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Is Postpartum Depression Worse After Having Boy?

by Amanda on April 29, 2009
category: 0 – 1 year (baby),Health and Fitness,Pregnancy

mom_and_little_boy While discussing my emotional roller coaster after having my baby boy 8 weeks ago with friends one mom made the comment that Postpartum Depression (PPD) is worse after having a boy. She attributed it to the higher testosterone levels while pregnant with a boy.  I have unscientifically surveyed my friends and most have agreed that their PPD was worse after having a boy than when they had a girl.

In the last few weeks I have had a few episodes of baby blues and anger. Now at 8 weeks I feel like my symptoms are calming down and my hormones are leveling out. My baby blues mostly consisted of my crying at night while watching a commercial or a t.v. show.

When I was angry I wasn’t angry at my new son, but at my husband and 23 month old daughter. My husband got sick and I was angry that he couldn’t help and I had to do everything. I know it wasn’t his fault that he got sick, but I still didn’t like it. I have been angry at my toddler daughter too. One day after I got angry with her I emailed my friend Amelia about my feelings and it read:

I do get really mad when Annabelle wakes up her brother. And then last night she was doing her usual – i don’t want dinner, but want to be in your lap while you eat – thing. In the process she swatted her plate of food away and it landed on the floor. I grabbed her, spanked her, ran her up to her room and put her in her crib and left her.  But i was so upset and upset at myself for getting so upset about it. (i hope that makes sense.)

After I had gotten angry I remembered that Amelia had written a blog post about anger and PPD here on The Mom Crowd and I went and read it. In her suggestions on how to deal with it, she suggested that you talk about it with a friend. So I emailed her and she called me back. Our conversation helped me, because it made me not feel so crazy. She told me that she had gotten mad at her husband for being sick too. She said that it was good that I put Annabelle in her crib and walked away. She encouraged me to watch my symptoms and to keep an eye on how often I get angry.

Thankfully my bouts of anger have pretty much subsided. I am normally an easy going person. I also don’t cry at every sad thing on t.v. anymore. I was also able to talk this out at my 6 week follow-up appointment with my midwife. She brought it up and asked me how I was doing emotionally. We talked while I nursed my baby. This would have never happened at my former OB/GYN’s office.

After the birth of my daughter I only had some baby blues. I remember bawling during the Series Finale of Gilmore Girls and texting my husband to come home from Target so I could have a hug. I don’t know if my Postpartum Depression was worse after my boy, because I also had a toddler to deal with.

In February the BBC reported that French scientists found a “statistical quirk” in their research suggesting that the mothers of boys have a greater chance of having a severe case of PPD.  I have also researched around the web and it doesn’t seem like their is difference in the severity of PPD in relation with the gender of your baby.

Have you noticed a difference in PPD between genders? Have you experienced a form of PPD and how did you handle it?

While we are on the subject this is a great post about not judging what form of PPD treatment people use over at Postpartum Progress (click here).

11 Responses to Is Postpartum Depression Worse After Having Boy?

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Christy
    April 29, 2009 @ 5:47 am

    I’ve had a girl and a boy. I noticed with my son (my first born) that I was detached from him for a couple of weeks. Not that I didn’t love and adore him, but it just didn’t feel quite “real” yet. It subsided rather quickly. After having my daughter, I felt instantly attached to her, but I have battled with depression since her birth. Not to the point that I feel that I need medications, but my moods have been very up and down (and she’s 16 months old!). The baby blues are fairly normal, but PPD is a severe form. My cousin had PPP (Post Partum Psychosis – the most severe form) after her first baby boy and was hospitalized for three months. She didn’t quite suffer like that after her daughter. Who knows? Maybe there is some truth to the blues being worse after a boy!

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Natalie
    April 29, 2009 @ 7:12 am

    I was more angry with my daughter, but I cried more with my son. Interesting stuff!

  • Comment by Dawn
    April 29, 2009 @ 8:26 am

    Amanda, did anything you read indicate that PPD is worse with a second (or subsequent) baby? Maybe it’s just coincidence that your younger child is male – and the stress comes from having two. I say this because that was/is my situation, too. I was in a severe emotional vortex for months after my son was born (not so with my firstborn daughter), but I attribute it to moving to a new town and being lonely. If Eli was my first and I was living in less stressful conditions, I imagine I’d have felt fewer depression symptoms.

  • Comment by Amanda
    April 29, 2009 @ 11:07 am

    @Dawn – no, I didn’t read that far, but I would certainly agree that a lot of it was caused by having two kids. I just think it is an interesting topic because a lot of mothers I spoke with believed that gender made a difference.

  • Gravatar April 29, 2009 @ 1:19 pm

    [...]   Is Postpartum Depression Worse After Having Boy? [...]

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Amy
    April 29, 2009 @ 9:22 pm

    I don’t recall any PPD with my first two (but with every baby but my 3rd we’ve had major life changes happen). After my 3rd child, a son, I recall having pretty serious anger issues. I never attributed it to PPD because he was 6 months old. After my 4th things were fine until she was about 4 months old and my cycle returned. She’s now 10 months old and I still struggle with the ups and downs. It seems for me that it was more severe with my son, but didn’t last as long. Hmmmm…I never really thought about it in terms of gender before. But I think too, that the more kids you have the more stress you have. I can’t wait until my hormones return to normal!!

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Rae Ann
    April 30, 2009 @ 3:12 pm

    When my daughter, Z, was born, I totally had PPD. I was irrationally angry with my hubs ALL THE TIME. Never at the baby though. When things were going well, I was all good. But if I hit the slightest glitch, I totally lost my sh!t. Finally after a three hour crying jag over a missed pedicure, I got some relief with Zoloft.

    I got off the Zoloft when Z was about 9 months old. It seemed like it was time, so I tapered off like the doc told me to. It was rough. But after a month, I was back to my pre-pregnancy self.

    Then I got pregnant with my son. About halfway through my pregnancy, I started getting really angry again. I went to my doc, and it turns out that pregnancy depression is a thing. Something like 10% of women get it. Back on to the Zoloft and everything was fine. After Q was born, the Zoloft just didn’t seem to be cutting it any more. Finally, I was referred to a shrink and Wellbutrin was added to the mix.

    I am two years post-partum now with no plans to get off the meds. (Three depression episodes make it unlikely that I would cope well.) So I guess that would indicate that it was worse with my son than my daughter. Hmm. I never thought of it that way before.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Smalltowngirl
    April 30, 2009 @ 10:51 pm

    I did not notice a difference between between girl and boy — but that is an interesting theory!! One thing to note is you may be more tired with 2, and when more tired it is possible to be more sad?!? (Just a thought!)

    I have heard that it is harder on your body to carry boys so that does make sense– very interesting!

  • Gravatar
    Comment by kelly
    May 1, 2009 @ 10:59 am

    I totally had anger issues with my kids after my 3rd was born. I actually started to wonder if it had something to do with PPD. I never went to get diagnosed (duh, I was living in southern Mexico!), but I did talk to some friends and prayed A LOT. All of my kiddo’s are girls, so I can’t comment on the gender issue, but I do believe that feeling overwhelmed, alone, or unsupported, even if it’s an unconscious thing, causes the anger/agression. It’s strange because I mainly experienced those feelings toward my oldest daughter (who had just turned 4), and not so much with my middle daughter (who was 1.5 yrs old, and was actually the cause of most of my stress). I had alot of venting sessions with my sister-in-law, and learned to accept help when it was offered to me; and even to ASK for help when I felt like it was all too much.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Fiona
    May 7, 2009 @ 4:42 am

    I’ve got two girls and a boy. I only got the baby blues with the boy, but there were some health issues going on as he was getting dehydrated. Interstingly, I also got PND with the boy, and not with the girls.

    My kids are each 16months apart, which meant I had 3 kids in less than 3 years. I definitely found it easier going from 2 children to 3, rather than from 1 child to 2. I found the boy a more difficult baby.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by jacqueline
    February 20, 2013 @ 1:47 pm

    I’ve got 3 children a girl first I was ok woth her no problems then I had a boy I had postnatal depression after he was born for about 3 months then it went away then I had my next son and it come back severe I am now having my forth child and its a girl I’m 9 months pregnant I’ve been ok up to now I hope once she’s born I will be ok to I’m just wondering if it does have something to do with having boys I recon it may have but I also think it boils down to stress who knows j donoghue

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