Helping Husbands of Women with Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression is a devastating condition that not only affects the mother but can affect her husband or partner as well. There are many reasons for this and it is important for men to know that they do not have to suffer in silence during this time.
There are plenty of support resources available to husbands who are struggling to cope with their wives’ condition. These support resources will be valuable tools for husbands as their wives begin their postpartum depression treatment and recovery process.
How Postpartum Depression Affects Husbands
Postpartum depression is a condition that affects everyone close to the person who is suffering. For husbands, it can be extremely difficult to see their wife struggling with postpartum depression. It may be shocking, confusing and create feelings of helplessness. This is a natural reaction when the mental and emotional wellbeing of your loved one is at stake.
Because postpartum depression causes withdrawal, it can cause husbands to feel rejected and hurt which creates further feelings of stress. The entire dynamic between the couple shifts and without proper communication, many husbands feel they don’t have the support they need. Additionally, they may begin to feel that they don’t know how to provide support and this can amplify the uncertainty and helplessness husbands feel during this time.
Postpartum Depression Support for Husbands
There is no way to know how long a woman’s postpartum depression symptoms will last. This is why it’s critical for husbands to seek their own support as soon as possible. Support and other resources provides them with an outlet through which to better understand postpartum depression and seek help for their own struggles during this time.
Postpartum Depression Education
If your wife or partner has been diagnosed with postpartum depression then it is vital to educate yourself about this condition. By learning about the condition, its causes, symptoms and treatment options it will help you to better understand what is happening to your wife and why.
Additionally, postpartum depression education can teach you about what to expect when it comes to the recovery process and timeline. With this knowledge, it helps to reduce feelings of uncertainty and alleviate stress.
One of the best ways for a husband to learn about postpartum depression in addition to conducting research, is to communicate directly with the physician or mental health professionals treating the woman. This way, a husband can understand the specific details regarding his wife’s condition including the severity of her symptoms, her treatment course and her recovery progress.
The Importance of Providing Support
Research has shown that one of the critical risk factors of women developing postpartum depression is a lack of support. This means that with ongoing support, women are more likely to be able to improve their symptoms and recover from postpartum depression when support and stability are available.
In most cases, the responsibility for providing ongoing support and stability falls to the husband. This is why, in addition to education about postpartum depression, a husband’s support can greatly determine how a woman’s condition will improve.
Seeking Your Own Support
While offering support is vital to a woman’s recovery from postpartum depression, it can be a challenge for husbands to remain supportive if they too are struggling. This is why it’s important for husbands to seek their own support if needed.
Individual support for husbands can include discussing concerns with the family physician, spending time with his own friends and family, or even seeking his own therapy treatment with a mental health professional.
Reaching out to loved ones is a great way to build a stronger support network for both the husband and wife. This may include asking friends and other family members for help with childcare, attending appointments, household tasks or any other area that requires support.
Additionally, husbands and partners may find that they need to seek their own support from a mental health professional. This could be counselling or therapy to help them manage their feelings and stress so as to be healthy enough to care for their family.
Postpartum depression support groups and online forums are also available specifically for husbands who can share their own stories and provide each other with encouragement and understanding. This is a positive support resource that can help husbands to express their emotions that they may not otherwise feel they can share.
Self-Help for Husbands
A critical support element for husbands during postpartum depression is their own self-help practice. By consciously developing healthy practices, husbands can alleviate their own stress and improve or manage their own wellbeing in order to be supportive for their family.
Here are some ways for husbands to develop their own self-help practices and ensure that they are managing their own wellbeing during this time:
- Exercising or getting outside daily
- Eating healthy and ensuring proper nutrition
- Getting enough rest and staying hydrated
- Meditation, mindfulness and deep breathing
- Regularly spending time alone and out of the house
- Regularly spending time with friends and in social settings
By making time for yourself, you can recharge during stressful periods. It is important to prioritize your personal health and take your wellbeing seriously.
While it may be difficult to know exactly what to say when your loved one is suffering from postpartum depression, the most important thing is to reinforce your support and encouragement. While many women experience anxiousness and destructive thought patterns, husbands can provide encouragement by supporting her treatment courses and reminding her that the symptoms will eventually go away.
Though postpartum depression creates a difficult and challenging time, your support and encouragement will greatly improve your wife’s ability to recover.