Living With Postpartum Depression: The Father's Experience

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Purpose:To derive a deeper understanding of postpartum depression (PPD) and its impact on the family through the experiences of fathers whose spouses suffered -from this disorder.Design:PhenomenologyMethods:Eight men were interviewed. Interviews were recorded on audio tape and transcribed verbatim. Thematic analysis conducted within an interdisciplinary phenomenological research group led to a description of the experiences and emotions involved.Results:Respondents in this study revealed a major disruption in their lives and in their relationship with their wives as a result of PPD. The men experienced fear, confusion, and much concern for their spouses, and felt unable to help them in overcoming PPD. The inability to "fix the problem" created frustration and anger. The majority of the respondents reported that they made many sacrifices to hold the relationship and the family together. Even though the PPD improved over time, fathers were left to face an uncertain future with a spouse who seemed to be very different from the person they had previously known.Clinical Implications:Health care professionals need to design interventions that are more supportive of men, for men also suffer when their spouses experience PPD.

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