Updated July 2020
The idea of having Postpartum Depression after you have a baby can be both scary and overwhelming to a new Mom. But throughout their pregnancy, women will likely trade information, discuss symptoms and treatments with their doctors, friends, and family, along with reading millions of books, articles, and blogs. Even though, much like having a baby, going through postpartum depression is very different than reading about it in a book, at least there is information out there for moms. But what about dads and partners?
Postpartum depression can be a mystery for a new Dad – and not only what it is, but also how they can help. They might assume that it’s something that only women go through and that it’s something personal between a woman and her doctor, but partners play a huge role in recognizing symptoms and helping new moms get through a difficult time. Here are some ways that new Dads can help:
Educate yourself –
There is a ton of information out there about Postpartum Depression. A simple Google search will bring up some helpful articles to help you understand the disorder, what symptoms to look for, and what treatments are available. It’s also helpful to accompany your partner to their doctors' appointments or prenatal classes. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and share what you're experiencing – it is important to feel like you're in this together.
Be Kind –
It seems like a no brainer, but this simple act is the most important thing to remember when you bring a new baby home. Everything is new and scary and overwhelming. Your partner’s hormones are going crazy and their body is still reeling from labor and delivery. The next few months are going to be really hard for both of you, so it’s important to remember how much you love each other. Even though you are exhausted, try to go out of your way to help. Change as many diapers as you can, bring her a glass of water while she’s breastfeeding, or let her sleep while you take a feeding at night. During this time, little acts of kindness can go a long way for a new Mom’s mental and physical health.
Ask Questions –
Sometimes when you’re up to your eyeballs in laundry, dishes, and diapers, you forget to notice each other. With postpartum depression, the symptoms are not subtle, but when you’re so consumed with being a new parent, you can miss them. That’s why it’s important to ask your partner how they’re feeling and if there's any way you can help them. Remind her that she's not alone and that her feelings are completely valid. These tips can make a woman feel comfortable enough to confide in you if she’s having feelings of depression. Asking these questions also show her that you care and support her, which is the most important thing during this time.
Postpartum Depression is temporary but can be very serious if left untreated. If you feel like your partner might be suffering from Postpartum Depression, log on to Amwell and talk to a doctor.
We can help you and your family deal with postpartum depression with an online diagnosis, treatment plan, or just some advice from board-certified physicians 24/7.