You may be the first person to notice that something is just not right with your partner. They may not be acting the same. They may be sad and can’t stop crying. They may be really angry and frustrated with you, or may be worrying all the time and can’t seem to relax or even sleep.

All you know is that they are not happy and now you are feeling unhappy as well.

Remember, you didn’t cause this to happen. You are not to blame.

1. Learn About the Signs of Depression and Anxiety

Depression and Anxiety are real illnesses that can occur anytime during pregnancy and within one year after the birth or adoption of your baby.

By having a better understanding about the signs of depression and anxiety and other anxiety disorders you will be better able to support your partner and understand what they are going through.

Listen and allow them to tell you how they are feeling. Take it seriously and take action!

  • Just being there is doing a lot
  • Focus on what they are doing well and praise these efforts
  • Ask how you can help
  • Tell them that you are there for them and that you will get through it together

 3. Let Them Sleep at Night

Getting enough sleep may be the most important step to helping your partner get better, and the most difficult. Develop a parenting team, work together by taking shifts to give each other a break. Get help from family and friends. Get involved with the care of your baby (i.e. feeding, bathing and changing diapers)

 4. Get Help Together

  • When thinking of treatment options it is important to talk about it together. Discuss the pros and cons of the different options with a doctor or nurse to make an informed decision. You may need to try a few options until you find what works best for your partner and encourage them not to give up.
  • Attend as many medical appointments or therapy sessions together as possible even when your partner is feeling better. This shows how much you care and gives you a chance to talk with the health care providers and learn more about the treatment plan.
  • Support them to do things that will help them feel better. Try to find a local support group where they can meet other parents.
  • Keep reminding your partner that with help, they will get better. Be prepared for a long recovery, depression and anxiety cannot be fixed overnight.

Does Your Partner Need Urgent Help?

A very small number of parents may have very serious symptoms and they will need immediate help.

If you notice any of these signs and symptoms get help right away.

Don’t ignore your own needs. You are an important part of your partner’s recovery and you need to take care of yourself as well. Family and friends may only ask about your partner and the baby and not ask about how you are doing, which may make you feel alone and excluded.

  • Tell your partner how you are feeling. It is normal to feel helpless and worry that you are unable to help them
  • Get support from family and friends. You may feel frustrated because you were not prepared to deal with postpartum depression or anxiety
  • Eat healthy foods
  • Consider counselling
  • Get enough sleep
  • Be active
  • See your health care provider if you begin to feel depressed as well. Paternal/partner Postpartum Depression is a very real and serious problem for some new fathers/partners and their families

Signs You May Be Depressed

Paternal/partner postpartum depression is a very real condition that can happen anytime after the birth or adoption of your baby. It may happen even during pregnancy, go away after the birth and come back 3-6 months later. If your partner is depressed, there is a good chance you are too.

You may feel:

  • Overwhelmed with work and caring for your baby and family as you are faced with new and unfamiliar roles and responsibilities
  • Stressed, tired and frustrated that your partner’s depression isn’t going away
  • Angry, resentful and start pulling away from family and friends

Be aware of these feelings. You may be experiencing postpartum depression. It’s not something you just get over. It’s a serious mental health issue that needs to be treated.

If left untreated, paternal/partner postpartum depression can result in damaging, long-term issues for the entire family. With treatment and support, you can get better.

Be there, get involved, and with help you will get better.

Video: Partner Support.How partners play an important role in providing support and how they can take care of themselves.