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Male PND ??

(30 Posts)
monkeytrousers Sun 26-Jun-05 10:57:35

I hyjacked another thread (sorry Awen) and feel guilty so am just going to repeat it here if anyone would like to discuss.

The research may be important but I'm always suspicious when men attempt to hijack women’s issues and subvert the terminology.

Sure, dads may well suffer from depression after the birth of a child and it may then affect their children - but to call it PND??

It's my understanding that PND is a very specific condition linked to hormones during and after pregnancy. I can't be anymore specific as that but if anyone else can be then please pile in. But we differentiate between depression and PND, don't we? I think if there's a debate to be had, the terms of reference desperately need changing.

flamesparrow Sun 26-Jun-05 11:01:04

But surely the wording of Post Natal Depression, is depression resulting from and after birth.

What would you prefer it be called?

Women have spent years trying to get their PND taken seriously, and now many people are trying to belittle men who are trying to do the same thing.

Caligula Sun 26-Jun-05 11:35:11

I agree with both of you in that I think probably a post natal condition for men may exist, but it has obviously got to be different than the one which we currently call PND in women, because of the different hormones linked with pregnancy and birth. (Although I wonder if the same chemicals from the brain are being released?)

I don't think it's very useful to call it by the same name, but can't think what else to call it - something like paternal post natal syndrome?

Do sympathetic labour pains actually exist as well, or is that just a sitcom invention?

monkeytrousers Sun 26-Jun-05 11:42:47

I don't know what it could be called. But I do think the use of language is important. Has the claim that men have monthly cycles helped women with PMS? It's moved on alot but I don't think it's for that reason.

What I'm getting at is that it's a specific conditon linked to the physical effects of pregnancy and giving birth not simply the circumstances after that, however overwheming for both partners. To turn it into an umbrella term just makes the issues more woolly and perhaps easier to dismiss.

And I'm not trying to belittle men. I think its a valid issue but don't understand why womens experiences are once again being cast into the shadows by.. what can I call it...the patriachy (don't like the word but can't think of another one at the mo).

And I'm not sure if

monkeytrousers Sun 26-Jun-05 11:46:22

Good point about the same hormones maybe being responsible.

And sympathetic labour pains? Never come across it anecdotally (for a change, eh?). My dp just had the horrors!

monkeytrousers Sun 26-Jun-05 11:50:12

I'm hyjacking my own thread here but Caligula, do you think Guardian Angel should start a thread about wicked step-fathers??

WideWebWitch Sun 26-Jun-05 12:21:01

No-one knows what causes pnd do they? I think lots of people have tried to establish a cause/group of causes but I don't think there's an answer is there? I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong. But I have read(gosh, I'm sounding vague here, sorry!) a theory that pnd is a normal reaction to the upheaval/loss of freedom/lack of sleep surrounding the birth of a (usually first) baby. In which case men would be able to feel it as well as women. Granted it is usually women who spend more time with a new baby, especially if a woman is breastfeeding, so that plus the cocktail of hormones that follow childbirth would mean that women are more susceptible. I've also read that social isolation is a contributing factor, which makes sense to me. I think we weren't meant to parent in the way we sometimes have to, without help and support from family and trained professionals. But some instances of pnd must be hormonal, surely, because otherwise how can we explain that anti depressants work? And in instances where it's hormonal then no, men clearly cannot suffer. Well, they won't be able to until they're able to carry and deliver babies anyway. And even then one assumes the hormones involved will be different. I think in the future there will be (or there may be already, are there?) varying degrees/types of pnd. Mild cases may need counselling, doula services, womens' support groups and other cases will need a mixture of these and/or anti depressants.

Caligula Sun 26-Jun-05 12:21:34

Ha ha ha ha! S/he's unlikely to though, isn't s/he?

monkeytrousers Sun 26-Jun-05 13:59:55

I think it's reasonable to think that all those factors could contribute to PND. Exhaustion alone can have devestating effects on the nervous system.

I have also read that in the weeks and months after giving birth a woman has a catastrophic decline in progestoerone. I know corrolation isn't nescisarily causation but it should certainly be reason enough for alot more research. It certainly seems to be the case that AD's, specifically SSRI's can have a miraculaous effect in cases of depression and PND. The placebo effect can't account for all of them.

I can't believe so little seems to be understood about it yet still enough to claim it's a trans-gender illness. The lines appear to be blurring as I speak...

motherinferior Sun 26-Jun-05 14:05:59

I am with monkeytrousers - although I also agree that PND is actually a pretty realistic response to one's first baby, in particular.

The accounts of 'male PND' I've read were pretty self-indulgent, which doesn't help. I was left feeling 'so, it was difficult for you to adjust...er, what about the partner who is also dealing wiht the physical afermath? If it took you several weeks to change a nappy, who did it? Etc etc...

throckenholt Sun 26-Jun-05 14:33:07

just to put another point of view - my DH certianly got depressed in the year following the birth of our twins (was fine after previous singleton). He had never had any depression before. I think it is quite common for parents of twins to suffer from depression in the early years.

Obviuosly this is not caused by the physical reaction to giving birth (hormones etc) - but it is real - and it is depression - and it was as a direct result of the birth of the twins - and should not treated as if it is not as important as PND. I think many women probably also suffer depression that is not caused by hormones. I agree though that maybe the "physical" caused PND maybe should not be lumped together with all depressions that follow new children.

monkeytrousers Sun 26-Jun-05 14:50:58

A correct diagnosis would help with the treatment too.

Don't misunderstand me though, I think all depression is of equal importance.

throckenholt Sun 26-Jun-05 15:03:31

I guess the important thing is to work out the causes and treat them - so if PND as a physical result of having a baby is due to some hormone inbalance then it should be treated differently from something caused by chronic sleep derpivation, or general stress of "trying to cope with 3 kids under 2 and a full time job that demands clear thought" (as in my DH's case).

DH was never disagnosed with depression and was never treated for it - but it lasted maybe 4-6 months and almost resulted in him resigning from work.

monkeytrousers Sun 26-Jun-05 15:49:38

I can't imagine how you cope with twins and one more under two! I can't find the words...Has your dh recovered - and what about you? How'd you hold up under that amount of stress?

Another thing that bothers me about this re-appropriation of terms is that it is also happening in domestic violence issues.

It was a favourite tack last year for the fathers for justice navvies to attempt to equate the two issues of male to female violence and female to male violence and demand equal recourses allocated on both sides. The media responded by giving the issue a disproportionate amount of exposure and not one reporter or presenter challenged their blatant misappropriation of statistics.

In one free for all (it was the programme that replaced Kilroy) I watched disbelievingly as the presenter Nadia Swahala allowed some F4J neanderthal to intimidate another speaker into silence.

It was a very dark day for the BBC.

Luckily, it was incidents like this that revealed F4J for the bullies they were. But I think this demonstrates why these things always ring alarm bells off in my head.

adrift Sun 26-Jun-05 16:06:28

I thought it's assumed that there are two routes into PND, as with other depressions: ie, that there may be a biochemical/hormonal trigger (no one seems to know very much about the nuts and bolts of how this works in new mothers, the progesterone theory is only a theory), or a trigger from a culmination of stresses (traumatic birth/sleeplessness/BF anxiety etc).

Experts cannot differentiate between the two types; there is no blood test to distinguish one from the other. Until the illness earns two names instead of one, I won't begruge men their PND.

monkeytrousers Sun 26-Jun-05 17:18:37

Neither do I Adrift. I certainly don’t begrudge anyone anything. Like I said correlation isn't causation but is it a question of recourses why more research isn't being done in this area? I know that some hormones are more easily detected in the bloodstream and saliva, cortisol for example but I'm not a scientist so I can't comment any more than that.

But at the risk of being pedantic, I think this question of language is very important.

Caligula Sun 26-Jun-05 18:34:06

I agree. Also, the idea that male depression after birth is as important as PND is one I'd challenge. It may be, but the evidence is that as the baby spends most of its time with its mother, being totally dependent on her most of the time, surely the baby is going to be more affected by the depression of its mother than of its father? In terms of the hit to family life and long term bonding issues, surely the mother having PND is more serious? Which isn't to say that depression isn't equally important in terms of the individual suffering from it, but I'd question the idea that equal resources now have to be poured into male post-natal depresssion as are allocated to standard female PND. (Because that must surely be an implication of considering them equally important in terms of the health service.)

homemama Sun 26-Jun-05 19:22:13

I have a friend whose DH became depressed after the birth of their first baby.
It lasted about 6mths and when he wasn't depressed he seemed to be angry with her all the time.

They ended up going to relate and it came out that the trigger hadn't been the birth of the baby as such, but rather that he became jealous of the fact that all his wife's love and energy was focused on the baby. He had been used to her lavishing attention on him, and he missed it.
The trouble was that he knew it was unreasonable and selfish and that was why he shifted between depression and anger.

Things got better and they have since had two more kids and he's been fine each time. However, she did admit to me one night after a few drinks that she does feel a little bitter than he wasn't there for her when she neede him most.

monkeytrousers Sun 26-Jun-05 19:23:53

That's definitely arguable Caligula. In terms of the child’s the primary carer (which is usually the mum and I think always will be for many many reasons..) they would have to be the priority in the context you state.

Alot of these arguments of equivalence are deeply suspect - a subversion of equality feminism. I'm not saying this one is and it might be a bit of a slippery slope to say the intention is to divert recourses away from traditionally female areas but it's a definite implication like you say and I think it'd be wise to keep at least one eye on the ball..so to speak

monkeytrousers Sun 26-Jun-05 19:31:03

It is tough on alot of men after the birth of a baby. If you're breast-feeding they can especially feel a bit excluded.

I know my DP felt like a bit of a spare part. It was hard for him when he couldn't settle our ds and then I would take him, put him to the breast and he'd start cooing. But he worked very hard to bond with baby during that time and now baby only gets bf once a day he can take much more of an active role which they both love.

unicorn Sun 26-Jun-05 19:35:52

v. timely!!...well...

I have just researched this for an article, and yes there are a multitude of opinions.

The point I could conclude was that men often suffer after having a child - of course not the same way as women, but they get neglected as all eyes are on mum and babe.

Some go as far as arguing that men do have a hormonal response (check out Jed Diamond)as testosterone levels apparently dip after a man has had a child.

Regardless of whether it is P.N.D,in the 'true' sense (whatever that is), men undoubtedly get depressed.... and there is very little help available.

That is largely because men are generally rubbish at admitting problems etc....so it is a catch 22.

btw.. there is a lot of evidence showing that men are affected.. can get depressed when a women has P.N.D.

ie men cannot 'cope' when women need help.

throckenholt Sun 26-Jun-05 20:56:30

ds1 is 4 in 3 weeks time, and twins are now 2.5. It all seems a long time ago now. DH is now much happier working only 1 day per week - he has got the work life balance rebalanced !

In answer to how you cope with 3 under 2 - um - can't remember - it is all a blur ! But you just do because you have no choice .

ps - I did my depression when I was 3 years into my PhD !

monkeytrousers Mon 27-Jun-05 06:07:55

Well done Throckenholt. I go back to study in September, just a degree not a PhD - am on ad's for PND at the mo. Wondering if I should stay on them or not by that time. What was your experience.

Unicorn - LOL! A longitudonal study for the bleedin' obvious!

throckenholt Mon 27-Jun-05 08:04:14

Monkeytrousers - no advice really apart of not to get things out of proportion ! Good luck with the degree - try and enjoy it and not get stressed by it .

I never had AD's so have no experience of them.

Thinking back DH was also reacting to a very stressful pregnancy with the twins - somehow it was harder for him than for me.

monkeytrousers Mon 27-Jun-05 10:11:38

Ohhhh! I'm not sure how to take that!!

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