How to Help Someone You Love Who Suffers From Perinatal Depression

A recent blog about ways to help someone you love with depression caught my eye. The reason I’m always on the lookout for these types of articles is that I believe many husbands or partners feel they are insignificant to the healing of their suffering loved one.

“I’m not a medical professional,” the spouse/partner may tell me. “How should I know how to handle her when she gets depressed?”

Or, they may buy into the stigma surrounding PPD (postpartum depression) and believe that if they fail to acknowledge it, tell their wife/partner “to snap out of it”
or minimize it to “just the baby blues”, then everything will eventually be fine.

Not only are these beliefs not true, but also are potentially harmful because precious time is being wasted in bringing the new mom back to health. In Chapter 5 of my book, “Happy Endings, New Beginnings: Navigating Postpartum Disorders,” I offer A Supportive Guide for Spouses and Partners.

One of the confessions I’ve heard from my patients is this: even if the mom is used to being confident, she may now feel insecure and need her partner to tell her that they will continue to support her and be there with her throughout the course of her illness. I have heard many previously self-assured, independent women tell me, in tears, that they believe their husbands will leave them.

A medical degree is not necessary for the spouse to reassure their suffering partner that they will always be by their side. Spouses who attend my therapy session with their wives are sometimes dumbfounded to hear her admit that they imagine their partners have “exit” strategies and are on their way out of their marriages. It is important to eliminate this concern; which alone could change the course of a woman’s healing.

I’ve included in this chapter 10 things spouses can do and say to help postpartum moms. They include the obvious: Get up with the baby or share the nighttime duties, and the not so obvious, “I’m with you all the way. We will get through this together.”

I suggest a look at The Darling Bakers website and my chapter for a spouse, partner, or family member eager to help a new mom who is experiencing PPD. A review of this material could be the kindest, most loving thing they could do. (Of course, changing a diaper and handling a midnight feeding couldn’t hurt either.)

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~ by ppdsus on May 17, 2014.

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