For Husbands & Partners
Postpartum Mood and Anxiety Disorders are real illnesses that can occur any time after the first year postpartum. It is nobody’s fault. It is a disorder that may happen to women who have the healthiest and easiest pregnancies. This did not occur because she is weak or a bad mother or you are weak or a bad father. She can not just “snap out of it.” Women are most at risk for emotional upheaval following birth than any other time in their life.
This is probably not what you expected. You are most likely frustrated and upset and maybe even angry. She will get better but it will take time. Returning to normal health may take weeks to months. The most important part for you is to get her the proper help so that she and your family may recover. Reach out to the professionals that you trust. Ask for referrals to a mental health professional. Make sure that the nurse, counselor, social worker, psychologist or psychiatrist has experience with postpartum mood and anxiety disorders and is up on the newest research and treatment. It may cost more money to see the “right” person but it is better to see the “right” person then to jump from “inexperienced” person to “inexperienced” person. This happens very often. Make sure your wife, sister, daughter feels comfortable with the person and so do you. Attend a session and see how you feel.
Make sure the professional is making a plan for treatment or outlining steps to recovery
It is Important to Tell Your Wife, Sister, Daughter That:
You will help her get better
You know she is doing all that she can right now
You know this feels terrible and if she could feel better, she would
She needs to tell you what she needs from you
The baby will be fine
She can feel awful and still be a good mother
She does not have to be perfect
You love her
Do Not Tell Her the Following That:
She needs to “snap out” of this
She is not depressed (PPD involves a great deal of anxiety and agitation)
All new moms feel this way
You are tired of her feeling this way
She should be able to do what other moms do
She wanted a baby and these are the consequences
She can get through this on her own
This should be the happiest time of her life
If she would only “get her hair done, exercise, lose weight, talk to her friends more, get out of the house more, etc.” she would feel better.
She will get better.