Postpartum depression is a mental and emotional state that is closely linked to social, chemical, and psychological changes in a woman after childbirth.
Studies reveal that emotional reactivity is increased 4-6 times postpartum. During pregnancy, a woman's levels of progesterone and estrogen increase tenfold. After she gives birth there is a sharp drop in hormones that create a temporary imbalance in her body. This means that women have an increased risk of going through depressive episodes.
This post-birth depression can cause problems in marriage and make new mothers feel worthless or incapable of taking care of their newborn. It can also weaken the marriage bond. With time, postpartum depression can go away on its own. It can also be treated with therapy or medication.
In the meantime, here are 7 ways you can help your spouse fight the postpartum blues and get back to living a happy, healthy life together.
How to Help Your Wife During Postpartum Depression
Listen to Her
Sometimes women just need an ear to listen. Instead of trying to justify or disqualify her emotions, a simple "I'm sorry. That must be difficult, but I'm here for whatever you need." can be encouraging to your wife.
Bonding with a new baby is a rewarding experience for a mother, but it can also give her a mild case of cabin-fever. Another great new daddy parenting tip is to check in with your wife throughout the day via text, video chat, or phone call. After you get home, encourage her to talk to you and tell her about her day.
Look for Ways to be Kind
A new mother has a host of responsibilities to care for. Breastfeeding and waking in the night for the baby can take its toll on her already low morale during this time.
The next time she's nursing or the baby has fallen asleep on her, ask your wife if she needs anything. A drink, her phone, or just some company. This simple gesture will mean the world to her.
Look for ways to be kind to her. Make her breakfast, come home with flowers, take turns getting up with the baby, and find other sweet ways to surprise her.
Oxytocin is a bonding hormone released in the body after experiencing physical intimacy. This could be from the act of making love to your spouse or can even be released while breastfeeding, hugging a loved one, or holding hands.
This bonding agent promotes trust between partners and has been shown to lower stress and anxiety.
One study suggests that mothers suffering from postpartum depression have low levels of oxytocin in their system. While your wife may not be up for being sexually intimate, you can still boost this helpful love-hormone by holding her hand or engaging in other forms of physical touch during this trying time.
When your partner is depressed they no longer act like themselves. You may have been excited to become parents together only to have the postpartum problems in marriage making you feel frustrated and out of control in your relationship. One of the best new parenting tips you can follow is to give it time.
While some women report severe depression for up to a year after childbirth, postpartum depression usually goes away after about two weeks or so.
Postpartum depression may cause problems in marriage that leave you feeling frustrated and tired. Don’t give up on trying to help your spouse cope.
Be patient with her and show her your unending love and support during this time. If your wife's depression persists any longer than two or three weeks, encourage her to see her doctor and get treated before the symptoms become dangerous.
Communication is essential for any happy, healthy marriage. This is also true for couples where one spouse is suffering from postpartum depression.
You'll know the best way to help your wife during this time after you encourage her to communicate her feelings to you.
If your wife isn't feeling up to talking, encourage her to seek out online support from other mothers who have gone through postpartum depression. This will remind her that she isn't alone and may boost her morale.
Keep a Regular Date Night
If your little one is old enough, get a babysitter or a trusted family member to watch them for a couple of hours and take your wife out for a romantic date.
Having a regular date night is great for couples, especially for new parents. This night gives them an opportunity to reconnect as lovers and friends, instead of just parents. It also gives depressed mothers something to look forward to.
Plan an evening she'll never forget and don't skimp on the romance. Your wife's depressive state may make it difficult to get her out of bed, but don't give up. Remind her of the importance of spending quality time together as a couple.
Help Around the House
When a woman is suffering from postpartum depression it can make performing her daily routine feel impossible. Even simple tasks like picking up around the house can be difficult.
You can make this trying time easier for her by helping around the house (before she asks you to). Tidy up from room to room, dusting, vacuuming, and doing dishes. Your wife will deeply appreciate anything you can do to make her day a little bit easier.
Symptoms of Postpartum Depression
Do you think your wife has postpartum depression? There are several risk factors for developing depression after giving birth. Circumstances such as a history of depression, having premenstrual dysphoric disorder, experiencing marital conflict, or feeling apathetic about the pregnancy - all increase the risk.
There are many symptoms of postpartum depression in mothers. Here are some of the most common signs to look out for.
l Decreased libido
l Mood Swings
l General hopelessness
l Low morale
l Feelings of worthlessness
l Difficulty Sleeping
l Changes in Appetite
l Not wanting to get out of bed
l Feeling helpless
l Thoughts of running away or suicide
Many of these symptoms, such as sleepless nights, are commonly associated with new motherhood. However, other symptoms listed above can be dangerous to a mother's mental and physical health and can cause problems in marriage.
Author Bio: Rachael Pace is a relationship expert with years of experience in training and helping couples. She has helped countless individuals and organizations around the world, offering effective and efficient solutions for healthy and successful relationships. She is a featured writer for Marriage.com, a reliable resource to support healthy happy marriages.
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