Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Dads get down in the dumps, too

You may have seen the story in yesterday's New York Times about how it's not just women who suffer from postpartum depression (PPD)—those feelings can overwhelm fathers, too. There is so much that still needs to be done about PPD awareness even when it comes to new moms, that it's easy to overlook the issues that can plague dads, too.

I'm sure I wasn't the only one surprised to learn about the science behind male PPD. As
Times writer Richard A. Friedman, M.D., explains, "there is probably more to male postpartum depression than just social or psychological stress; like motherhood, fatherhood has its own biology, and it may actually change the brain... There is also some evidence that testosterone levels tend to drop in men during their partner’s pregnancy, perhaps to make expectant fathers less aggressive and more likely to bond with their newborns. Given the known association between depression and low testosterone in middle-aged men, it is possible that this might also put some men at risk of postpartum depression."

Fortunately, there are many resources for new parents (whether you're a mother or a father) that can ease the new-parent adjustment and feelings of isolation. The Twin Cities also boast excellent counselors to help sort through more complicated responses, like PPD. For more specifics, see Pregnancy & Postpartum Support Minnesota for the Minnesota Perinatal Mental Health Resource List, as well as more information about the emotional challenges that often accompany the first years of starting a family. Fathers may also want to check out a web site devoted just to them, called Postpartum Men.

New dads, also know that Blooma caters to families — fathers, too — not just moms. Be on the lookout for special classes just for you, like infant massage for dads. Or, drop your baby off in our childcare room while you take time to breathe and move in a Yoga For You class. We know that not everything is solved with a good yoga class, but taking time for you is a good start, whether you're a new mama or a new daddy.

Alisa, Sarah & the women of Blooma

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