When a mother goes through childbirth she experiences many emotional changes. Mothers returning home after a safe delivery should feel relief, but many times depression can occur; this is called Postpartum Depression.
Many women will experience sadness that is far greater than the normal “baby blues”, which usually only lasts two weeks after childbirth. Feelings of depression and sadness that last for many weeks are more commonly a depression disorder.
New mothers may feel a sense of unworthiness, deep sadness, or uncontrollable anger. Your spouse may have fits of crying, or show no emotion at all; usually described as feeling numb or detached from oneself. Twenty five percent of all new mothers are likely to form Postpartum Depression within six moths of childbirth. As a new parent it may be hard to admit feelings of inadequacy, or an inability to take care of a new baby.
Usually, a new mother doesn’t want to admit she is suffering from depression that is affecting her daily life, or her baby’s life. She may be afraid of the societal stigma of being a bad mother, or to admit that she is struggling to cope in the months after delivery. It is important that your spouse feels that she can talk with you about her feelings and emotions. Good channels of communication are important within the family, and friends. If your spouse seems disconnected emotionally from you, or the baby it is a good idea to talk about her condition. Talking helps a new mother realize she is not alone in her struggle of mental health and well being.
Questions you may ask your spouse to determine whether she is suffering from postpartum depression:
- Are they getting enough sleep?
- If they are feeling tired or emotionally drained?
- Are they eating regularly?
- Are they feeling sad or depressed or feeling like they are a bad mother?
Sometimes moms just need a break or personal time to themselves to relieve stress. Plan a day where your spouse can go shopping, pamper herself, or just have some alone quiet time while you keep the baby. The smallest breaks in stress can go a long way in mental health stability.
Be sure to be a good listener to your spouse, and ask about their state of mind. Many times mothers feel overwhelmed, and just need a helping hand, or a listening ear to ease their anxiety. Make sure that the household chores are split adequately, or maybe take on more housework to ease the stress of taking care of the family.
Daily duties can be a struggle for someone suffering from depression, oftentimes attention to self care can be ignored, and it is a relief if the father takes over for short periods of time. A little extra time made for chores, and family planning, by you, the father, can take the burden off a new mother.
Be sensitive to your partner’s physical and emotional needs. It is just as important to give a new mother time for her needs, as it is her relationship within the family, and with you, her spouse.
It is easy to feel emotionally void when suffering from Postpartum Depression; small signs of care and affection from you can go a long way. Be sure to exhibit physical contact in the forms of: hugs, kisses, or even a flirty gesture. Being romantic with your partner can help them feel less disconnected, and will increase self esteem; which leads to a more positive mindset.
Sometimes, it is a good idea to ask how long your partner has been feeling down, or depressed. Communication and asking questions about your spouse’s feelings will help them feel comfortable in talking about their struggle with depression; this in turn will make it easier, if perhaps medical attention is needed. It is important to be diligent in your spouses care, and mental well being after childbirth. Seek medical attention for your partner if the symptoms start to interfere with everyday family life, and events.