Partners & Caregivers
You may be the first person to notice that something is just not right with your partner. She may not be acting like she used to. She may be sad and can’t stop crying. She may be really angry and frustrated with you, or she may be worrying all the time and can’t seem to relax or even sleep.
All you know is that she is not happy and now you are feeling unhappy as well.
Remember, you didn’t cause this to happen. You are not to blame.
How You Can Help Your Partner
1. Learn About the Signs of Depression and Anxiety
Depression and Anxiety are real illnesses that can occur anytime within one year after the birth or adoption of your baby.
Listen and allow her to tell you how she is feeling. Take it seriously and take action!
- Just being there for her is doing a lot
- Focus on what she is doing well and praise her efforts
- Ask her how you can help
- Tell her that you are there for her and that you will get through it together
3. Let Her Sleep at Night
Getting enough sleep may be the most important step to helping her 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 her. Encourage her not to give up.
- Attend as many doctor or therapy sessions with her as possible even when she is feeling better. This shows her how much you care and gives you a chance to talk with her doctor and learn more about her treatment plan.
- Support her to do things that will help her feel better. Try to find a local support group for her to meet other mothers.
- Assure her that with help, she 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 mothers may have very serious symptoms and they will need immediate help.
If you notice any of these signs and symptoms get help right away.
How to Take Care Of Your Needs
Don’t ignore your own needs. You are an important part of her recovery and you need to take care of yourself as well. Family and friends may only ask about mom and 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 her
- Get support from family and friends. You may feel frustrated because you were not prepared to deal with postpartum depression
- Eat healthy foods
- Consider counselling
- Get enough sleep
- Be active
- See your doctor or nurse if you begin to feel depressed as well. Paternal Postpartum Depression is a very real and serious problem for some new fathers/partners and their families
Signs You May Be Depressed
Paternal 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 partners’ 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 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.