4

My wife gave birth two weeks ago. It was all very traumatic and it has certainly taken its toll on her mood. She suffers from depression anyway, and now I am concerned that she is probably suffering from post-natal depression. My wife is under professional care for her depression, and we also have cover from a post-natal psychiatrist. She is still very attentive to the baby, and is doing a fantastic job of breastfeeding etc.

I'm just looking for any tips of things that I could do to make things easier for her really! In particular, I'm worried (and so is she) that she is missing out on a lot of the happy early bits of parenthood and would like to do anything I can to help her enjoy this bit a little more. My question, I suppose, is how can I help with this tricky period in addition to seeking professional care? In some ways, I think that this is as much about me feeling that I am doing something useful as it is about my wife!

  • 3
    From what I've learned what she is experiencing is much more common than most people ever admit. If nothing else that can help her understand that her feelings are normal and that in time they will diminish and go away. – Adam Heeg May 3 '16 at 17:57
  • 2
    If your wife suffers from depression, she should be monitored for post-natal depression by a professional. As far as I know, post-natal depression risk increases A LOT if you are already suffering from depression, have previously been depression, or have a family history of depression. You should have her doctor or therapist or other professional evaluate her for depression & post-natal depression, IMHO. – Ida May 3 '16 at 20:16
  • @Ida: Exactly my thoughts. Consider making that an answer :-). – sleske May 4 '16 at 10:25
  • Many thanks @lda, I agree completely and have edited my answer accordingly. – user2728808 May 4 '16 at 10:34
  • 2
    I don't know if this helps, so I won't make it an answer. I had a horrific first labor, and in spite of my usual fortitude, every time I thought of my labor experience for the first two weeks, I literally cried. Add to that the fact that first babies are very stressful, especially in the first few weeks when they seem so fragile and mysterious. My husband's full support was incredibly helpful. Without dismissing her feelings, reminding her that "this too shall pass" (and you're there for her) may also help. – anongoodnurse May 4 '16 at 18:47
4

The most important thing is to be aware of the signs of depression in general, and to seek professional help even for apparently minor issues. You've already got that covered because of the preexisting condition, which is good -- keep it up.

Post-partum depression is often not just due to hormones, but also the stress and sleeplessness of being a new parent. Do as much as possible to provide help with the new child and general household tasks. Provide opportunities for breaks -- time out with friends, running errands without the baby, even a nap and shower and an hour of "quiet mommy time" is remarkably refreshing. Be positive towards her, expressing respect for her hard work and support during this transition.

3

Sleep deprivation really feeds into PPD. So the simplest thing you could do for her is to help her to have the opportunity to sleep as much as possible. You giving the baby a bottle once in a while so she can sleep uninterrupted for a few hours could be really helpful.

  • Agreed. One thing that helped me get some rest is that my husband often got up during the night to bring me the baby for breastfeeding and change his diaper and return him to his crib (in case a bottle is not an option.) – anongoodnurse May 4 '16 at 18:38
1

That is a tough one, as we cannot "make" ourselves happy, etc... One bit of advice is for her to exercise. It is well documented that exercise can help lift people out of a sad/depressed state. You will need to do it with her to help motivate her ( I know depression makes me not want to exercise ), and figuring out which exercises are good for her will take trial and error since her body was just put through a blender.

My wife really liked to bounce on one of those single person exercise trampolines. She did find that the bouncing motion was a little disconcerting early since she just had a baby, but she started out (just after the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd baby), just light bouncing, nothing crazy. She was able to increase from there as time went on and her body recovered from having a baby and got stronger.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.