How to help your partner with postpartum depression
I still remember how hard it was. I remember how painful it was for my wife. As soon as my wife figured out that she had PPD, it was like a light at the end of the tunnel. We had hope again. Side note, my wife read through this post before I published it to give her stamp of approval. Postpartum depression is like wearing blinders.
SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: Do I have postpartum depression?Content:
- How To Support Your Partner Through Postpartum Depression
- What to Do When the Woman You Love Has Postpartum Depression
- 9 Signs My Wife Had Postpartum Depression (that I wish I’d seen sooner)
- Postpartum Depression: When Dads & Partners Don’t Seem To Get It
- Postpartum Depression and the Baby Blues
- How to Help a Spouse Suffering From Postpartum Depression
- How to Help Your Partner with Postpartum Depression & Anxiety
How To Support Your Partner Through Postpartum Depression
In fact, mild depression and mood swings are so common in new mothers that it has its own name: the baby blues. The majority of women experience at least some symptoms of the baby blues immediately after childbirth. You might feel more tearful, overwhelmed, and emotionally fragile.
Generally, this will start within the first couple of days after delivery, peak around one week, and taper off by the end of the second week postpartum. In the beginning, postpartum depression can look like the normal baby blues. In fact, postpartum depression and the baby blues share many symptoms, including mood swings, crying jags, sadness, insomnia, and irritability.
The difference is that with postpartum depression, the symptoms are more severe such as suicidal thoughts or an inability to care for your newborn and longer lasting. The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale is a screening tool designed to detect postpartum depression. Follow the instructions carefully.
A score greater than 13 suggests the need for a more thorough assessment because you could have postpartum depression. A history of non-pregnancy related depression or a family history of mood disturbances is also a risk factor.
Others include social stressors, such as a lack of emotional support, an abusive relationship, and financial uncertainty. Risk is also significantly increased in women who discontinue medications abruptly for purposes of pregnancy.
Postpartum psychosis is a rare, but extremely serious disorder that can develop after childbirth, characterized by loss of contact with reality. Because of the high risk for suicide or infanticide, hospitalization is usually required to keep the mother and the baby safe. Postpartum psychosis develops suddenly, usually within the first two weeks after delivery, and sometimes within 48 hours. Symptoms include:. The emotional bonding process between mother and child, known as attachment , is the most important task of infancy.
The success of this wordless relationship enables a child to feel secure enough to develop fully, and affects how he or she will interact, communicate, and form relationships throughout life. When your baby cries, you quickly soothe him or her. If your baby laughs or smiles, you respond in kind.
In essence, you and your child are in synch. Postpartum depression can interrupt this bonding. Depressed mothers can be loving and attentive at times, but at other times may react negatively or not respond at all.
Mothers with postpartum depression tend to interact less with their babies, and are less likely to breastfeed, play with, and read to their children. They may also be inconsistent in the way they care for their newborns. However, learning to bond with your baby not only benefits your child, it also benefits you by releasing endorphins that make you feel happier and more confident as a mom. Our human brains are primed for this kind of nonverbal emotional connection that creates so much pleasure for you and your baby.
Human beings are social. Positive social contact relieves stress faster and more efficiently than any other means of stress reduction. Historically and from an evolutionary perspective, new mothers received help from those around them when caring for themselves and their infants after childbirth. Here are some ideas for connecting to others:. Make your relationships a priority. Isolating yourself will only make your situation feel even bleaker, so make your adult relationships a priority.
In addition to the practical help your friends and family can provide, they can also serve as a much-needed emotional outlet. Be a joiner. Even if you have supportive friends, you may want to consider seeking out other women who are dealing with the same transition into motherhood. Good places to meet new moms include support groups for new parents or organizations such as Mommy and Me. Ask your pediatrician for other resources in your neighborhood.
One of the best things you can do to relieve or avoid postpartum depression is to take care of yourself. Simple lifestyle changes can go a long way towards helping you feel like yourself again. Skip the housework — Make yourself and your baby the priority. Ease back into exercise. Studies show that exercise may be just as effective as medication when it comes to treating depression, so the sooner you get back up and moving, the better.
No need to overdo it: a minute walk each day will work wonders. Stretching exercises such as those found in yoga have shown to be especially effective.
Practice mindfulness meditation. Research supports the effectiveness of mindfulness for making you feel calmer and more energized. It can also help you to become more aware of what you need and what you feel. Do what you can to get plenty of rest—from enlisting the help of your partner or family members to catching naps when you can. Set aside quality time for yourself to relax and take a break from your mom duties.
Find small ways to pamper yourself, like taking a bubble bath, savoring a hot cup of tea, or lighting scented candles. Get a massage. Make meals a priority. What you eat has an impact on mood, as well as the quality of your breast milk, so do your best to establish healthy eating habits.
Get out in the sunshine. Sunlight lifts your mood, so try to get at least 10 to 15 minutes of sun per day. More than half of all divorces take place after the birth of a child. For many men and women, the relationship with their partner is their primary source of emotional expression and social connection. The demands and needs of a new baby can get in the way and fracture this relationship unless couples put some time, energy, and thought into preserving their bond. The stress of sleepless nights and caretaking responsibilities can leave you feeling overwhelmed and exhausted.
Keep the lines of communication open. Many things change following the birth of a baby, including roles and expectations. For many couples, a key source of strain is the post-baby division of household and childcare responsibilities. Carve out couple time. Even spending 15 or 20 minutes together—undistracted and focused on each other— can make a big difference in your feelings of closeness.
Individual therapy or marriage counseling — A good therapist can help you successfully deal with the adjustments of motherhood. If you are experiencing marital difficulties or are feeling unsupported at home, marriage counseling can be very beneficial.
Antidepressants — For cases of postpartum depression where your ability to function adequately for yourself or your baby is compromised, antidepressants may be an option. However, medication should be closely monitored by a physician and has shown to be more effective when accompanied by psychotherapy.
Hormone therapy — Estrogen replacement therapy sometimes helps with postpartum depression. Estrogen is often used in combination with an antidepressant. There are risks that go along with hormone therapy, so be sure to talk to your doctor about what is best—and safest—for you. If your loved one is experiencing postpartum depression, the best thing you can do is to offer support.
Give her a break from her childcare duties, provide a listening ear, and be patient and understanding. You also need to take care of yourself. Dealing with the needs of a new baby is hard for the partner as well as the mother. And if your significant other is depressed, you are dealing with two major stressors.
Encourage her to talk about her feelings. Listen to her without judging her or offering solutions. Instead of trying to fix things, simply be there for her to lean on.
Offer help around the house. Chip in with the housework and childcare responsibilities. Make sure she takes time for herself. Rest and relaxation are important. Encourage her to take breaks, hire a babysitter, or schedule some date nights. Go for a walk with her. Help her by making walks a daily ritual for the two of you. Postpartum Depression — Difference between the baby blues, postpartum depression, and postpartum psychosis.
The Regents of the University of California. Baby blues or beyond? Recognizing postpartum depression — Diagnosing postpartum depression, the risk factors, and treatment options.
In the U. In other countries : Find Local Support and Help. Authors: Melinda Smith, M. Reviewed by Anna Glezer, M. Last updated: October Anna Glezer, M. She is the founder of Mind Body Pregnancy.
What to Do When the Woman You Love Has Postpartum Depression
Does your partner seem extra emotional after the birth of your baby? Seven out of ten women experience the baby blues. However, one in seven women experience postpartum depression. One in ten new dads experience a depression after their child is born.
Approximately 20 percent of all postpartum women experience a perinatal mood disorder such as postpartum depression PPD or anxiety. These are medical conditions which can be successfully treated. Knowing the risk factors and understanding the signs and symptoms are important for a spouse in order to get his wife the appropriate care and help. Any new mom can develop a perinatal mood disorder; however, there are some risk factors to be aware of:. Women with PPD or anxiety have many of the below symptoms most of the time, for a period of at least two weeks or longer:.
9 Signs My Wife Had Postpartum Depression (that I wish I’d seen sooner)
You are struggling— really struggling—and all you want besides symptom relief is for your partner to get it; for him to truly empathize, for him take you in his arms and just be there with you during postpartum depression. For there to be a gaze of understanding, a hand to reach to, and an unconditional smile that lets you know that this person is right along side with your pain and suffering, no matter what. There are certainly husbands and partners out there like this they are usually the ones who call my office looking for the support their families need , but often this picture looks very different. He keeps telling me that I should be happy because we have such a beautiful baby! He gets to go to work, see friends, talk about other things than poop and spit up, and get to the gym, and he says that he is tired! Why is he getting on me for the house being dirty? Why does he keep trying to have sex? Why does he keep giving me that look that makes me feel like such a failure?
Postpartum Depression: When Dads & Partners Don’t Seem To Get It
Before Sara, a teacher in Atlanta, GA, gave birth for the first time, she had a clear vision of what motherhood would be like. Things got worse as Sara became more and more depressed, and her husband seemed oblivious to what was happening. I fantasized about divorcing him, but I also thought I was totally incapable of caring for my daughter by myself, so I'd have to leave them both, which wasn't an option. Sara's experience isn't uncommon.
You expect a lot of joy and a little stress when your baby arrives. You expect a learning curve and some moments of panic. The good news is that PPD will eventually pass with proper support and intervention.
Postpartum Depression and the Baby Blues
My wife had postpartum depression, and it was the first time in my marriage that I really felt like a problem was out of my league. I went through so much painful trial and error until we finally saw a counselor who had experience with PPD. I'd like to help you skip all the hard lessons
Do what you can to make sure she eats regularly throughout the day, because low blood sugar results in a low mood and frustration. Have healthy and easy snacks on hand. Encourage her to take time for herself. Breaks are a necessity; fatigue is a major contributing factor to worsening symptoms. Offer simple affection and physical comfort, but be patient if she is not up for sex.
How to Help a Spouse Suffering From Postpartum Depression
As a spouse or partner of a new mother , you are in a prime position to notice if your partner is slipping beyond the normal postpartum moods or adjustment period, and help her get the support she needs. Your compassionate support is instrumental in helping her weather the storm and get through to the other, sunnier side. Here are some postpartum depression PPD quick facts, stats, and information:. Women are more likely to experience PPD if they have a history of depression, anxiety, or mental illness. While depression, or uncontrollable sadness may be present, other symptoms may show up instead - such as rage, dramatic mood swings, heightened anxiety, or crippling self-doubt. This article is dedicated to supporting new mothers with PPD and new baby anxiety. Here are five, tried-and-true ways you can support your lady love, and the mother of your precious newborn , through her postpartum depression. This includes acknowledging her feelings, and not countering them.
If your wife or partner has symptoms of postpartum depression , you might feel uncertain about what to do to help. It can be confusing and even frightening to see the mother of your child struggle with such intense, negative emotions when you thought this would be a joyous time. The good news is, you can help her get through it. We are not meant to do this alone. Support from a loving partner is critical.
How to Help Your Partner with Postpartum Depression & Anxiety
In fact, mild depression and mood swings are so common in new mothers that it has its own name: the baby blues. The majority of women experience at least some symptoms of the baby blues immediately after childbirth. You might feel more tearful, overwhelmed, and emotionally fragile. Generally, this will start within the first couple of days after delivery, peak around one week, and taper off by the end of the second week postpartum.
As a partner, I had no idea that having a second child would change our lives so much. We had spent a lot of time thinking about it and talking about how it would affect us. It was nothing like we thought it would be.