Life changes in many different ways when welcoming a new baby into your family. Bringing home a new child can be the most exciting time in your life – and also one of most stressful. Most new mothers tend to experience “baby blues”, which is a short period of sadness triggered by hormonal changes after giving birth, combined with stress, isolation, sleep deprivation and fatigue. Baby blues symptoms typically lessen and disappear after a week or two. However, if the sadness continues longer than that, or gets worse, she may be suffering from postpartum depression (PPD).
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 15% of women experience significant depression following childbirth. Postpartum depression is a more serious condition that causes severe mood swings, exhaustion, and a sense of hopelessness. For some, the intensity of those feelings may affect a mother’s ability to take care of the baby or herself.
Although postpartum depression requires professional help, you play a significant role in helping your partner manage her recovery. Here are a few suggestions on how to support your wife if she is experiencing postpartum depression.
What You Can Say
During this time, she will most likely be too emotionally vulnerable for effective communication. Telling her ‘You’re a good mother’ may not be helpful or convincing. Reassure your partner that she will get better and that she is a good mother by pinpointing examples will better let her understand that she is appreciated and needed.
Let her know how much she means to you and the baby.
You need to make sure she knows that there is never a situation where you are better off without her. Even though she might need extra help during this time, tell her she is never a burden and you will always be by her side.
What You Can Do
Most importantly, spend more time by her side without distractions.
This way, it gives her a better sense of security.
Research has shown that a woman’s depression will improve with the consistent support of a significant other.
Hence, you must know that you have much more power to affect the outcome of how you both feel.
Believe that your wife will get better and things will be better in time.
When And How To Seek Help and Treatment
Whilst common, postpartum depression is a major health issue that will become more severe if not recognised or treated professionally. If you notice your wife is having suicidal thoughts or harming herself or her newborn, you need to seek professional help immediately.