Postpartum depression, or PPD, affects more mothers than blissful-mother-and-bouncing-baby ads would have you believe. If your partner has been diagnosed with, or is showing signs of the common condition, here are some key ways—alongside securing professional treatment—to help her navigate this difficult, but surmountable period.
Encourage your partner to spend a morning at a cafe, or even better, a postnatal yoga session. Motivate her to text a pal to meet up with. On a day-to-day basis, simple can work miracles: draw a bath for her, have her favourite Netflix show ready to play. These are more than diversions; they’re reminders that there’s life on the other side of PPD.
Even if you’re at work, stay in touch with your partner—long days spent solo with just baby can be excruciatingly lonely. Communicate throughout the day via texts and phone calls. Says blogger Joseph Lynch III, “when (my wife’s) messages begin to sound troubled or hopeless, I make sure to respond with as much upbeat and positive reinforcement as I can. I try, as much as possible, to keep her company throughout the day, if only to remind her that she’s not alone.”
Share the load
If you have a job that’s flexible in terms of time, use that to help share the burden of baby care responsibility—and to break the monotony of the daily cycle for your partner. If your job is the more typical nine-to-fiver, think about dipping into your vacation or sick days to give your partner a break from babydom.
Find a tribe
Once upon a time, communities in their entirety were responsible for the upbringing of children, and with good reason—it’s hard going it alone (or even as a pair). Explains Joseph, “my wife and I are, as much as possible, trying to build a village to help us with the needs of our newborn. This network of people supports both of us, particularly when I’m traveling for work. Sometimes that means they call my wife or send her a reminder of exercises she can do to ease a panic attack related to postpartum mood disorder.” Don’t be afraid to ask family and close friends to help out in different ways; you’ll probably be surprised how much they want to have a part to play in helping you both out as new parents.