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To think men genuinely can suffer from PND?

(67 Posts)
Inboxer Thu 30-Oct-14 20:59:24

My friend has received treatment for PND after her second child and thankfully is coming out of the worst of it now. However, her husband is now getting counselling for male post natal depression and her response to this was complete anger. She resents him claiming to have what she had which she claims was due to a hormonal imbalance and can't take him seriously.

I haven't said this to her but I think he may well be genuine and deserving of support. I don't know him ever so well but I find it entirely possible that he's feeling as sleep deprived, shell shocked, trapped and overwhelmed as she is. Yes it might not be hormonal but surely the huge upheaval that having a child brings could send either parent into depression? I know health visitors tend to look for it more in the mother and maybe this means men get overlooked. I know this couple have money worries too and that pressure must affect him too.

Am I being unreasonable to think his mental suffering could be as real as hers?

grocklebox Thu 30-Oct-14 21:02:56

of course it can be as real as hers, but its not PND, which specifcally refers to the depression after giving birth, and is directly linked to hormonal imbalnces.

He might well be clinically depressed. He does not have PND. But then neither do a lot of women who say they have PND, it seems to be used as a catch all for any kind of depression if you have young children.

edwinbear Thu 30-Oct-14 21:03:17

My DH suffered from PTSD after witnessing a very difficult birth with ds and I'm sure many men find such a monumental shift in lifestyle/responsibility difficult. I'm not sure I would refer to it as PND though.

Cundtbake Thu 30-Oct-14 21:04:04

If he's suffering from depression then of course his suffering is as real as hers was, it can be really hard to support somebody through MH problems though maybe she's finding it really stressful with a new baby and a DH with depression. Not excusing her but it is tough.

I haven't heard of male post natal depression though. Isn't it just depression? Since he hasn't given birth?

Andrewofgg Thu 30-Oct-14 21:05:11

It did not depress me - quite the reverse - but I remember sleep deprivation (DS ff), upheaval, and a general feeling that the world had turned upside down. Like I say I loved it and so did DW - we had, I think, an exceptionally easy baby to deal with - and I can't obviously say whether it affected one of us more than the other.

And neither can your friend, and if I had my judgy pants on I would disapprove. But I haven't and I don't.

Winterbells Thu 30-Oct-14 21:07:29

Of course his mental suffering is as real as hers and he deserves help and support and understanding. There is no doubt about that. It's very sad that she is not being understanding. It's not a competition about who is worse off.

However PND is directly related to hormonal imbalances after birth, so it would be more of a situational depression brought on by life changes. That doesn't make his pain any less legitimate and nor should it be ignored or ridiculed. My own husband suffered after the birth of our children.

Inboxer Thu 30-Oct-14 21:08:48

How did he suffer Winterbells?

ReallyTired Thu 30-Oct-14 21:16:13

Technically postnatal depression is caused by massive hormonal changes which men do not experience. However life changes like marriage, having a baby, changing a job can cause mental health issues. Arguing whether a man has depression or postnatal depression is a little pointless. Men can suffer with severe depression and deserve treatment and support as much as women.

I feel depression can create tunnel vision. Your own misery is so extreme that you cannot see the world around you. I expect that your friend is struggling so much with her own health that she cannot see her husband's problems.

MammaTJ Thu 30-Oct-14 21:16:58

PTSD, jealousy, could be many reasons. My own DP just got on with it when we came close to losing DD, then 54 weeks later came close to losing me, while giving birth to DS.

He could claim PTSD quite legitimately but just got on with it. He was amazing.

He does get upset from time to time, mostly he is just strong and awesome!

Everyone is different though!

ILovePud Thu 30-Oct-14 21:19:16

As with many major life events having a baby can bring about all kinds of social and psychological changes which will trigger depression in some people, women and men. It's inaccurate to apply the term PND to men experiencing depression relating to the birth of their child though and I wonder if this mislabelling is actually serving to undermine the validity of the experience of this man's depression in your friend's eyes. I hope your friend and her hubby can work through this, it's hard living with depression but it's hard living with a depressed partner too.

OliviaBlue Thu 30-Oct-14 21:19:18

I think he's just trying to ride the bandwagon tbh. My DH did the same and I made it quite clear that I knew what he was trying to do and I wasn't going to stand for it. Miraculously, he recovered in like a day.

I'm not saying it's not possible, but I think he's probably faking for attention.

ReallyTired Thu 30-Oct-14 21:22:07

"He does get upset from time to time, mostly he is just strong and awesome!"

* MammaTJ* are you suggesting that a man who does suffer mental illness is not strong and not awesome?

Sometimes someone is so strong that they reach a point when they completely break. It is hard living with someone with severe depression and it can cause a huge strain in the relationship. Martial break up can cause depression as well.

Winterbells Thu 30-Oct-14 21:23:39

While I was pregnant he was really excited and looking forward to each of our babies being born. With our first he was a wonderful birth partner and an amazing father for the first couple of weeks, he did everything he could. Then he started to change, he became withdrawn, he couldn't sleep, couldn't eat, I would hear him crying sometimes, he would get angry with me or just in general. It was awful. He kept trying to hide it which just made it worse. Eventually he got help and was able to get better.

Years later, the second time around, he was again amazing but I had a traumatic birth that left me unable to walk or lift my arms or hold anything for a long time. I relied on him a lot more and I also was suffering from extremely severe PND. He became a very anxious person and again started to withdraw and so on. He was still a wonderful husband and father but he was suffering. He's still on medication and in therapy.
He is a fantastic person and a brilliant father and husband, just to be clear. I don't want to disparage him. I wouldn't have pulled through without his love and support.

So, yes, I do believe men when they say they are struggling and depressed. No, it isn't PND but it is still depression that is brought on by huge life changes and they deserve support.

ILovePud Thu 30-Oct-14 21:23:48

Blooming heck Olivia that sounds a bit harsh, depression is very real, I don't know what was going on with you and your DH there but I doubt that's the norm.

OliviaBlue Thu 30-Oct-14 21:34:12

@ILovePud - I know my husband very well and it was clear to me that he was jealous that I was getting attention for having a baby. Everyone has different relationships, but my DH is very childish sometimes. Like I said, everyone's different.

Imbimba Thu 30-Oct-14 21:34:46

A friend of mine has written a book about PND in fathers and talked to loads of dads who had suffered, and professionals who have encountered it.
Can't do a link as I'm on my phone - 'Sad Dad' is the title.

Inboxer Thu 30-Oct-14 21:36:42

Thank you Winterbells that's really helpful. Sounds very similar to my friend's husband - apparently he's always lethargic and gets very anxious about little things.

WorraLiberty Thu 30-Oct-14 21:38:12

If everyone's different then why do you 'think he's just trying to ride the bandwagon', OliviaBlue?

You might know your own husband very well, but you don't know the guy in the opening post at all.

OliviaBlue Thu 30-Oct-14 21:39:02

Okay, I apologize, I was projecting my own relationship there - I just was speaking about my own experience.

Babiecakes11 Thu 30-Oct-14 21:39:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

grocklebox Thu 30-Oct-14 21:41:13

It's not recognised in psychiatric diagnostic material. Thats because its not a thing.
Depression in men after they become fathers, sure thats a thing. Specically post-natal depression cannot happen in men. They are never natal, they cannot be post natal. This refers to the physical act of pregnancy and birth, men cannot experience this.

Is this part of the general trend of medicalising normal human experience? I just googled a list of so-called symptoms of pnd in men, they are mostly normal things you would expect after your child arriving....lack of sleep, feelings of immense change, fear of failure as a parent etc. These are not medical problems.

BertieBotts Thu 30-Oct-14 21:41:25

There are two different things, the massive lifestyle change and culture shock that happens when you have a baby - which tends to disproportionately affect women, BTW, because women tend to take on the bulk of the changes, but I don't see why it wouldn't affect men if they did take on the changes too.

The hormonal side is true - the huge movement of hormones following the end of pregnancy, childbirth, removal of placenta, breastfeeding, especially stopping/not breastfeeding, that's another risk factor - these can cause symptoms of depression, that's total brain chemistry at work. So no, it's not going to affect men because they haven't been through pregnancy, labour, childbirth, lost a placenta or stopped breastfeeding.

I think both parts get labelled as PND but only the second one is hormonal. I think it would be useful if they were given separate names, actually, such as childbirth-triggered PND or hormonal PND and situational depression which commonly occurs in the post natal period. But obviously most people experience a bit of both parts and it would only be if it was severe enough to cause an issue that you'd want to call it anything at all.

Olivia is on the wind up tonight, BTW, I wouldn't pay too much heed.

ChazzerChaser Thu 30-Oct-14 21:42:25

If you don't know him why don't you trust your friend's reading of the situation, given she is your friend?

BertieBotts Thu 30-Oct-14 21:45:33

I do think it's a bit ridiculous to call it "Male PND" and I'd be angry if my husband claimed to have that too.

Struggling with new fatherhood and money worries, yes. But "male PND", sod off. The clue is in the name. Post Natal. After Birth.

natal (adj.)
late 14c., "of or pertaining to birthdays," from Latin natalis "pertaining to birth or origin," from natus, past participle of nasci "to be born" (Old Latin gnasci; see genus).

BertieBotts Thu 30-Oct-14 21:51:28

As to why I would be angry - it's sort of dismissive, isn't it? It's like instead of supporting her at a time that she has needed a lot of support, he's said "Oh I think I've got a bit of that, yeah, the male version" and gone and found somebody to make a fuss over him about it.

I don't know why I feel this strongly TBH - I suspect it is literally the name and the appropriation of women's suffering - if [the hypothetical husband] had just said "You know what, I'm finding it all a bit hard to cope with too, I'm going to get myself some counselling" then I'd think great, good idea. I'm all for counselling. I just can't get past the ridiculousness of calling it "male PND" even if it is just a lazy shorthand for "situational depression caused by stress and life changes after having a second child". It just comes across as a bit "Yeah yeah, enough about you, now worry about poor old me". Which is nuts because I'd have had sympathy for him if he'd just called it "depression" or "feeling low" confused

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