Postpartum Depression: How Your Partner Suffers, Too.
Postpartum depression hurts. Your body is tired, your spirit feels lost, your food doesn’t taste good anymore. The world doesn’t seem to be on your side. No one understands, and you feel alone. It’s easy to become self-centered when you are depressed. You concentrate more on how you feel than anything else. Your feelings and emotions take center stage, and you want nothing more than to just feel better. You want the people around you to understand, to help, to save you from it. Your partner, more than anyone else, is going to feel this pressure.
Your partner knows you. They know who you are, or at least, who you were. They’ve also seen an incredible change in the way you act, speak, think, and treat them. Oftentimes, you may seem like a whole different person. Having a newborn in the house is stressful. Life changes for everyone, and there are a ton of new responsibilities for both parents. In a state of postpartum depression, it’s easy to feel like you are having the worst time, or that you are suffering more than your partner. But most likely, you are just suffering differently.
Your Partner’s Suffering
Your partner might not be depressed, or anxious, or angry. They may not have lost their energy, drive, and passion for life. But one thing they have lost, is you. They’ve lost their partner. You are suffering from PPD and you have changed. Between the depression, caring from the newborn, and healing from childbirth, it’s unlikely that the two of you have shared many intimate moments together. You probably don’t even want him to touch you anymore, right? Having a newborn clinging to you almost all hours of the day can be exhausting—so when you can get a break, you take it. You want your body to yourself, and only to yourself. It’s completely normal. But where does that leave your partner?
Your SO is on this adventure with you. They’ve watched you grow new life inside of you, give birth to the child you share together—he/she even looks like them. This is something you did together. So why does it feel like it’s torn you apart? Postpartum depression hurts, and you’re not the only one it hurts. How can we help our partners continue to be strong for us during PPD?
Here are two ways:
1. Encourage Research
Encourage them to research postpartum depression on their own, to understand it. There are still many people who haven’t heard of PPD. Make sure your partner isn’t one of them. Let them know that you are not “crazy,” and that something very real and biological is going on inside of you. It’s normal, and it does not last forever!
2. Get Outside Support
Let them know that there are support groups they can join if they need to vent or talk to someone about what’s going on. In the same way that you don’t want to go through your PPD alone, they shouldn’t go through your PPD alone, either. Encourage them to talk to someone who isn’t you, so they can get a break.
When you are depressed, it’s easier for your spouse or partner to take on some of these feelings. Give them as much support as you can give them during this time. You are both suffering—take care of each other!
If you’d like to learn more, there’s an organization dedicated to postpartum in men: PostpartumMen a place for men with concerns about depression, anxiety or other problems with mood after the birth of a child.