For Supporters

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“She was very tired, exhausted, and also she was short in terms of patience. She started closing herself off from the world.” ~ New dad, about when he first noticed something wasn’t right

The new mom in your life has changed. It’s been a few weeks or months since she gave birth to or adopted baby, and you’ve noticed some of the following:

  • She has become irritable and has lost her sense of humour; she isn’t the same playful person she used to be.
  • She is preoccupied with many worries and is difficult to reassure.
  • You aren’t connecting. You had a close relationship, but now she is distant with you and other family members. She may be too tired or irritable to socialize at all.
  • She has lost her self-confidence. Where she used to be decisive and in control, she now looks for reassurances and second-guesses her choices and decisions.
  • She is unwilling to leave the baby with anyone, even you or other trusted family members.
  • She shows very little interest in the baby or is overly concerned about the baby.
  • She has difficulty sleeping or relaxing, even when she has the time; she is constantly on alert and hyper-vigilant.

If you have noticed one or more of these behaviours, and they persist for more than two weeks, your loved one may be struggling with postpartum depression and/or anxiety.

Although we write here about supporting a new mother, much of this information will also help you to support new fathers who are experiencing depression and/or anxiety.

[Adapted from ‘How is dad going’: http://www.howisdadgoing.org.au/how-is-your-partner] 

Videos:

Allen: You can’t fix everything
Allen discusses how his urge to ‘fix’ a situation that could not be fixed led he and his wife feeling emotionally separated from one another. To view video with written transcript, click here.

Maria & Pablo: Give your partner time to recover
Maria and Pablo discuss why it is helpful to be patient during recovery from PPD/A. To view video with written transcript, click here.

Mariko & Kasimir: How he could help
Even before Mariko was able to tell Kasimir what she really needed to recover from PPD/A, the fact that he just listened as she shared her feelings and experiences, without judging or trying to fix it, was extremely helpful. To view video with written transcript, click here.

Funding for section for supporters provided by Integrated Primary and Community Care, Vancouver Coastal Health.