By taking appropriate action, and avoiding common mistakes, Dads
can play a critical role in the diagnosis, treatment, and recovery
from PPD. It is often the PPD Dad that is the first to realize that
something is wrong with the mom. The PPD Dad must often seek out
treatment for the mom, make sure that the treatment plan is followed,
and evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment. In addition he
must often take on sole responsibility for the family’s safety
and well being. All this while dealing with a whole range of obstacle
including the stigma of depression, a health care system poorly
equipped to deal with PPD, and his own feelings of fear, disappointment,
order to deal effectively with PPD, it is helpful for the PPD Dad
to view recovery from PPD as a process, not an event. In that process
the PPD Dad must take important actions that will change depending
on the stage of the recovery. Below are some of the actions PPD
Dads can take to aid recovery:
The Depression. Dads need to be aware of the symptoms of PPD.
They must also be aware of the potential dangers to the mom
and the baby.
Help the Mom Recognize the Depression. Many moms are unwilling
or unable to recognize that they have PPD.
Deal With A Crisis. PPD Dads save lives when they see that things
are out of control and call 911, or take their wives to the
Create A Treatment Plan. The PPD Dad must often take the lead
in developing a treatment plan for the mother, seeking the best
A Safe Home. Keeping the children safe is the top priority of
the PPD Dad.
A Healing Home. Creating a healing environment for the mom involves
reducing the level of stress and responsibility that she feels.
Cope and Wait. Sometimes it may seem like dealing with a crisis
is easier than dealing with the day to day process of recovery.
Rebuild the Family. After the mom starts feeling like herself
again the PPD Dad must pick up the pieces and rebuild the family.
PPD Dad must also be willing to confront his own shortcomings. Many
men actually contribute to the mom’s depression by not being
aware of the impact of their actions, or not being sensitive to
the needs of the mom. Even the most enlightened and well meaning
dad may do things out of frustration and desperation that he later
regrets. Some common mistakes men make are:
comparisons. Saying things like, “Why can’t you
be more like Susan, she has it harder then you and she doesn’t
spend her whole day in bed crying”.
angry. The frustration and disappointment that some men feel
can change to anger that they take out on their wives.
For some men dealing with PPD is just too much for them and
they find it easier not to deal with it at all.
to handle everything alone.
Trying to talk her out of the depression. Comments like “all
you need to do is …” or “Honey, of course
you feel bad, look at how you spend your day just lying around
all the time. What you should do is…” aren’t
Not communicating feelings.
Not making her health and the well being of the family the number
need a lot of help in order to be up to the challenge of dealing
with PPD. For many men, actually being responsible for the health
and well being of another person is totally new. One of the resources
available to assist dads is www.postpartumdads.org.
This website was created by dads for dads. It contains first hand
accounts of dads dealing with the challenges of PPD. It contains
advice and guidance through the PPD recovery process. Most importantly
it provides a means for dads to be in contact with other dads who
have successfully dealt with PPD.
relies on the generosity of other dads sharing their stories of
recovery from PPD. As more and more stories become available the
impact of the site broadens and deepens. If you have a story that
you would like to share, or know a dad who successfully dealt with
PPD, please share your story or encourage others to share. Nothing
has more impact on the website visitors then the personal accounts
of successful recovery.
and his wife Denise have successfully dealt with three serious episodes
of depression. Each episode has helped to deepen the love and commitment
that they have for each other. Denise is an electrical engineer
and has made a remarkable recovery from depression and a life threatening
illness. Denise is an inspiration to those around her and a wonderful
wife and mother. David is a mechanical engineer and started the
postpartumdads.org website after finding that there are very few
resources to help men deal with PPD. David and Denise live in San
Jose, California with their children Michelle and Scott.