partners are not aware of the reason behind their mood swings. The female's depression can be transferred to the male, sometimes causing suicidal tendencies in the male.

Another reason for male post natal depression is that many men find it difficult to cope with the birth of a child. The new addition to the family can be stressful, especially if the male has to work during the day and cope with the child at night. This type of depression is independent from female depression. While female post natal depression is thought to be hormonal, the male condition is considered more physical.

One of the biggest problems for men when it comes to male post natal depression is a lack of support. There are numerous support groups and much help available for women, but there are often fewer resources for depressed fathers. In addition, men have historically been reluctant to talk about this type of depression, and statistics regarding it have only recently highlighted the problem.

Symptoms of male post natal depression can include feelings of isolation and mood swings. There may also be work related problems, and substance abuse may develop as a symptom. Other symptoms may manifest themselves as lethargy, anxiety attacks, loss of sex drive, difficulty in concentration, headaches, and stomach pains. If these symptoms appear, it is important that they are taken seriously, and a medical professional should be consulted. More and more support groups are starting to appear as the problems of male post natal depression are becoming recognized.

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Discussion Comments
By anon281957 — On Jul 26, 2012

My partner, who I was due to marry in three months, couldn't take any more and left.

Our son is five months old and from day one my partner has cried and had deep anxiety. He worries about every detail and expects the worst to happen, like uncontrolled screaming and I can't cope so he has to, etc. He was on the edge of his seat night after night. He missed our old life together, and started to resent my two other children from previous marriage. He wished it was just me and our son.

He got headaches, shaky sweaty hands, heart palpitations, all signs of deep anxiety and then depression. He went to work and never came home. He said he felt like the love for me had gone and he couldn't live a lie anymore, and had felt like it for two weeks! It's now been three weeks since he left. He is open to getting back together, even though he still feels no love for me right now.

He is on strong anti depressants, sedatives to help him sleep and taking cognitive behavioural therapy three times a week plus a group session. He is the kindest, most honest, loving man I have ever known and I am so in love with him. Still it's breaking my heart seeing him fall like this. I am praying the meds help him back to reality and me.

PPD is totally real.. I am living it!

By anon168898 — On Apr 19, 2011

I have searched the internet for the first time today regarding male PND and almost every one of my symptoms match with those mentioned in this article.

my wife and I have a son of 19 months and just a matter of weeks ago she gave birth to our second son.

My wife suffered from PND after the birth of our 1st son and I spotted the signs and got her the help she needed, however, now I feel that I am the one needing the help.

Mood swings, shouting for no reason, wanting to cry all the time, wanting to walk out on my family and commitments, picking fights with my wife, and through all this, she just takes it and carries on.

I can't wait to see my doctor later this week to see if he recognises this male PND.

By anon166776 — On Apr 10, 2011

Chin up guys. I've had to listen to various comments from hospital staff, partners, friends and internet experts on what our roles should be.

On day 2, i was in the spare room. From our point of view, what's the point in having two sleep-deprived people? As for family support, instead of calling round for a coffee, mothers in law should be offering to help by giving the mother time to sleep.

Medical professionals do offer some good advice, but remember this: advice has changed numerous times over the past 50 years, and we have to tailor the needs of the family, as everyone should know by now that one size doesn't fit all when looking after a baby.

One final point: women should not have to put up with disrespectful, demeaning comments, but neither should men. You guys should never let you partner belittle and nag you. You should be a healthy team, all pulling in the same direction, especially during a time that can be an occasion that will stretch you to the limits.

By anon163514 — On Mar 28, 2011

this is very interesting to read about. i am a stay at home dad (i was laid off right when my son was born) and i am really having trouble bonding with him. you would think that being at home with him all day long (while my wife is at work) would help me be closer to him, but it's not. This is the first child for both of us, and though it was unplanned, we were both very happy when we found out she was pregnant.

I try to participate as much as possible in hopes that it will make me feel closer with my son, but it just is not working. i am short on patience and the fact that he is not sleeping at night is very difficult for me to deal with. I want to be overcome with love for my son, but it just is not happening for me.

When my wife was pregnant, i was very confident that i was going to do a good job as a dad, but now i feel like a total failure. i am also worried about my relationship with my wife as she has a very poor relationship with her own father. I don't want her to see parts of him in me, but i can tell that is what is happening. It is very sad, and i feel like a horrible human being.

By anon152088 — On Feb 12, 2011

I may be going through this. I delivered our new baby son as we didn't make it to the hospital in time. Everyone is congratulating me, and saying what a great job I did, but I feel emotionally detached from everything. Having crazy mood swings and am unable to be supportive to my wife.

I thought that I may just be being a selfish creep, and maybe I am. I honestly don't know.

By anon148892 — On Feb 02, 2011

After the birth of our twins, I was doing the feeds at night, preparing the food in the morning before going to work and in the evening for their bed time, plus my day of work. My wife was handing over the babies to me as soon as I was in the house. She has friends around and family, but I don't. My life is my work, wife and babies.

I don't get any rest and worst, she is yelling at me constantly as I don't do the right thing. I feel very low, lethargic, work is annoying. I cannot concentrate and it shows, I feel rather incompetent at the moment, and I am not as driven as before. I have no hobby anymore and my purpose in life is to bring money for the family and being shouted at, at home. When I tell her that I feel depressed, she say that I should toughen up and that she is the one with PND.

Maybe it is all in my head and I should do better, be better, but life is crap at the moment. Every day I am considering jumping in front of a train. I know it is only a matter of time before I do it. I feel so alone and truly unloved.

By anon139269 — On Jan 04, 2011

Prior to falling pregnant, I had a two year stint of depression and know how hellish it can be. Our baby is now six months old, and I had a tough time of it and am still recovering physically! However, from him being about a month old I thought my hubby was depressed.

I asked him regularly how his mood was, if he was OK, was he sure he wasn't depressed. About a month ago, he had some medical problems and was signed off work and due to Christmas and some car/snow problems was actually off work for nearly a full month - he's gone back today (notwithstanding some more car problems).

While he was off his mood got worse, so finally, a few days ago I asked him to look up PND in men. He did, and now seems to recognize that he is suffering from depression.

I knew it all along, having suffered from depression myself (although I've been fine since I got pregnant). I'm glad we now know what the problem is, and all we need to do is get help, which there seems to be very little of!

Oh, and to all those women who say "toughen up" or "PND in men doesn't exist" it just goes to show how much you care about your partners!

By anon138076 — On Dec 30, 2010

Male pnd is very real. One aspect nobody realizes is the sudden change of lifestyle.

While we are aware a baby is life changing, the extent of this is overwhelming-certainly in my case. In the few weeks after our son's birth, the gym, my cricket and football, road running, my allotment and my art all disappeared, yet to return. These hobbies made me happy (and exercise is great for endorphins/well being) and have yet to return.

Replacing your hobbies with nappies and teething is stressful and boring. Childcare routines become repetitive and dull, even for the most doting parent. It is to be hoped I can resume one or two of these at a future date (when our son is out of nappies/talking/sleeping/who knows?) but I know I have never been so unhappy in my life as since we had a child.

We men feel how we feel - being told to harden up/step up our game etc is unhelpful (are we supposed to be emotional retards or, when we express how we feel get criticized for not being man enough-see my point?) and PND in Men should not be ignored.

By anon127876 — On Nov 17, 2010

I am a dad to a 13 month old boy. my partner has recently left me due to postnatal depression. my son was born by emergency c section due to complications in birth. I was lucky to be allowed in to see my son being born.

For 13 months i have seen my partner become more and more distant from me and she would pick a fight for no reason. i didn't tell her the full truth on how our son was born. she was so drugged up she cannot remember holding him for the first time or being shown him over the screen. i know that i should have told her the full truth but i didn't know how she would take it. she got upset very easily when she started to talk about this topic.

i have now recently discovered about male pnd. none of the "services" designed for families actually listen to the dads. i have looked at some of the symptoms of male pnd and i can honestly say i have some of the symptoms but i didn't want say it out aloud. as men we are supposed to look after the family, provide and protect them, or that's what i thought.

By anon119952 — On Oct 19, 2010

I'm not sure if I can confirm that what I have is PND but ever since my wife gave birth a week ago, my emotions have just sprung out of control. I constantly feel an immense feeling of sadness, melancholy and at other times extremely happy. It's almost pendulum-like.

My worst times are in the mornings when I have to go to work and the 1st half of my mornings are usually very difficult ones, with me sitting at my desk and constantly thinking of my wife and son at home. It's crazy.

All I want to do is spend all the time I can with them together, but I know I can't because of work commitments, and that's really bringing me down to the ground.

By anon116504 — On Oct 06, 2010

wow I wasn't sure if there actually was a recognized illness as Male Post Natal Depression but it all now seems to make sense.

I am a Mum of a four year old and a nine month old and my partner of almost eight years has just left. He left three years ago when our first daughter was one and said he didn't love me anymore. After a couple of weeks he came back and things got better. We then planned to have another baby, which we did, and he has now left again, saying the same stuff like he doesn't love me and our relationship has become a downward spiral for him.

Could he be suffering from this? I am sure he still loves me but feel both babies just placed too much strain on our relationship. He refuses to admit that he has any issues and blames everything on me but just seems like such a coincidence that both times he has left was when our girls were little.

How do I support him through this in an attempt to get my family back?

By anon116149 — On Oct 05, 2010

I have just read all the posts and the article. I am currently doing my bachelors degree in health and I am planning doing an assignment on putting together a program for men to help them through the pregnancy and the first year of their baby's life, hopefully being able to demystify parenthood for them and to help them be involved and therefore reducing the instances of postnatal depression.

My husband found it hard with our first child and he has said that he didn't know what to expect and what to do and it made him feel helpless. Male post natal depression is very real and very scary for the ones who go through it.

We unfortunately still have people out there who just don't get it (meaning the one who said toughen up). I hope one day you aren't in distress like others who suffer depression and someone says toughen up to you. it could be the thing that would push someone over the edge and commit suicide. Men need the same support and consideration the same as women. As soon as we do that, we may see not only a decline in depression but also see a decline in men leaving the family home and never seeing their kids again. Excellent article.

By anon110669 — On Sep 12, 2010

I have a 10 and 7 year old, and a three week old baby girl. it's my third child but it's my partner's first. Even before she was born he had shut me out and now he has just shut me out completely, he's moody and has now turned against my seven year old girl as well.

I do everything inside the house, cooking cleaning and all the night feeds and don't ever wake him as he has to get up for work. he wears ear plugs to bed.

I don't know what to do other than live my life and look after my girls. I feel very rejected by him!

By anon110634 — On Sep 12, 2010

my partner recently gave birth and now i find that although I'm helping around the house and the baby, she seems to be rejecting me, not talking and has become very untidy. at the moment she's fine with our son. Is this normal behavior or early signs of post-natal depression?

By anon109797 — On Sep 09, 2010

I am truly horrified that the women posting here are so callous as to assume that childbirth is more difficult on them. Yes, physically, it is hard on us. Yes we have to do the hard yards, but we have all the good hormones to help us, and our husbands and partners do not.

For them, their world is rocked just as much as ours is. They have to leave their families on a daily basis to work and stay away for hours, knowing that they are missing out on all of the milestones that the stay at homer gets to witness. They are tired, too.

Depression is real. It kills people every year. They may not have the hormones but they have the emotions.

My husband is struggling right now. I had twins seven months ago and we lost one at birth. I am not coping, so why should he? Our remaining seven month old is a repeated waker so neither of us get a lot of sleep.

We also have a two year old who has suddenly made tantrums her main way of communicating. It's not an easy life. He works in a high stress job, so why shouldn't he feel lost and alone?

We have no family around us and few friends who can help out. We both need help, but can't afford it anymore. With a little more support, rather than people with attitudes, then maybe the suicide rate among men could be lowered rather than remain really quite high.

By anon106343 — On Aug 25, 2010

Just read a few of the posts, and am feeling a bit weepy now. I'm a 34 year old male with two kids, 4 year old boy, 2 year old girl, and since the birth of my son I felt isolated, almost scared to bond with him.

We had a torrid first year with him, and for the first 18 months he never slept more than two hours during the night. He just cried and cried, this left my wife and me at our wits' end.

I worked all day 12-13 hour hard labor shifts and found it really difficult. When our second baby came along i found it much easier. She was much easier to deal with, we bonded straight away and now i feel so much guilt for not being able to bond with my first born.

It's untrue. i still feel exhausted, i have mood swings all the time, and sometimes i just wish i could run away from it all, but i know that's not the answer, and i know i might get slated for saying that but its how i feel.

i must point out i never would as i do love my kids and wife. it's the isolation as a father you go through that hurts the most. I look at myself and think I'm so selfish, and then hate myself for feelings i have. It's so confusing. anyway, hopefully someone out there might offer me some inspiration.

By anon105670 — On Aug 21, 2010

Gents, keep your heads up, I suffered from Male PND seven years ago. i lost my marriage as a result of it but in time have been able to overcome PND have now remarried and am more open with my feelings in relation to my two new children and this helps. if your doctor does not take you seriously, find another doctor, but hang in there

By anon96338 — On Jul 15, 2010

I recently became a father to twin boys and i am feeling totally void of any emotion, feelings and love for my boys. i feel like a failure as a father already. I am seeing a counselor at great expense, but still feel void and empty. my wife has been amazing and i love her with all my heart. I'm at the the end of my tether. help please.-- ade

By anon96233 — On Jul 14, 2010

Geez, listening to some of you telling men to 'harden up'. No wonder men find it difficult to talk about their feeling and admit when they aren't coping, if this is the attitude! Did you ever think you might be contributing to it?

My husband has just been diagnosed with PND. Our baby is nine months old. His depression has not affected his relationship with our baby, but it has affected his relationship with everything else, from work, to friendships and especially our relationship. He is suffering and what he needs is support - not to be told to toughen up.

Having a baby is a massive change for everyone involved - just because you are the mother does not mean you are the only one whose life has changed.

I am proud of my husband for going to the doctor and talking about his problems and for trying to get help. All I can offer is my love and support. Telling him to 'act like a man' or 'harden up' is just childish and selfish.

By anon89114 — On Jun 08, 2010

my husband has pnd and his doctors are not doing anything. It's so hard to handle.

i do almost everything so he has no stress at home but he can't bond with our baby and almost acts as if he is not there. it hurts so much because our baby is the sweetest, quiet, happiest little soul and i adore him and can't understand why hubby doesn't!

i had an emergency c section and he is our fourth baby. he was not planned and the baby and I almost died at birth but it doesn't bother me. my hubby said he blames the baby for my body going through so much. i answered (nastily) who put the baby there? my world is a mess and though i feel on cloud 9 with my lovely family, it's ripping my heart into 1000 pieces knowing how my hubby feels.

we have been to the doctor and they told him to get some sleep, that he was just tired. the man sleeps 10 hours a night for crying out loud, and he's not crabby with anyone else -- just the newborn!

By anon88307 — On Jun 04, 2010

me and my partner of five years have two children together; the youngest is six weeks. since i gave birth to her, he has changed massively.

He won't feed her, he won't cuddle her and try and settle her. He leaves it all to me, and he has now changed towards our four year old son.

i wish i could help him, but he will not talk to me, and when i said he should go and talk to a doctor, he got angry and accused me of calling him a bad parent which is not the case as he is fantastic. i just wish i could help him.

Could my very difficult pregnancy and history of depression be a factor in him feeling this way?

By anon87909 — On Jun 02, 2010

OK everybody. I am a GP (i.e family doctor) and my wife had our first child (a boy) seven weeks ago. ( I am 38, she 39).

I work all day, and come home after hard slog ( read: listening to 40 people whingeing about their lost scripts, painful hips etc) only to be confronted with more of the same. Now before all the feminazis start going on about their wahoo like a previous poster, let me say I do all the cooking, most of the cleaning, change nappies, and wash etc., etc. after asking how my wife's day went. Every day. Never get the same in return.

Don't know how guys with heavy laboring jobs keep going. At least you don't have the mental fatigue, but won't swap with you! Harden up, says a previous poster (i.e burnt female whose husband left her)? I don't think so. Equality works both ways. I think you need your borderline tendencies dealt with before you infect everyone here.

Seek help from your family doctors, guys. Seek a male. They (we) understand.

By anon87899 — On Jun 02, 2010

Jesus. Male PPD? I don't think so. Come on lads, step up to the plate. This is the exact reason why women give birth and not men - they couldn't cope with it.

By anon76378 — On Apr 10, 2010

i am finding it very hard since my little girl has come into the world. has anybody got advice in this because I'm not dealing with it too well.

By anon67525 — On Feb 25, 2010

I have just had nine months of morning sickness, back ache etc, then pushed a 10 pound baby out of my wahoo- ended up being stitched from butthole to breakfast and have hemorrhoids the size of red globe grapes -- and my nipples are literally falling off.

The only reason why men suffer from post natal depression is because for the first time they are not the center of their partner's attention. Harden up fellas and welcome to the real world.

By anon63934 — On Feb 04, 2010

It's been two weeks since my little girl was born. The happiest moment of my life and all that, but I'm feeling useless. I'm very tired and due to the nature of my job haven't had much of a paternity leave. I'm at work now, and I'm really not happy.

It's true there is no support for men and you're almost perceived as being the 'pain in the butt' of the relationship no matter how had you work. I'm really overdoing it but it feels like a necessity. I don't know, it's not like writing this makes any difference. i love my little girl and the missus. ah well, life goes on.

By anon55068 — On Dec 04, 2009

my beautiful baby boy was born in september. he's amazing, but i have been feeling many of the symptoms explained above which, after i told my partner of two years in probably not the best way, has devastated my life as she worries i will harm him.

This web site has been of great assistance to me knowing that I'm not the first nor the last man that has been through this. I'm sure my battle has just begun but i will not give up on my son -- ever.

By anon48256 — On Oct 11, 2009

My partner of five years, whom i love dearly and would spend the rest of my life with, without even thinking; has a two-week-old baby; and is withdrawing from us. he is a big part in my life, and now he is being very immature, believing the baby is not his. is this a sign of postnatal depression or something else? and if it is what do we do and how do we talk to him about it.

By anon33504 — On Jun 07, 2009

Oh my God! I have all the symptoms! I did not know that I am suffering from this serious fatal disease! What should I do now??

By anon33468 — On Jun 06, 2009

i really find it interesting that you have put an article up on post natal depression in men. it should be recognized as a problem so people out there who suffer from it have something to refer to. I'm pleased i've found this article as a few of the things apply to myself and i now know where to turn to get help and advice. Thank you very much.

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