Helping Husbands and Spouses of Women with PPD
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 spouses 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, partners or spouses as their wives begin postpartum depression treatment and recovery.
How Postpartum Depression Affects Husbands
Postpartum depression is a condition that affects everyone close to the person who is suffering. For husbands, spouses or partners 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 well-being of your loved one is at stake.
Because postpartum depression causes withdrawal, it can cause the woman’s significant other to feel rejected, hurt and more stressed. The entire dynamic between the couple shifts. Without proper communication, many husbands or spouses feel they don’t have the support they need. Additionally, they may think they can’t provide support to their wife, amplifying the feelings of uncertainty and helplessness.
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 is critical for husbands, spouses or partners to seek their own support as soon as possible. Support and other resources provide 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, it is vital to educate yourself about the condition. By learning about its causes, symptoms and treatment options you will better understand what is happening and why.
Additionally, learning about postpartum depression will help to reduce feelings of uncertainty and alleviate stress. You will know what to expect when it comes to the recovery process.
One of the best ways for a husband to learn about postpartum depression is to speak directly with the physicians or mental health professionals treating your wife or partner. 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. Women are more likely to improve their symptoms and recover from postpartum depression if they have stability and support at home.
In most cases, the responsibility for providing this 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. It is important for husbands to seek their own support if needed.
Husbands, partners or spouses can discuss concerns with a family physician, spend time with friends and family, or even seek their own therapy treatments with a mental health professional to ease stress.
Reaching out to loved ones is a great way to build a stronger support network for both the couple. This may include asking friends and other family members for help with child care, attending appointments, household tasks or any other area where help is needed.
Additionally, husbands and partners may find that they need to seek their own support from a mental health professional. This could be counseling or therapy to help them manage their feelings and stress.
Postpartum depression support groups and online forums are also available specifically for husbands. These groups allow husbands to share their own stories and provide each other with encouragement and understanding. Support groups help husbands and partners express emotions they may not otherwise feel they can share.
Self-Help for Spouses
A critical support element for husbands and partners during postpartum depression is their own self-help practice. By consciously developing healthy practices, husbands can ease their own stress and improve their well-being while still supporting their family.
Here are some ways for husbands and partners to develop their own self-help practices and ensure they manage their own well-being during this time:
- Exercising or getting outside daily
- Eating healthy and ensuring proper nutrition
- Getting enough rest and staying hydrated
- Practicing meditation, mindfulness and deep breathing
- Spending time alone and out of the house
- Spending time with friends and in social settings
By making time for yourself, you can recharge and manage stress more effectively. It is important to prioritize your personal health and take your well-being 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, partners and spouses can provide encouragement by supporting her treatment and reminding her that the symptoms will eventually go away.
Though postpartum depression brings challenges, your support and encouragement will greatly improve your wife’s ability to recover.