An article on Parenthood and Depression

I was moved to provide this link to another article from the NYTimes because it could also be associated with some of Martin’s reactions and feelings of depression. I was particularly astounded by the percentage of mothers and fathers who exhibit clinical depression 3-6 months postpartum.

Originally posted 2014-06-30 12:17:02.

2 thoughts on “An article on Parenthood and Depression

  1. Maria

    Very interesting article. I think the fact that men too can suffer from post-partum depression is not well known, and I’m sure it would never occur to Martin that it might be a factor in his increasing unease and confusion. One thing that is different in his case is that the article says people “experienced more negative emotion when parenting than during any activity other than working.” I don’t think that is exactly the case for Martin. It’s more that so much has changed so rapidly in his life that he is completely overwhelmed and feels out of control – which he is. He is no longer living alone and able to have things predictable, and exactly as he wants them when he wants them.

    A new baby is challenging for even for the most laid-back and flexible parents, which is the furthest thing from Martin’s nature. He is not sure what to make of JH at first. Although he clearly does love JH (in his own unexpressive way, of course), he sees Louisa interacting naturally and expressively with JH and feels that he is lacking or inadequate. On the conscious level, this is expressed as annoyance and impatience, for instance at the library play group. He does have the desire to grow, but as with everything that involves emotions and human connections, he just doesn’t know how to go about it. As an only child and having been expected to act as an adult when he was a child himself, he has no model for interacting with babies and because of his emotional repression, no intuitive feelings that are accessible enough to act on them. We see this in the scene where he reads to JH from a medical journal – he looks over at him occasionally and pats him on the stomach. He is rather tentative, acting purely on the thinking level (“from my observations, this is how one treats a baby”) but in the action then feels an emotional connection to JH that surprises him. But of course he barely lets it surface into consciousness, much less dwell on it. We’ll have to wait for some therapy sessions for that to happen.

    It is interesting to consider this from Louisa’s perspective as well. I don’t think she has post-partum depression, but she is clearly overwhelmed as well, although for different reasons than Martin.

  2. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    I found the article interesting because having a baby can be so demanding on a couple and they both may experience the low period following a baby’s arrival. We know that M and L both love JH based on their overt expressions and behavior. But having a baby could be another factor in M’s depression and in their difficulties as a couple, according to this article. It’s just another consideration in a long list of possible reasons for the changes we see in S6.

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