Postpartum Depression is a nightmare for most women. Before your baby’s arrival, you spent hours daydreaming about the perfect family you will have with your partner. After an ultrasound scan had determined the sex of the baby, you both choose a name and seal it with a baby shower.
You and your partner can’t wait to hold and admire the product of your love. You’re expectant that the love that exists between both of you will skyrocket.
But what happens when postpartum depression knocks your partner off her feet? Your baby’s arrival is supposed to be one of the brightest moments of your life right? Now, here you are watching someone you loved enough to make a baby with, slip into depression and anxiety.
How do you deal with this?
First, here is a quick reminder that whatever your partner is facing right now is normal. Postpartum depression otherwise called PPD is a psychological disorder that happens to most women immediately after putting to bed. Feelings like anxiety, sadness, anger, and loss of interest overtake all at once.
Periods like these call for your commitment to be the partner you signed up for. Remember, you have chosen to be with this woman for better or for worse. The first step is to recognize the symptoms of postpartum depression. It usually shows up the first six weeks after your partner has put to bed.
- Severe anxiety or obsessions
- Loss of interest in activities once loved
- Exhaustion, irritability
- Lack of concentration
- Overwhelming sadness
- Feelings of guilt or incompetence
- Suicidal thoughts or actions
- Sleep disturbance
WAYS TO OFFER SUPPORT
Now that you know the symptoms, it’s time to swing into action. It’s one of the tough moments of your life but be rest assured that this too shall pass. Your partner is likely to recover from this PPD hit if you give her all the support she needs – a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, and an extra hand to lessen the chores.
Here are some things you can do to help
Motherhood is one of the toughest jobs on the planet. It does not come with a rulebook or handbook. So, let your partner know how proud you are at her ability to get through this. Let her know she is a great mother and how she is feeling is not her fault. Remind her how much you love her and will always be there to help. Never invalidate her feelings or compare her with other moms or say things like, “You need to get over this please”. Let every word you speak bring a smile to her face.
Be the extra hands she needs
Intense fatigue is one of the common symptoms of Postpartum Depression. Be the extra hands your partner needs. Don’t wait till she asks first before hitting the laundry, washing the dishes, cooking, or soothing the baby. Be cheerful while at it.
Be the ear that listens
Your partner is going to whine a lot during this period. Be an active listener. Be present while she is talking. Your mind shouldn’t trail off. Let her know how eager you are to hear her out. Don’t cut her short by offering solutions to her problems. Just listen. Once she is done, offers words of affirmation and encouragement. If solutions come up later, then bring it on.
Call in support
PPD is one of the worse moments for your partner to be isolated from friends and family. If she is not reaching out to them, reach out to them yourself. Try to build the connection. Invite them over for dinner and if they offer help, you should accept. Remember, your partner needs all the support she can get. You are doing your best, no doubt but she still needs her female squad or sisters.
Above all, make sure there is still a physical connection between you both. Don’t let Postpartum Depression water down the love and bond that was once there. Try and spend time with her. No, there is no need to do anything sexual. Sometimes all your partner needs to lay down with you – no small talks, just both of you listening to your rhythmic heartbeats and silently reminding reach other that “This too shall pass”.