What can I do to help?
Be There. Be Involved.
Dealing with perinatal mood & anxiety disorders is very demanding for everyone involved. There are some things you can do that will make it easier for your partner and yourself to overcome this very difficult time.
- Reassure your partner of your love and concern
- Listen to your partner without judging her
- Allow your partner to verbalize her feelings to you
- Be patient and realize that you cannot be the solution finder
- If outside help is necessary, encourage your partner to find supportive health professionals, and to consider treatment options such as medication, counselling and support groups
What to say...
Encourage your partner as much as possible by saying positive statements to her such as:
- "I love you"
- "It’s not your fault"
- "You’re not alone"
- "You will get better"
- "You can still be a good mother and feel terrible"
- "Our baby will be fine"
- "Tell me how I can help you"
What can you do?
There are many ways that you as a father/partner can help the mother of your child:
- Change diapers, play with your baby
- Keep track and assist with feedings
- Help with housework e.g. do laundry
- Provide nourishing meals, encourage friends to bring food
- If there are other children, help care for them
- Reassure your other children that their mother will be okay
- Be attentive to mom’s appetite, sleeping patterns, feelings, energy level
- Listen to your partner
- Be patient!
Other important information for dads/partners
Research has shown that many new fathers can also experience “the baby blues”. Remember that you, too, are going through many major adjustments. You may feel sad, anxious, angry or left out. Become involved with the care of your baby right away. This helps to increase your confidence and reduce your isolation. The blues are only temporary. Take breaks to look after yourself and the feelings you’re experiencing should resolve in a few days or weeks.
Some things that dad/partner can do to ease the transition to parenting might include:
- Taking care of your own health
- Eating well
- Getting enough rest
- Making time for exercise
- Taking a personal break
- Connecting with other fathers
- Being aware of your own needs
- Following up on some of your own interests
Go out and do things together as a family such as a walk around the block, exercising together or visiting the park. Always remember that you are not alone. As a family, you will get through this!
*The information in this section has been adapted from “10 + 1 Tips To Father Through Postpartum Depression” (2003).