Postpartum depression is one of the most suffocating and hopeless feelings in the world for a new parent. For many years it's been thought that only mothers — or rather, birth mothers specifically — could suffer from postpartum depression, or PPD. But thanks to rising discussions and studies done within the medical community, the belief that PPD is only experienced by a birth mother is waning. Many are starting to come around to the idea that all parents — gay, straight, biological, nonbiological, and adoptive — are at risk. The signs your partner has postpartum depression —even though they didn't give birth — are very similar to what a birth mother experiences, but may vary slightly.
It's pretty normal to feel stressed, tired, or even weepy right after having a baby and these feelings are often chalked up to "baby blues." According to Web MD baby blues only last a few days after childbirth and are caused by dramatic fluctuations in hormones (in birth mothers). Hormone shifts are just one part of baby blues puzzle. The new demands of a baby, a revolving door of visitors, and not getting any sleep for days on end could potentially put anyone in a bad mood, not just birth mothers.
The more serious mood issue, that is so similar to baby blues it's almost hard to discern between the two, is called postpartum depression (PPD). According to the American Psychological Association one in seven mothers experience PPD with symptoms that include: crying, anger, mood swings, panic attacks, inability to bond with the baby, fatigue, and in some cases, psychosis, hallucinations, suicidal thoughts and thoughts of harming the baby. PPD is typically diagnosed anytime within the first year of life after a child is born and only in birth mothers, but that may be changing as more doctors hear from the parents that didn't physically birth the baby. A 2014 study in Pediatric, found that mothers aren't the only ones who experience these PPD symptoms. The study discovered that paternal depression rates were between five and 10 percent in new fathers. Unfortunately, PPD data for same sex and adoptive parents hasn't been studied exhaustively or released yet, but one can assume with the paternal PPD rates that anyone can get PPD, even if they didn't physically birth the child.
Even though the research lags in parental PPD across the changing landscape of marriage and parenting in this country, there are some symptoms and signs to watch out for. Here are nine signs your partner might be suffering from PPD.