*Most of this information is taken from postpartumdads.org. While the language used here assumes a traditional, nuclear family, we know that families come in a variety of forms. This information will be helpful no matter what your family picture looks like. Don’t hesitate to call if you or a family member needs help.
What happened to the woman I love?
While more than ten percent of new families are experiencing postpartum depression, your experience may seem isolating and lonely, but you are not alone. This is not your fault. Your family will be well again. To learn more about supporting your partner, visit postpartumdads.org.
Top Recommendations (adapted from postpartumdads.org)
- Encourage your partner to attend PPRC’s support group. Call us at 913-677-1300 or 1-866-363-1300 in Kansas or Missouri, for more information. Support groups can offer valuable resources as well as an opportunity to talk with our specially trained volunteers, many of whom have survived PPD themselves.
- Get a referral to a care provider who is trained to deal with PPD. Ask your pediatrician, midwife, family doctor, ob/gyn, or PPRC for recommendations. Finding someone you both trust and feel comfortable with is crucial for recovery.
- Be prepared for a long recovery with setbacks along the way. PPD is not something that can be fixed overnight. It may take a few weeks or it may take a few years for your partner to recover and for your family to heal.
- Attend as many of her appointments as possible. This will not only demonstrate to your partner how much you care about her but it will also give you a chance to communicate with her caregivers and hear their instructions. Don’t assume that your partner is going to be open with them or that she is going to comprehend or trust what she is told.
- Continue treatment even when she starts feeling better. While discontinuing treatment is very tempting once she starts feeling better, it can be very dangerous. The chances of relapse are much higher if treatment is stopped too early.
- Get help for yourself and your family. Don’t let the stigma of depression keep you from sharing with others what is going on. There are many people out there willing to help and they just need to be asked.
- Love your partner. Be tender, be supportive. Believe her and believe in her. Do not assume she is “over-reacting” or being “unreasonable.”
- Be her lifeline. You may be the one who needs to make the call about whether she needs medical attention. She may not realize she needs it or be able to ask for it herself.
- Ask questions. A survivor of postpartum psychosis told us, “My husband says that if he knew then what he knows now he would have asked many more questions.” Such questions include, “Can you read? Can you follow a TV plot? Are you hearing or seeing things?, etc.” If your partner is unable to comprehend basic plots or is hearing or seeing things, this is a medical emergency – call 911 or take her to the emergency room immediately.