Postpartum Depression is a mental illness that affects roughly 1 in 5 pregnant women. It can be challenging for mothers to recognize and handle on their own, but dads can play an important role too!
According to the CDC, postpartum depression affects an estimated 10-20% of new mothers during their first year after giving birth. This might be because moms experience a massive change in hormones and moods that can interfere with bonding with their babies.
This post will offer some tips on how dads can support moms during this time and answer some common questions about what PPD looks like.Find out how to help your wife or partner manage postpartum depression. There are physical, emotional, and social factors that dads can support during this time! Click To Tweet
Signs of Postpartum Depression
A postpartum depression diagnosis requires that a mother experiences at least five of the following symptoms for two weeks or longer.
-Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, hopelessness, guilt, or shame that’s more than just the baby blues (feeling down after having your child).
-Crying episodes that are out of the norm.
-Being distant with family and friends
-A feeling of disconnection or not being able to love the baby like you thought you would.
-Not enjoying anything (not even things that were enjoyable before).
-Anxiety, agitation, trouble sleeping, or other unusual behaviors.
Offer Emotional Support
Your wife is likely feeling really down. Your support and positive encouragement will go a long way to help her through postpartum depression.
Make time for one on one conversations, give hugs, offer compliments when she does anything around the house (even if it’s just folding laundry), tell jokes or funny stories that might put a smile on her face.
It’s important to try and be understanding, non-judgmental, and supportive. Try to talk about some of the emotions they might be feeling and reassure them that it is normal.
Encourage Rest and Exercise
Postpartum depression can make new mothers feel like they can’t do anything right. Offer to hold the baby, so she can sleep or take a nap, and don’t pressure her to do things too much for her (like taking on all of the housework). Ask what you can do to help around the house while she rests.
She would also benefit from light exercise, even if it’s just going for a walk. It may feel impossible to have the energy, but postpartum depression is much worse without sleep and exercise—and both can help with her anxiety, too!
Give Her Space
Sometimes she may want to be alone, and that’s okay. Her hormones have changed, and she’s going through a big life change. She needs space so she can recover from childbirth and breastfeed the baby.
However, it’s important to encourage her to keep up with her medication and seek out mental health professionals who can provide support and talk through her feelings.
Many postpartum depression sufferers have said that their husbands’ support helped them manage postpartum symptoms better than they would have been able to on their own.
We all want to help our loved ones, which is why it’s so important for new dads to know the signs of postpartum depression and be able to provide emotional support. You might not think you can do much but your love will go a long way in helping her get through the tough days ahead.