How to Help Your Wife Through PPD
Post-partum Depression affects around 1 in 7 women in the year after giving birth. It is a condition that’s should not be taken lightly. But with the stigma around mental health in Pakistan, it’s tough for such conversations to happen. This is why PPD in women over here is often overlooked.
But you can be supportive partner and help your wife through it to the best of your abilities. Here’s what you can do:
Don’t take it personally
When your partner comes across as quiet, upset, sad, or indifferent, it’s tough to not take it personally. It can often feel as if you are doing something wrong. Or that you might not be living up to your partner’s expectations. This is not the case.
Try to remember that your partner is suffering from a condition that has nothing to do with you. This is why she is coming across like this. Don’t let this lead to arguments or any other sort of friction between you two.
Don’t invalidate her feelings
Some of the most common phrases we hear when it comes to struggles with depression is ‘get over it’, or ‘don’t overreact’ or ‘just pray regularly and you will feel better’. These are unhelpful, and will make your partner feel greatly misunderstood. She will feel hurt, confused, and it will make her condition a lot harder to cope with.
Let her know that you acknowledge her feelings are real and valid. And that you are here if she needs to talk about them or reach out in any other way.
Remember that you can’t ‘fix’ this
In an effort to make your partner feel better, you may feel the need to ‘fix’ her as soon as possible. Which is understandable. No one wants to see their loved one struggle like this, and be depressed. But you cannot fix this. You can only support her healing process.
We recommend getting professional help. Do a lot of research and look up self-help booklets for people with PPD. Don’t forget, the road to recovery takes time!
Ask her how you can help
Often, we try so hard to help, we forget we might not be helping in the way our partner might need it. Communicate and ask! Here are a few things you can say:
What is the best way I can help you through this?
Is there anything you need from me?
How can I best help you feel better right now?
Is there any way I can be more mindful of your feelings?
Explicit communication goes a long way. You can also develop a channel through which you can communicate your feelings as well. Studies have shown that depression is easier to alleviate when you have your partner’s support.