Supporting your partner
**If this is an emergency, call 911 or Peel Crisis Support at 905-278-9036, or go to your nearest emergency room.**
It is sometimes difficult to know what will help. There is nothing that you say or do that will make Postpartum Mood Disorders (PMD) go away, but it’s important to give your wife or partner as much help and encouragement as you can:
8 ways to help your wife or partner
1) LEARN: Find out about PMD and available supports. For a quick reference, check out our Postpartum Mood Disorders brochure.
2) PRACTICAL HELP: Help with the baby or around the house. Help out when you can, or arrange to get help with cooking, laundry, or house and garden work.
3) GIVE MOM A BREAK: Let Mom sleep or take some time for herself. For some moms, being at home with a baby all day can be difficult. Sometimes they just need time to sleep, go for a walk, take a bath or meet a friend for coffee.
4) DAD & BABY TIME: Plan some time with your baby so you can get to know your baby better. Find a ‘Father and Baby’ group in your local Ontario Early Years Centre or community centre. Sometimes just taking the baby out for a walk or to the park will give your wife or partner a break, and will give you some 1 to 1 time with your baby.
5) TIME TOGETHER: Schedule some time with your partner and do something special. When there is a new baby, it’s often difficult for couples to spend time together, but this is important. If you have other children, it’s also important for you and your partner to spend some 1 to 1 time with them as well.
6) ASK: Ask her what she needs. She may not always be able to tell you, but she does need someone to listen and not judge her. Take time to listen.
7) BE PATIENT: Do not say things like “Snap out of it”, or “This should be the happiest time for you”. Tell her that she is doing a good job and it is not her fault.
8) TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF: Remember to take time for yourself too and get the supports that you need. Often dads blame themselves, but you did not cause the problem and you can’t “fix” it either.
Where can I find out more?
- The Peel Postpartum Family Support Line provides caring, non-judgemental support and information about resources that are available in the community. You can also ask about how to get help for your wife or partner. Call 1-877-298-5444 (905-459-7777 from Caledon) anytime between 10 am and 10 pm, Monday to Friday.
- Public Health Nurses are available at the Region of Peel Public Health’s phone line. Call 905-799-7700 from 8:30-4:30 for information about PMD and services.
- Postpartumdads.org: created for Dads who are supporting a loved one with PMD
- PSI International website: PSI hosts chats for both mothers and fathers. Mothers can “Chat with an Expert” every Wednesday and Dads can “Chat with an Expert”on the first Monday of every month.
- Read about other dad’s experiences 6 Dads Tell All About Helping Their Wives Get Through Postpartum Depression
- 24-HR Cribside Assistance: A new baby manual for Dads
- Just for Dads Baby’s First Year: Information and resources for new dads from Peel Public Health
- Life with a New Baby: Check the Family and Friends Link on the Best Start website for more information and resources
- Fathers Respond to Perinatal and Postpartum Mood and Anxiety Disorders: Three dads tell their stories about supporting their wives through their Postpartum Mood Disorder
- The Smiling Mask tells the story of three women who suffered from Postpartum Mood Disorder. At the Smiling Mask Conference, two of the couples shared their stories. Hear Ward and Elita’s story and Tanya and Darren’s story and how they overcame their disorders. More information is also available on their website: The Smiling Mask
- Behind the Mask: The Hidden Struggle of Parenthood on youtube: Produced in Australia, this video shares the stories of mothers and fathers with PMD, and presents information by health care professionals. DVD also available through PANDA and the Gidget Foundation.
- Postpartum Depression for Dummies by Shoshanna Bennet
- The Postpartum Husband: Practical Solutions for Living with Postpartum Depression by Karen Kleinman, MSW
- She’s Had a Baby and Now I’m Having a Meltdown: What Every New Father Needs to Know About Marriage, Sex & Diapers by James Douglas Barron
- The Smiling Mask: Truths about Postpartum Depression and Parenthood by Carla O’Reilly, Elita Paterson, Tania Bird and Peggy Collins
For more resources, check out our Resources page.