Suffering from postpartum depression, or PPD, is made worse when you wonder how your PPD affects other aspects of your life. How has it affected your breastfeeding journey? Do you feel like it's made a difference in your relationship with your baby? Can postpartum depression affect your partner, too?
The latter concern is a big issue for a lot of moms dealing with PPD. According to The Wall Street Journal, Seattle's Relationship Research Institute found that two-thirds of couples reported their relationship quality dropped within three years of having a child. It's easy to understand, right? Parenting is hard enough. But when you add in postpartum depression, it can get even hairy to save the quality of your partnership.
Postpartum Progress noted that there are several reasons why PPD can affect a relationship, like moms expecting their partners to help them without discussing issues, moms withdrawing from their partners, partners have no idea a mom is struggling, and a mom with PPD may feel resentment at how her partner is handling new parenthood.
But PPD can affect your partner outside of the relationship, too. According to Postpartum Progress, not only do up to 10 percent of new dads suffer from their own postpartum depression, but they may be at a total loss of how to help mom cope with hers. The website suggested that some partners may feel resentful — they feel like they are doing all they can and it's still not enough. They want their SO to feel better, to be out of the fog and the darkness, but they aren't sure where to start. If you think about some of the symptoms of PPD, like feeling overwhelmed, guilty, irritated, and angry, it makes sense that your emotions could confuse your partner, who only wants to help.
Psychology Today noted that it's normal for a partner to feel frustrated by their partner's postpartum depression. There's a new baby, they are overwhelmed, too, and trying to help you battle PPD (or watching you suffer) can be debilitating. But as Psychology Today noted, research has concluded that the consistent support of a woman's partner can help improve her depression significantly.
That doesn't mean your partner has to be hard on themselves either. By simply acknowledging how you're feeling instead of trying to force you to feel better, your partner will know that they are doing the best they can, in that moment, for you. And by opening up to them, explaining how you're feeling, and asking for help, you're letting them know that you can't do this on your own and that you need their support. It can ease tensions, frustrations, worries, and fears on both sides.