Dear Husband: How to Help Your Wife Get Through Postpartum Depression
Having a baby should be one of the most exciting and joyous occasions in your life… until it’s not.
The hospital is a whirlwind of newness of life and there is a plethora of brand new and exciting feelings. But then you take that sweet baby home. And sometimes it’s not what you expect. Your wife seems broken. She’s not herself. She seems forlorn, she doesn’t look at your baby like you expected her to, she doesn’t take care of herself, or she might not even know who she is anymore.
If your wife is battling with Postpartum Depression, here are some ways you can help her through it:
Don’t try to fix it - you can't.
Dear Husband; you can fix a lot of things, but you cannot fix this. It’s important for you to know that there’s a big difference between helping and fixing. You can help your wife by supporting her choices in a treatment plan. Help her by embracing her as she cries and struggles to understand what’s going on inside of her. But please, oh please, don’t minimize her struggle by trying to fix it - you can’t.
Dear Husband; I know you’re scared, too. But your wife needs you to be strong now and she needs you to stay in this with her. Don’t withdraw and hide in something more comfortable. Stay with her. Fight with her. Choose to love her; now more than ever, when it’s hard. If you’ve already gone into hiding, tell her you’re here for her now. Then prove it.
Don’t rush her.
Dear Husband; it’s hard to know how long Postpartum Depression will inflict your wife. So please, don’t rush her. There is a reason why most married couples vow to love one another in “sickness and in health.” That reason is now. Your wife is sick, and if you rush her, she won’t heal correctly. Let her go through the process to work through this however she needs to.
Dear Husband; right now your wife is not the woman you married. She’s still the love of your life, but she’s lost - she’s someone else and she needs you. She may not even know exactly what she needs and her needs might even change day to day. But the one thing that will never change throughout this journey is that she needs you. So be vigilant to take notice of where she is at each day and meet her there. Embrace her physically and emotionally; even when she lashes out at you.
Ask a lot of questions.
Dear Husband; your wife needs you to ask her questions. So ask her every single day what she needs from you: what kind of day she is having, what does the baby need, and what does your marriage need. Ask her whatever comes to your mind so that you can learn right along with her on how to get through this journey together.
Dear Husband; this journey is ugly. You may feel tempted to leave and give up because the grass looks greener on the other side. But don’t give in. Remember your vows. Choose love. Choose your wife. Every. Single. Time.
Written by Anna Collins
Anna Collins lives in sunny Southern California with her husband and two children. She is passionate about her marriage, staying at home with her kids, writing, coffee, good conversation, and game night. Her life dream is to someday write a book and see it published.