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How to help your partner with postnatal depression

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Does your partner seem extra emotional after the birth of your baby? Seven out of ten women experience the baby blues. However, one in seven women experience postpartum depression. One in ten new dads experience a depression after their child is born. And if a mom has postpartum depression, then her partner has a 40 percent chance of being depressed, too.

SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: Supporting New Moms through Postpartum Depression

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SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: Postpartum psychosis: A mother’s story - BBC Tomorrow's World

Anxiety and depression in pregnancy and early parenthood

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When it comes to postpartum depression, a spouse can do a lot to support their partner. It may not be easy, and it may not be pleasant, but a spouse can help their partner overcome - or at least live with postpartum depression and anxiety. We asked Eric Dyches, founder of the Emily Effect, for some partner advice when it comes to postpartum depression.

Your husband is being great and helping out around the house, and I can tell you what he was thinking. He was thinking, "Why is she not happy? I'm working so hard. What am I not doing? What have I not done? That's what I would say to Emily. What can I do differently? As dads, we live a pretty simple life and we try to just keep things simplified. If there's a problem that comes up, we're going to fix it. A hug is never the first answer for a dad.

We never think, "All she wants is a hug and I can hug her, then I can go back to what I was doing. It can't be that easy, right? Often, it is. I want to be validated, to be loved and know that you're there to keep me safe and secure. Then you can go back and do you your thing. For a guy it's like, "Who are we going to call, and what are we going to do, how am I going to make a difference?

I'm just going down the checklist. As for advice for partners and husbands, I'd say the that's the first thing to do; go hug. If she doesn't want you to touch her, back away, you'll feel it. If she needs a hug, pull her in tight, talk to her and make sure that you're communicating openly at her pace and style. Physical touch and conversation at this time.

Talk through things, again at her pace. For partners and dads, you don't need to be the fixer. Educate yourself by going online and reading up on postpartum depression. Go to a doctor's appointment with her. The first few appointments, I didn't go with Emily and I probably should have. I went when it started to increase in severity, which was very helpful for me to be educated along the way.

Make sure that you keep that intimate relationship, again according to her pace and what her style is, communicate, and get involved with the treatment. Whether it be studying online, going to the appointments, or talking to others, don't just stick your head in the sand and think it's going to go away. You're not feeling like yourselves, this is not who you are. You might have a moment where you want to panic, but your reaction is going to have a lot to do with how much she's going to trust you in the future in sharing her feelings with you.

Nurse Dani explains that, being a woman, one piece of advice she can give in this situation is to watch your response the first time. Dads are not immune to depression either, and I think it goes both ways because many fathers are diagnosed with clinical depression by the time the baby turns one.

You can be each other's best ally or worst enemy through the process, and if one has it, the other's more likely to struggle. If you're not struggling, then you feel like you're carrying a big load trying to help everyone.

This may lead to depression, too, because you need an outlet. That's a fantastic point. One of the times that Emily was really struggling, my mom happened to be there helping out, and we had to run some errands so I had her come along with me.

We had a conversation and I completely melted down and sobbed like a baby. I just sobbed like a small child, because at that point, I didn't have any outlet.

There was nobody that I could really talk to. It felt so liberating for me as a dad to give myself permission to feel emotion, because I was doing all that I could to keep Emily safe, and to love her, and to get her through this. Along the way, there was suffering that was taking place with me. Emily was not herself, I wanted her to be herself. I wanted her to be healthy. I would have done anything. Dads need to find outlets and be able to talk through it.

Often as men, we keep things bottled up and we're not good at articulating our feelings and even in this culture, maybe it's not acceptable for men to be that vulnerable, but for me it was helpful to be able to have somebody to talk to. I had some spiritual leaders, had some good friends, had close colleagues at work that I felt like over time I could open up to and it made all the difference for me to be able to cope.

Seeking help is not a weakness. The treatment for postpartum depression anxiety mood disorder, depression for a man, whatever it might be, it may require medication and it may also require therapy; sometimes both. And with that, with treatment, you do have hope. You can get through it and feel like yourself again. It's important for dads to step in and help out. Maternity leave is a thing, but paternity leave needs to become a thing.

We need to accept new social trends and norms, because spouses are helping and many are trying to share the burden, but then have to go right back to work two days after the baby is born.

One of the things that dads can do after breast feeding is well established, is help with feeding the baby. Mom can pump and you can give a bottle of expressed breast milk. Dad can help share that burden in the night. A baby need to eat every two to three hours, from the beginning of one feeding to the beginning of the next.

In that two hours, you've tried to feed him for an hour, then you have to burp him, and change him, and get him back to sleep, and then a half hour later they're back up. So, that means mom never sleeps, right? Taking the baby plus any other kids you have is one of the best things you can do for mom. She can get some restorative sleep and rest from a long day, which will help her feel better. You can also cook dinner for her, or cook together. Your help can make a big difference in her recovery.

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Postpartum Depression: When Dads & Partners Don’t Seem To Get It

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You expect a lot of joy and a little stress when your baby arrives. You expect a learning curve and some moments of panic. The good news is that PPD will eventually pass with proper support and intervention.

Postnatal depression is the name given to depression that develops between one month and up to one year after the birth of a baby. It affects about 1 in every 7 women who give birth in Australia each year. All parents go through a period of adjustment as they try to handle the huge changes a baby brings. For most people, this time of adjustment will be temporary and will not be overly distressing.

How to Help a Spouse Suffering From Postpartum Depression

Back to Postnatal depression. Postnatal depression can affect women in different ways. It can start at any point in the first year after giving birth and may develop suddenly or gradually. Many women feel a bit down, tearful or anxious in the first week after giving birth. This is often called the "baby blues" and is so common that it's considered normal. The " baby blues " don't last for more than 2 weeks after giving birth. These symptoms can affect your day-to-day life and your relationships with your baby, your family and friends. If you think you may be depressed, talk to your GP or health visitor as soon as possible so you can access the support you need. Don't struggle on alone and hope the problem will go away. It can continue for months or years if nothing is done.

Postpartum Depression and the Baby Blues

When it comes to postpartum depression, a spouse can do a lot to support their partner. It may not be easy, and it may not be pleasant, but a spouse can help their partner overcome - or at least live with postpartum depression and anxiety. We asked Eric Dyches, founder of the Emily Effect, for some partner advice when it comes to postpartum depression. Your husband is being great and helping out around the house, and I can tell you what he was thinking.

For example, you might feel stressed and overwhelmed as you and your partner learn how to look after your new baby — while coping with a lack of sleep and much less time to yourselves.

When his second son was born, Jared knew something just wasn't right. Although the New Jersey father's baby boy had been born healthy, and his wife gave birth without any major physical complications, the family was suffering. Jared not his real name , 33, noticed red flags immediately.

A mum who had post-natal depression tells you how to help your partner through PND

If you are reading this, you may have concerns about your thoughts, feelings or behaviours, or those of your partner or someone close to you who is pregnant or recently had a baby. You may have heard of antenatal or postnatal anxiety and depression, and be wondering:. Having a baby is both an exciting and challenging time. Adding anxiety or depression can make it difficult to function and feel like you are a good enough parent.

Back to Health A to Z. Postnatal depression is a type of depression that many parents experience after having a baby. It's a common problem, affecting more than 1 in every 10 women within a year of giving birth. It can also affect fathers and partners. It's important to seek help as soon as possible if you think you might be depressed, as your symptoms could last months or get worse and have a significant impact on you, your baby and your family.

Beyond the Blues: Partners

In fact, mild depression and mood swings are so common in new mothers that it has its own name: the baby blues. The majority of women experience at least some symptoms of the baby blues immediately after childbirth. You might feel more tearful, overwhelmed, and emotionally fragile. Generally, this will start within the first couple of days after delivery, peak around one week, and taper off by the end of the second week postpartum. In the beginning, postpartum depression can look like the normal baby blues. In fact, postpartum depression and the baby blues share many symptoms, including mood swings, crying jags, sadness, insomnia, and irritability. The difference is that with postpartum depression, the symptoms are more severe such as suicidal thoughts or an inability to care for your newborn and longer lasting. The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale is a screening tool designed to detect postpartum depression.

Postnatal depression can affect women in different ways. It can start at any point in the first year after giving birth and may develop suddenly or gradually.

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I think my partner has postnatal depression. How can I help?

You are struggling— really struggling—and all you want besides symptom relief is for your partner to get it; for him to truly empathize, for him take you in his arms and just be there with you during postpartum depression. For there to be a gaze of understanding, a hand to reach to, and an unconditional smile that lets you know that this person is right along side with your pain and suffering, no matter what. There are certainly husbands and partners out there like this they are usually the ones who call my office looking for the support their families need , but often this picture looks very different. He keeps telling me that I should be happy because we have such a beautiful baby!

The authors have generously given permission to have this chapter posted here. To get a copy of their book, visit the PSI Bookstore. This chapter is designed to provide support to you, the partner, regardless of your gender or marital status. The more you understand what she is experiencing, the better supported she will feel.

GQ Dads.

Before Sara, a teacher in Atlanta, GA, gave birth for the first time, she had a clear vision of what motherhood would be like. Things got worse as Sara became more and more depressed, and her husband seemed oblivious to what was happening. I fantasized about divorcing him, but I also thought I was totally incapable of caring for my daughter by myself, so I'd have to leave them both, which wasn't an option. Sara's experience isn't uncommon. Postpartum depression can take a significant toll on relationships.

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