The impending arrival of a new baby is an exciting and magical time. However for some mothers the joy and bliss of finally getting to meet their new little one can be short lived or missing altogether.
Having a baby brings with it great changes and adjustments for all families and it is quite common for mums to feel overwhelmed and emotional in those early weeks and months, but for most mothers this time of uncertainty will only be temporary and not too distressing.
When these feelings last beyond the early days and weeks and continue to worsen it may be a sign of postpartum depression. Postpartum depression is a devastating mental illness that affects 1 in 7 Australian women and often leaves husbands and partners scared and confused and not knowing what to do.
Here we will share some ways that husbands and partners can support their loved ones through this difficult time.
Reassure Your Wife Or Partner
Your wife or partner will probably be feeling ashamed and embarrassed, and questioning her ability as a mother. Reassure her constantly that she is doing a great job and that she is not alone, that you are both in this together.
Remind her that you are there to help and support her in any way you can, and reassure her that it’s okay to take the time and space she needs to deepen her relationship with her baby.
Let Her Sleep
For every new mother the sleep deprivation that comes with having a newborn is grueling, but for those suffering from postpartum depression it can seriously heighten the already debilitating symptoms.
Taking the baby and any other kids when you can to let her sleep and recharge is one of the best things you can do for her. It will help her to feel re-energised and better able to cope with day-to-day life.
Take The Time To Really Listen
Mums who are suffering from postpartum depression feel alone and isolated, often keeping their emotions and thoughts bottled up inside.
Having a husband or partner who is always willing to listen to her feelings and fears without judgement can make a huge positive difference not only for her depression, but in strengthening your relationship with each other.
Help Out Around The House
Taking over the bulk of the household duties where possible without commenting on her lack of ability to cope can take a lot of pressure off your wife or partner. The thought of what to cook for dinner and getting it all prepared can be a big stress for any mum, so eliminate this unnecessary pressure by cooking dinners where possible or even ordering in, it will mean more than you know.
Help out with the housework as much as you can or consider getting a housekeeper to come in once a week. Being surrounded by a messy house and jobs that needs doing will only add more stress to an already fragile situation and make her feel even more inadequate as a partner and mother.
Accept offers of help from family and friends. A nice home cooked meal or a clean load of washing will make a world of difference to both of you.
Support Her In Getting Treatment
Taking the step to seek professional help and treatment can be scary and overwhelming. Let your wife or partner know that you support her choices and decisions regarding her medical treatment.
Go with her to her medical appointments if she wants you to. Not only will this be a huge support for her, it will allow you to understand more about this illness and what she is going through. It will also give you an understanding of possible side effects of any medication she is taking and what lies ahead for the both of you on the road to recovery.
Having a wife or partner who is suffering from postpartum depression has a devastating affect on the whole family. It’s important that you, your partner and children get the professional support and treatment needed to get through this difficult time together.