You might need to seek out professional help for your partner if she can’t advocate for herself.
10. 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.
8. Schedule some dates with her and work together to find a babysitter.
4. Encourage her to take time for herself. Breaks are a necessity; fatigue is a major contributing factor to worsening symptoms.
5. Don’t expect her to be super-housewife just because she’s home all day.
6. Be realistic about what time you’ll be home, and come home on time.
3. Help with housework before she asks you.
2. Encourage her to talk about her feelings, and listen without judgment.
9. Offer simple affection and physical comfort, but be patient if she is not up for sex. It’s normal for her to have a low sex drive with depression, and rest and recovery will help to bring it back.
7. Help her reach out to others for support and treatment. There is medical help and emotional support—make sure she gets it. You might have to step up and actively seek this out for your partner if she’s not able to find it herself.
1. Reassure her that this is not her fault; she is not alone; she will get better.
Most new mothers would agree that those first couple of weeks home after having a baby are intense, emotional and can definitely be overwhelming.
Many women experience something called postpartum blues, which is when about two to three days after childbirth, they feel depressed, anxious and upset, explains the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). “They may feel angry with the new baby, their partners, or their other children. They may also cry for no clear reason, have trouble sleeping, eating, and making choices, or question whether they can handle caring for a baby.”
These feelings may come and go in the first few days after childbirth, potentially lasting a few days or one to two weeks without any treatment.
It’s important for new mamas and their partners to understand the difference between postpartum blues and postpartum depression.
According to ACOG, women with postpartum depression “have intense feelings of sadness, anxiety, or despair that prevent them from being able to do their daily tasks.” Postpartum depression can occur up to one year after having a baby, but most commonly starts one to three weeks after childbirth and affects one in seven women, according to the American Psychological Association.
What causes postpartum depression? Most likely a combination of factors. Some could be:
- Changes in hormone levels
- A history of depression
- Emotional factors
- Lifestyle factors
Watching your partner battle postpartum depression can make you feel helpless. But there are plenty of ways you can provide mama with support.
Here are 11 suggestions on how partners can support their partners through postpartum depression or anxiety, from Postpartum Support International:
11. Keep the lines of communication open. Verbalize your feelings instead of distancing from her. It’s helpful to take a break if your tempers are hot, but do get back to communicating.
If you feel that you may be experiencing symptoms of postpartum blues or postpartum depression, you should see your health care provider as soon as possible. Do not think you have to wait until your six-week postpartum checkup to get help.