So today I woke up to read some stunning news – MEN are getting postpartum depression.
As an official “fertility expert” (TM) I immediately recognized this as ridiculous propaganda, so I did some digging to see who was promoting this batshit insane idea. Much to my chagrin, I found that the medical powers-that-be have inexplicably redefined postpartum depression as “feelings of depression after the birth of a child” and folks, let me tell you, that definition is straight up bull-puckey.
What postpartum depression ACTUALLY is, is an overactive form of “baby blues”, which a trivializing, silly name for an intense form of hormonally-based moodiness that at least 80% women experience to some greater or lesser extent between 3-10 days after giving birth. If you are reading this essay and you’ve had a baby, you may recall being so totally happy, if a bit sore, and then all of a sudden you’re weeping over a Paul Simon song that you hate or the book “Water for Elephants”, to give a couple examples that come to mind after having had five children myself. And if you haven’t, well, I thought it was bullshit too until it happened to me.
It’s legit. Bizarre, but legit.
If you think about it, it makes perfect sense – you were pregnant, you had a lot of hormonal stuff going on, you go through the massive ordeal of giving birth (which itself is governed by several huge hormonal cascades/responses), and then you’re no longer pregnant and your hormones change dramatically. One of the side effects of this estrogenic whirlwind is to make you moody for a few days, till your body adjusts. In some women, through no fault of their own, this moodiness doesn’t clear up on its own and in fact intensifies, becoming full blown postpartum depression, or even called postpartum psychosis in which women may hallucinate and become violent. A shocking one in twenty women may experience postpartum psychosis. Before we go on, take a moment to note how widespread the “baby blues” phenomenon is – it affects not only some mothers, but most of us to a greater or lesser degree.
The reason postpartum depression occurs is because of the hormonal cascade of women being pregnant, giving birth, and then not being pregnant any more. Not because bitches be crazy, not because women are lazy, weak, sad, unbalanced, or “stressed”, not because we have penis envy or hysteria or “somatic disorder” – it is because of something that biologically happened to us, a chemical reaction, for reals. Just like a bullet to the brain causes a certain set of predictable results in the body, so too does giving birth. If you didn’t give birth, you aren’t having actual postpartum depression, you’re having something else, and thus you shouldn’t go around saying you have a disease you are not even capable of having.
Attention: anyone claiming “ooh looky men have the exact same thing, guys, they’re suffering JUST like women are, boo hoo, wah, poor, poor men” I’m sorry but you’re completely speaking nonsense. Can men feel depressed after welcoming a little wailing, pooping bundle that seems to be personally motivated to destroy your sex life, fo sho. But is that POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION? Fuck the fuck no, it is not, and calling it that is not only an insult to the collective intelligence of womankind, it also stands directly in the way of women getting adequate medical care. Because it demedicalizes and universalizes something that is absolutely totally and completely biological in origin based on an actual distinct physical state that affects women only, and turns it into the “baby blues”, oh, golly gosharoonies, that can happen to anyone!
No, no it can’t happen to anyone. There is a known cause, a proven cause, a cause that is chemical in nature, and it is not something that men experience, full stop. If you are puzzled why this pisses me off, imagine a person who does not have muscular dystrophy telling a person with muscular dystrophy that they completely understood what it was like to have muscular dystrophy because sometimes their muscles hurt after working out. “I mean, like, I don’t know, ibuprofen and rest works for me, brah. It will work for you too, probably, I bet, because we basically have the exact same thing, when you think about it. Amirite?”
These. Are not. The same. And it is super insulting to pretend, to pretend with the blessing of modern medicine, no less, that they are the same condition in any way shape or form.
I am SO OVER everything that women experience being seen as fertile ground for men to come storming into burping and farting and bursting into rousing games of smear the queer. This is NOT ABOUT YOU, Individuals With Penises. Being pregnant and giving birth and then lactating (even if you don’t do it for very long, you WILL lactate after birth for at least a short time and will be subject to the hormones involved) is a pretty huge deal that women experience. It’s just as real as you getting embarrassing boners in middle school and being able to pee standing up and having wet dreams. Female reproduction has extreme and long-reaching effects on our bodies and upon our minds, and you getting The Sadz cause Mommy doesn’t want to do a pole dance and then take it up the ass for you tonight due to the fact she just pushed a human being out her vag doesn’t entitle you to therefore lay claim to an actual disorder that women suffer from.
I know we’re living in some sort of insane Black Mirror episode where we all pretend that men can be women and women can be men and it’s basically a decision you make like what shirt to wear in the morning, and has no basis whatsoever in biological reality. But it does have a basis in biology. Men’s bodies and women’s bodies are NOT THE SAME and the primary difference centers around the fact that women have babies and men don’t. Even though there are women who don’t want to or can’t have babies, the fundamental difference between the two sexes has to do with the way we pass down our genes to future generations. In women that process involves pregnancy and childbirth and the aftermath of that, the biological effects of which are more considerable than most people realize.
Let’s not pretend otherwise. Our bodies do things and some of these things are directly related to what our chromosomes say, and this societywide fantasy some of y’all are buying into is nothing more than that – a fantasy.
We can all look at women horning their way into every experience that has been classically and historically male and trying to claim those experiences for ourselves, and roll our eyes at that. Men have life experiences centered around their biology that I don’t have and can’t fully comprehend, and just like postpartum depression, some of these experiences suck. I can acknowledge that they suck without insisting I understand said suckage.
“Men Dying Young, Women Hardest Hit” is a joke that we all roll our eyes at, but the truth is, this phenomenon is a two-way street with men laying claim to experiences and spaces and even fucking DISEASES that are women-centric that actually have nothing whatsoever to do with men. Stop it. Stop it, ok? If you hate it when women do it to you, don’t do it to us, either.
Again and again, throughout time and space but especially lately, everything men go through is portrayed in every mode of human experience as profound, serious, compelling, and of earth shattering importance. Meanwhile, everything women experience is handwaved away as being silly, trivial, frivolous, and something everyone has to put up with, really. Even purely aesthetic concerns like men losing the hair atop their lovely heads has been promoted as a tragedy right up there with dying orphaned kittens. Men being unable to get an erection is medicalized and treated (and should be, I’m not saying that ED shouldn’t be treated, not at all) and advertised constantly on the NBC nightly news.
Yet postpartum depression, an actual, provable medical condition triggered by a real biological experience which can develop into a full blown medical emergency in one out of twenty women? Nah, men can totally have that too. In fact, it’s MEN who suffer most! We gotta change the definition of the term even on Web MD and the Mayo Clinic website, in order to ensure that precious precious men are not left out of this all-encompassing life threatening physical condition that the majority of women who have ever lived have experienced!
Come on, man.