You just had a new baby with the love of your life, so why are you feeling so depressed?
Research shows that postpartum depression (PPD) affects about 15 percent of mothers. PPD is a severe mental state that follows childbirth. This condition is characterized by depression, intense pessimism, despondency, and a feeling of hopelessness.
PPD is often brought on by new hormonal changes, fatigue, and the psychological adjustments that come with motherhood.
Many women who experience PPD have difficulty bonding with their babies, experience extreme fatigue, and withdraw from friends, family, and even their spouse. There is no doubt that PPD can have a severe impact on your marriage.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with sadness after the birth of your child, you aren't alone. Here are 7 tips for getting your marriage through your difficult PPD so you start enjoying your new baby, along with your relationship.
Learn New Communication Techniques
If you don't tell your spouse how you're feeling, they won't be able to help you. But when you are depressed, it can be difficult to put your feelings into words. Especially if you don't know why you feel the way you do.
In order to speak to your spouse about your PPD, you must learn to identify your symptoms. Common symptoms of PPD include:
- Excessive crying
- Feeling sad or hopeless
- Extreme fatigue (more than is normal with a new baby around)
- Suicidal thoughts
- Thoughts of abandoning your life/family
- Extreme mood swings
- Disinterest in things that once brought you joy
- Rapid changes in appetite
Taking an online marriage course can be extremely beneficial for both you and your spouse in learning new communication techniques.
An online marriage course not only teaches partners how to talk to each other, but it also helps them to avoid harmful communication pitfalls and learn how to get their needs met.
One of the biggest tips for surviving PPD is to get informed. Whether you are the one watching your spouse suffer with PPD or you yourself are experiencing the symptoms, it's good to get educated about what to expect and why this is happening.
Look up common symptoms of the "baby blues" and compare them to yourself (or your spouse) to see if you are dealing with PPD. It is also good to get informed about how PPD is treated and what method might be best for your family.
Express Your Gratitude Freely
If your wife is suffering with PPD, she likely feels very sad and worthless. Showing your gratitude to her on a daily basis is a great start to strengthening your wife against PPDs negative thought-patterns.
Research shows that partners who express genuine gratitude for one another commonly experienced greater commitment, relationship satisfaction, intimacy, and self-expansion. So talk to your wife about what a great mother she is going to be. Highlight her wonderful qualities and tell her the things you love about her.
It can also be beneficial to reminisce about your relationship. Share a funny memory or talk about the pregnancy and how excited you were to be parents.
Keep Your Partner Healthy
A partner who is suffering from PPD is going to need a lot of emotional support. They will need your love, respect, comfort, and quite possibly your constant reassurance that you love them and that everything will be alright.
Another important thing your partner will need from you is to parent them - just a little!
When a woman is depressed, it can be very easy for her to stop taking the time for herself. This can worsen her depression and be detrimental to her health.
You can "parent" her by making sure she is looked after. Encourage her to dress up for date night. Run her a bubble bath and give her time away from the baby to sleep or relax. It's also good for you to cook meals and keep healthy, easy snacks on hand so that she never has an excuse to skip out on eating.
Benefit from Marriage Courses
Online marriage courses can be highly beneficial for new parents. Not only will it help teach you communication techniques, as mentioned before, but an online marriage course can also teach couples how to set goals.
Setting goals are wonderful for those suffering from depression because it gives them something to look forward to and strive toward. Even the smallest goal like "take a shower today" or "read to the baby for 20 minutes" can be a great reason to celebrate.
Sharing goals can also help couples to work as a team and practice cooperation.
Seek Professional Help
PPD is treated in one of two ways. The first is to seek counseling. You may find it cathartic to speak with a professional about how you are feeling. They can help you learn how to cope with your difficult situation and work through your depression.
Antidepressant medications are also a common treatment for PPD. New mothers are encouraged to seek advice from their doctor before going on antidepressants.
Find a Support System
It is common for people to withdraw from loved ones during the depression - but don't! Studies show that seeking support from those close to you can lower psychological distress during a trauma. It can also be comforting to talk about how you’re feeling with those who know you best.
Do not shy away from your spouse, either. They love you and want to help in any way they can - even if that means sitting up with the baby or doing something as simple as washing the dishes for you.
Postpartum depression affects many couples. It's important to look for ways to grow together - not apart - during this time. By taking an online marriage course, couples can learn how to communicate, grow compassion, and set small goals for the future. Doing these things will help keep your relationship strong and successful during this difficult time.