If you are a partner to a new mother, this could be a question on your mind. You could have noticed some signs and symptoms like lack of joy in her, or she sits staring in space for long and does not show a lot of affection for the baby. You might be confused and scared. The first thing to do before you can help your partner, is to address your fears.
Firstly, Baby Blues and PPD look similar, so make sure it’s not the former before you panic needlessly.
Secondly, PPD is common and treatable; you just need to know how. Thirdly, this isn’t anyone’s fault.
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If it is PPD that you are up against, then involving mental health professionals is required. Talk to your partner’s obstetrician and physician for some primary referrals. Generally, both medication and psychotherapy may be required to work on PPD and improve the relations of the mother with the new-born as well as other people in the family.
There are many ways you can help the situation.
They are as follows:
- Do not ignore PPD. The longer it remains ignored and unaccepted, the longer it can wreck havoc in her life as well as everyone else’s who is connected to her.
- Support her by helping out at home and with the baby. If it is possible, hire part-time help.
- Get her treatment, both pharmacological and psychological.
- Give her supportive messages: That you love her, you understand that she feels terrible, that her emotional problems does not mean she isn’t a good mother, you believe in her, it will get better, and that you are glad that she is trying her best to fix it.
- If there are people in your social circle who are likely to be supportive, call them over sometimes. If you are unsure or if you feel that they may add to the problem, then reduce contact with them.
- Do certain tasks together, like bathing the baby or taking the baby out. Especially when caring for the new born together, it sends strong messages of support.
- Do not tell her that this is what one needs to go through for a child, or it’s just a phase, or she caused it, or any other critical comment of that nature.
- Be sure to be supportive and encouraging and not expect quick fixes or solutions. Accompany her on doctor/therapist visits.
- Make sure you are managing your stress well, unwinding and relaxing when you need too. This will make sure you have the energy to handle the multiple demands.
Above all, you have to give yourself the credit that’s due. If you have reached this page looking for information, you are no doubt willing to do whatever it takes, and you should be happy that you share a bond with her that makes you want to do so. With love and affection, PPD can be overcome.
Please feel free to ask questions and post comments.