Husbands, we need you. We picked you for a reason, and we know that we can’t walk this path of life without you. When we fall, we need you to catch us. We need you to hold us tight and wipe our tears away. We need you to comfort us when life becomes too hard to bear. I know you want to fix us and make everything better. I know that sometimes it’s difficult to even know where to start or what to do. Sometimes the right words are difficult to find. And sometimes no matter what you do or say nothing seems to help. But we need you.
It can be frustrating living with someone who is struggling with any type of depression, especially when there is a new baby in the mix. What you think may help her, might not. It seems like a never ending battle trying to figure out how to defeat the postpartum depression monster. Part of you might want to tell her just to get over it. You need to realize that this is a clinical disease and “getting over it” isn’t a real thing. It takes time, more time then I’m sure you want it to. But you need to stand by her, whether it lasts one month or one year, you need to be willing to wait with her. Remember, she sacrificed a lot, and her body is going through changes that you can never understand, so be there for her, don’t stop being there for her.
I’m sure you’re scared, it’s terrifying, it really is.
What you can do:
Get involved before she gets burned out – The best time to help your wife is now, don’t step in once she has a breakdown.
Comfort her – Hold her, let her know she isn’t crazy
Stop trying to “fix” her – Just listen, that’s really all you need to do, even if she repeats the same problems every day for a week, just listen.
Let her talk as long as she needs – Sometimes the best way for a woman to reset is by getting all of her thoughts out. Let your wife talk through her feelings and problems. Show empathy. Listen carefully. Ask questions. Be fully engaged in the conversation.
Give her a day to herself – Sometimes moms just need a break, run a bath for her, or send her out to get her nails done.
Know when she needs help – Your job right now is to support her emotionally and physically while keeping the household running. That sounds like a lot, and it is, but this is just a season, an important season, and one day you will be thankful for stepping in.
Be a partner – Marriage is committing to share a life together. To carry one another’s burden. To cry with one another. To support one another through difficult times. Marriage means being one another’s lover and friend. You aren’t just two people living together; you are one.
Whatever you do remember you aren’t in her shoes, you have no idea what she is going through. Right now her hormones and emotions make communication more difficult. Here is what you’re up against when you try to talk to her.
If you tell her you love her… she won’t believe you.
If you tell her she’s a good mother…she’ll say you’re just saying that to make her feel better.
If you tell her she’s beautiful… she’ll say you’re lying.
If you tell her not to worry about anything… she’ll say you have no idea how bad she feels.
If you tell her you’ll come home early to help her… she’ll feel guilty.
If you tell her you have to work late… she’ll think you want away from her.
Postpartum depression and anxiety is exhausting for the whole family. Take care of the woman you love. Realize she needs your help desperately at this difficult time. Your help can make a big difference in her recovery.