When Paternal/Dad Depression Checks in

Many of us associate pregnancy and birth-related depressions to moms. It’s important to note that dads too can get affected. Our society expects men to be calm and strong in every situation. As a result, when a man feels anxious and out of control, he suppresses it.

In Kenya, cases of paternal depression do exist, although there are no clear statistics on them. The problem begins in the first trimester of their partner’s pregnancy, and may cease when the baby is about 6 months old after birth. Let’s expound our understanding on this ailment.

What Causes Dad to Get Depressed?

Research depicts sleep to be the major cause of depression in dads. It suggests that extensive lack of sleep may affect your brain’s chemistry, increasing the risk of getting depressed.

Other risk factors of paternal anxiety and depression include:

  • Previous depression experience 
  • Experience of a partner’s difficult delivery
  • Having a sick baby
  • Financial instability
  • Personal experience of alcohol or drug abuse
  • Insufficient support from friends and family
  • Having a baby with special needs
  • The conditions of parenting differ from their expectations

Signs of Paternal Depression

Look out for the following symptoms:

  •  You get uncharacteristically agitated or irritable
  • You create a distance from your partner and your baby
  • You engage in reckless activities such as abuse of drugs
  • You feel sad and disinterested in things you used to like
  • Your time at work becomes longer than usual
  • Difficulty in concentration
  • Loss of interest in sex and work

Taking Care of Yourself

 We may be good at keeping our family in good shape, but many of us are unable to take care of ourselves. To push depression out of your life, consider the following ways:

  •  Stay healthy: Get enough sleep, follow a healthy diet, and stay active
  • Improve your connection: Stay in touch with your friends
  • Share your feelings: Talking about your problem may help you feel better

Getting Professional Help

Your depression may have a huge impact on the baby and other children in your family. If it, however, persists, it’s essential to seek professional help. Note that although the condition may be serious, you can recover from it with proper treatment. 

  Before getting an appointment with a psychologist, find out:

  • Whether they have specialized training
  • Whether they been to conferences on parental depression
  • The number of years they have been treating paternal depression

 Note that therapy can help you to manage stress, work responsibilities, and relationship challenges that may emanate later.


#Please note that development differs from one child to another.

#Content intended for educational purposes only, and should not be substituted for medical advice from your doctor.

#Be careful when using any products mentioned on this website. We hold no regulations for such products or their providers.

Last reviewed January 2019

Sources: drsarahallen, parents, postpartummen

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