Welcoming a baby can be a joyous time and also an extremely challenging time that brings a handful of emotions and new experiences. Learning to navigate these new challenges can be difficult, especially as you undergo physical and emotional changes. If you are currently experiencing feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or loss of interest after welcoming a baby into your life, you are not alone. One in eight new mothers experience postpartum depression in the year after childbirth. Although very common, it is often underdiagnosed and undertreated. Although postpartum is more commonly associated with impacting only mothers, fathers can also experience postpartum depression. Approximately 5-10% of new fathers in the United States struggle with postpartum depression. Many men often repress their feelings due to stigma. Some men feel like they can’t tell their partners they are struggling because they feel like they need to be a source of support during this time. Many men may also feel like they are not allowed to be having these feelings. Welcoming a baby into your life is a big adjustment for both parents and it is okay to not be okay. During this time, there are many hormonal changes, lifestyle changes, and other personal factors such as a history of depression or financial stressors that can impact both parents and their likelihood of experiencing postpartum depression symptoms.

Some symptoms of postpartum depression are:

  • feeling sad, hopeless, or angry
  • crying more than usual
  • withdrawing from friends and/or family
  • loss of interest or pleasure in things you used to enjoy
  • sleeping and/or eating more or less than usual
  • feelings of worthlessness, guilt, or shame
  • possible thoughts of harming yourself or your baby

Feelings of embarrassment or shame from experiencing these symptoms is common. Many parents feel that they are not allowed to feel sad during this time where everyone expects them to be happy. Just because you are experiencing these symptoms, does not mean you are a bad parent. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, reach out to your medical doctor to have them rule out any other medical conditions. There is help available and many effective treatment options. Psychological interventions such as counseling have been shown to be effective in decreasing postpartum depression. Reach out to your therapist or make an appointment with a therapist at Works Counseling Center to get started with therapy.

Welcoming a little one into your life is a huge life transition and taking care of your mental health may need some more attention at this time. It is important to prioritize your mental health and wellbeing during a time where it may feel easy to put it on the backburner. Reaching out is the first step in getting help, and remember, you are not alone.


The information in this article should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Consult with your physician if you are experiencing any depressive symptoms or have any concerns.