Dads Key In Weathering Postpartum Depression
From the Calgary Herald, January 15, 1989
Fathers can play a key role in helping their partners cope with postpartum depression, says Joan Stauffer, assistant coordinator of Calgary’s Postpartum Support Service.
“A woman is very vulnerable after having a baby and he is her main support,” says Stauffer. She suggests many ways a father can help his partner:
- Encourage her to talk about her feelings and show that he understands or is trying to understand
- Set visitation limits by telling family and friends “no” when she doesn’t feel like company.
- If friends or family offer help – such as volunteering to clean the house – accept.
- If friends offer to baby-sit, say “yes.” Parents need time away from the baby.
- Tell her he loves her; don’t assume she knows it. Many women feel un-sexy and unlovable and need to know their partners aren’t going to leave them.
- Pick up the slack with chores.
- Be physically affectionate without asking for sex.
Moreover,” Stauffer adds, “men need support, too. Especially first-time fathers who don’t know what to expect, who are trying to support their wives and cope with their own feelings.” She suggests that men also need to look after themselves:
- Find someone to talk to.
- Continue to participate in some of their own interests.
- Be aware of their own needs.
Finally, Stauffer notes that when parents make taking care of themselves and their relationship a priority, they have more energy to care for their child.