Postpartum depression is one thing that a lot of new fathers dismiss when their wives exhibit the signs and it is important to give it the attention it deserves.
Postpartum depression is a serious problem that can affect new mothers. But if you’re a new father, you might not actually suspect that your partner could be at risk m or that you could be at risk, too.
It is important that new parents are aware of the symptoms. That way, if you or your partner exhibit any of them, you’ll both be equipped to get the help your family needs. Here’s what you should know.
Postpartum depression is a serious issue
It’s normal for a parent to feel a little bit sad in the days or weeks after giving birth. For a new mother,that’s usually a result of the quick and rapid hormonal changes going on in her body.
Surprisingly, it also happens in fathers too, despite the fact that experts aren’t sure why. Though, some have attributed it to evidence that testosterone levels in men drop during the postpartum period, which can be linked to depression.
While these hormonal shifts can be minor and temporary, they can also trigger serious mood changes like extreme sadness, anxiety, or feelings of hopelessness. It can even be exacerbated further with the sleep deprivation that comes with new parenthood.
If you or your partner seems irritable, withdrawn, or moody for longer than two weeks at a time, that could be a sign of PPD and you shouldn’t be dismissed or ignored.
Warning signs are difficult to identify
The stigma associated with PPD means that it’s often difficult for people to understand what it actually seems like. That’s why it’s important to familiarize yourself with what the symptoms of PPD actually are, including feelings of sadness or hopelessness, mood swings, crying jags, and loss of appetite.
If your partner talks to you about feeling overwhelmed, or expresses concern that she isn’t able to bond with the baby, that’s a serious warning sign. If your partner seems like she isn’t doing well, ask her how she’s feeling, and really sit and listen to what she says.
Asking is key, because a new mother might not be comfortable sharing any negative feelings on her own. She might be concerned about not appearing like a good enough mother.
Support makes a huge difference
Extreme exhaustion, isolation, and lack of support are all triggers for PPD. If you or your partner is seeing a therapist or taking meds, the two of you will most likely still need to make some changes at home.
If your partner is the one who’s struggling, find ways to lighten her load. If you’re the one who’s struggling, and your schedule makes it harder for you to take on more, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Enlist the help of friends or family members, even if it’s just to bring over a meal or help out with house chores.
It may take some time to be back to normal
If your partner’s struggle is visible, you most likely want to do everything you possibly can to help her feel better. But that could add even more stress to your relationship.
If your relationship is under a bit of strain, be patient and supportive. Ask your partner how you can be of help, but try not to get frustrated if she doesn’t know right away how you can be helpful. And when she does tell you, don’t second-guess her. Just do it.
You’re not the expert
If you suspect your partner might have symptoms of PPD, what you should have at the back of your mind is that it is a medical condition that requires professional medical attention. It’s not something you can solve on your own.
You are there to listen to your partner and to provide support, but you are not there to treat them. Only a licensed medical professional can do that.
Be there for each other.
It’s easy for new parents to fall into the trap of devoting all their energy to a new baby. It is best to avoid focusing on your little one to the extent that you end up neglecting your partner, or your own mental health. You should be there to help with the baby at all hours, but don’t forget to give your partner time too.
You might not have the time or energy to go out to dinner or give your partner a long massage. You can always find time to know where are emotions are swaying. Just say, ‘hey, how are you feeling’?” Epperson says. Your partner “is probably going to appreciate you asking alone.