By Rosemary Rukavina
Postpartum Depression does not only affect the diagnosed individual, it affects the whole family.
Both partners in a couple have a shared view of what the experience of expanding their family will look like, and when the reality does not match their expectations, disappointment, shock, and anxiety can be common reactions.
If you are the partner of someone who has PPD you may be feeling many things. You may be feeling helpless because you don’t know how to make this easier for your partner, or any attempt at a solution doesn’t work. You may be feeling confused because your partner seems like a completely different person than you are used to. You may be feeling frustrated because you may perceive your partner as not doing their part. And you may be feeling exhausted with all the unsuccessful attempts at making things better.
Postpartum Depression: Partner Support
So what can you do to support your partner and relationship without creating more tension? A great starting place is to acknowledge how you’re truly feeling. When we try to suppress or deny our feelings, they find some other way to be released and they usually surface through anger eruptions. Another helpful strategy is seeking your own support. Although your partner may have been a great support to you in the past, they may not be in a place to give you that same level of support. Although you are entitled to your feelings, sharing these with your partner may exaggerate their own feelings of guilt and hopelessness.
It can also be helpful to ask your partner how they would like to be supported. The solutions we come up with, that would be helpful for us, are not always helpful for others. And if your partner responds, “I don’t know,” try asking what is not helpful. It might take some creative problem solving to find out the right combination of words and actions that will be helpful to your spouse.
Our telephone line offers support to family and partners as well. 604-255-7999.
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