The Best Info for Explaining Postpartum Depression to Your Partner

Talking about postpartum depression is never easy, even when it’s to the one we love the most.

Many women struggle with explaining postpartum depression to their partners, friends, family or other loved ones.  It seems strange that we would allow ourselves to be vulnerable around our closest people, except when it comes to mental health.  When it comes to explaining postpartum depression to our partners, having the right information is important.

This guest post by Betti Wilson is a summary of some of the best info about postpartum depression to help you communicate with your partner. 
The Best Info for Explaining Postpartum Depression to Your Partner
*This is a guest post and all opinions are those of the author. This post may also contain affiliate and/or paid links. Rest assured that I only work with companies and individuals that I trust. While some of those companies and individuals may work in the medical field, this post is not intended to be a substitution for medical advice. Always speak to your doctor if you have concerns about your mental or physical health.

Description: A baby has just been born, and you expected that only joy and tenderness would overwhelm you. You would soar with happiness. Instead, you are overwhelmed by fears; all feelings have become aggravated to the state of bare wire.

What is postpartum depression and how it is detected?

Such increased emotionality is characteristic of many mothers in the first months after the child’s birth. Moreover, it’s not only a constant lack of sleep, the fact that your life has changed a lot, establish breastfeeding, look after the baby, etc. While your child is tiny and still very closely connected with you, your usual psychological defenses are weakening, and this is normal. 

However, if time goes on and your feelings deepen more and more, you may have experienced postpartum depression or even postpartum psychosis. It does not mean at all that something is wrong with you or that you are weak. Instead, this condition can be considered as a physiological complication after childbirth, like a postpartum hemorrhage.

In this article, we will give you the postpartum definition, tell you what postpartum depression is, how to know its symptoms, and help you understand how to deal with it.  The more you know about the condition, the better you will be at explaining postpartum depression to your partner or others. 

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What is postpartum depression?

Postpartum depression is a violation of the emotional sphere, because of which, in the first months after the birth of the baby, the mother experiences strong negative emotions. Below we list the main symptoms of postpartum depression. Postpartum depression can occur not only after the first birth. As a rule, it begins between the first and third weeks after childbirth. However, some women experience depression for a few months or even a year after giving birth.

If you are now in postpartum depression, remember that you are not alone.  Your partner is likely more than willing to help you get through this. This condition is temporary, it should not be hidden, and when you get help, you will feel better.

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Postpartum depression symptoms       

To understand if you have postpartum depression or not, listen carefully to yourself. Here are the signs of postpartum depression:

    • Depressed mood
    • Very sharp mood swings
    • Increased tearfulness
    • Difficulties bonding with baby
    • Separation from family and friends
    • Increase or loss of appetite
    • Insomnia
    • Persistent drowsiness
    • Weakness and fatigue
    • Decreased interest in everything you liked
    • Increased irritability and outbursts of anger
    • Fear that you are a bad mother
    • Feeling of worthlessness, shame, guilt
    • Difficulty concentrating
    • Difficulties with doing routine activities
    • Constant anxiety and panic attacks
    • Thoughts about harming yourself or your child
    • Repeated thoughts of death or suicide
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What causes it?

It is still not fully known what causes postpartum depression. The reason is a combination of physical and emotional prerequisites. Among them are:

  • Hormonal changes. After childbirth, the amount of pregnancy hormones — estrogen and progesterone — sharply decreases in the body. It can affect mood swings. The level of other hormones produced by the thyroid gland also decreases. That is why you can feel tired, depressed, and lethargic and you may experience postpartum hair loss.
  • Permanent lack of sleep. The body needs to recover from childbirth. However, you need to take care of the baby, so few mothers can generally relax and recover. Lack of sleep can cause physical discomfort and a constant feeling of fatigue. Moreover, this, in turn, triggers all the other symptoms of postpartum depression.
  • Emotional experiences. After the birth of a baby, a woman’s life changes dramatically. The body and self-identity are changing. It seems that your life has gone out of control and no longer belongs to you. All this, coupled with constant anxiety, also contributes to the development of postpartum depression.
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How to deal with it?

Consult doctors with complaints of postpartum depression. They will tell you about possible treatment options, which include working with a psychologist and/or taking particular medications. These tips will increase the effectiveness of treatment and will contribute to your recovery:

  • Rest, and sleep. Set aside all household chores, and take time and attention for yourself. If your baby falls asleep, do not try to do all things during this time. Try to go to bed and also sleep.  Ask your partner to take over for you while you sleep.
  • Simplify your life. Think about how and on what you could save energy and time? Do you often cook food for the whole family? It may be worthwhile to increase the volume and cook not every day, but a couple of times a week.  Or make larger portions in advance and freeze them.
  • Speak with your partnerThe child belongs to both of you and even if your partner supports the family, part of the childcare will fall on their shoulders. Explaining postpartum depression will help them to understand what you are going through.
  • Ask for help and accept it. All relatives live far away, and your partner disappears all day at work? You will be surprised, but help may come when you least expect it. However, it is essential not only to ask but also to be able to accept help. If you hear an offer to help you, do not rush to refuse out of politeness. Support can be very different.
  • Take time for yourself. As you know, if a mother is happy, then the baby will be satisfied. Make sure to practice self care daily and don’t neglect your needs, even with a demanding baby. 
  • Stay in touch. Many mothers think that they suddenly found themselves in isolation, and they suffer from it. Make sure that the internet does not suck you in.  Get acquainted with moms at the playgrounds, call friends to visit and do not be afraid to go out with baby.  Found out are postpartum girdles safe and do not hesitate to go for a walk or to the gym.
  • Separate responsibilities. Your partner will be happy to help you – you just need to ask him for support.  Explaining how postpartum depression affects you will open up the lines of communication.  They will be more willing to help take on some of the duties around the house. Even short breaks a couple of times a week will help you feel better.
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Conclusion

Postpartum depression is not your fault. Unfortunately, many women feel guilty or feel ashamed. Some indeed encounter misunderstanding or condemnation from others. Remember that postpartum depression is a violation of the emotional sphere, which requires contacting a qualified specialist for help, like any depression definition. It is vital not to experience it alone and share with your partner. By explaining postpartum depression to them, you will feel more supported. Soon everything will be fine, and you will enjoy each new day spent with your baby.


Author Bio:

Betti Wilson is a coach for moms and a mother of three kids. She studied baby, mother behavior, and now teaches moms to deal with all difficulties at the beginning of the new life. 

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What To Do When Postpartum Depression Makes You Suicidal

Postpartum depression, like many mental illnesses, has a way of making a woman feel suicidal. 

For a person who has never suffered from mental illness, it’s almost impossible to understand why a mother would want to abandon her children in such a way.  But a woman who has suffered from postpartum depression, anxiety, psychosis or other mental illness will tell you that it’s not about that at all.

The misconception about mothers who are suicidal is that they are “giving up.” In reality, many mothers see it as a way to free their children, spouse, loved ones, etc., from the pain that they are causing.  It is the ultimate sacrifice for someone else’s happiness.

Despite what the reason is behind it – it is completely extreme and unnecessary.  Any person in their right mind would realize that.  Right mind being the key word here.

So what is a mother to do when postpartum depression makes her feel suicidal?
What to do when Postpartum Depression Makes you feel Suicidal
*This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust.  **Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.

Get Treatment

Untreated depression is the number one cause of suicide. Do not let postpartum depression get out of hand, and don’t expect it to get better without treatment.  I realize it’s hard to ask for help, in fact, I’ve written several times about all the reasons why mothers don’t speak up about postpartum depression, so if anyone understands, it’s me.  But there’s a big difference between feeling ashamed and feeling suicidal.  If there was ever a time to speak up about postpartum depression, it’s now.

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The only way to avoid suicidal thoughts and tendencies caused by postpartum depression is to begin a treatment plan.

If you think you have postpartum depression, speak to your doctor.  If your doctor is not available in the near future, or you simply don’t feel comfortable speaking to your doctor about it for whatever reason – then try contacting your local public health nurse, find a therapist or mental health center.  And if all else fails, head to an urgent care center or the ER.  But don’t give up seeking help just because your doctor isn’t available, there are so many other options available.

If you don’t get the help you need, keep looking.  It’s sad that I even need to include this as an option but it’s so common for women with postpartum depression to get brushed off by the health care system.  If you’re told that “it’s nothing” or “it’s just sleep deprivation” or “this is normal motherhood” and you truly don’t agree – then get a second opinion.

If you’ve exhausted all your options locally, then consider finding treatment online or over the telephone.  Online therapy can be extremely beneficial and convenient.  There are several other resources available online, in-home and over the phone, so there is no excuse for avoiding treatment.

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Value Your Life

“They would be better off without me” should be the slogan for postpartum depression considering how many women have said it, myself included.

Postpartum depression is notorious for reducing a woman’s self-esteem and sense of self worth.  This opens the door for suicidal thoughts.  To make matters worse, others often tell us things like “don’t worry, you’re a great mom” or “you should give yourself more credit” thinking that they are helping, when really, it just invalidates our feelings.

In order to see your life as worth living, you need to focus on how you feel about yourself.  

Consider all the things that you once loved about yourself, and that you will love again.  Like your ability to win arguments or make people feel comfortable around you.  Maybe it was how others came to you for fashion or relationship advice.  These are things you can look forward to again when you get the postpartum depression under control.

Make a list of some of your best qualities. Do you have the best smile? Great hair? Eyes that sparkle?  Or is it your excellent sense of humor or party planning skills?  What makes you stand out among the rest?

Think of a time that you made others laugh, or helped someone who was hurt. You have the power to affect another person’s life in a way they may never forget.  Try surrounding yourself in positive images or create a self-care sanctuary that you can escape to when you’re feeling low.

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Look at pictures of your pregnancy, some of your happiest memories, vacations or family holidays. What would those pictures look like without you in them?  There would be a big empty hole where you belong.

Scroll through old Facebook or Instagram posts and remember who you were before postpartum depression. You have changed, and it’s unlikely you will ever be the same person again.  But it helps to remember who you once were and know that your life is just as important now as it was then.

Maybe we’re not the ideal mothers we thought we would be, but no one ever is – even the ones without postpartum depression.  The truth is, our children would much rather have a sad mother around than no mother at all.

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Make a plan

No, not a suicide plan. A plan for the future. 

It’s hard to imagine a future when you’re in the depths of postpartum depression, but I promise you – it’s there.  Each climb that you take upwards out of the deep, dark pit of despair brings you closer to the light.  And if you can see the light – even if it’s just a tiny speck like a distant star in the night sky, then you can climb towards it.  That tiny speck of light is your future and the higher you climb, the closer you get to a brighter future.

Having a plan can remind you that the future does exist.

Set realistic goals with dates to achieve them by.  These can include things like finishing a book or learning a new skill.  Try to avoid putting things like weight loss on there as those are almost impossible to achieve and can be discouraging.

Make a bucket list.  What are some things that you’ve always wanted to do before you die?  It doesn’t have to be the usual big ones like skydiving or cliff-jumping.  Think of anything and everything you’ve ever wanted to do in your lifetime and put it on the list.

Create a self-care schedule.    Self-care is the latest buzz word these days, and there’s a good reason for that.  Mothers need to make time for themselves otherwise bad things like suicidal thoughts can happen.  Schedule yourself some time to take care of yourself and don’t put it off.  Postponing things just for you signal your brain that you are not as important as the other things happening around you.

Bonus: Check out the post: How to Create a Self Care Routine as a SAHM and download a free self-care workbook!

Meet with a financial adviser.  No, not to “get your affairs in order” but rather, to make a financial plan for the future.  Find out how to save and manage your money to make sure it will last.  Financial problems can cause a lot stress and suicidal behavior.  Having a financial plan for the future can help you feel more prepared for the road ahead.  You can start getting your finances organized by downloading a Finance Tracker kit from Shine Sheets.

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Avoid Triggers

Suicidal tendencies are only one of the many nasty symptoms of postpartum depression.  Women also have to deal with postpartum rage, intrusive thoughts and a whole slew of physical pain as well.  Even with a treatment plan in place, it is likely something that mothers will have to battle their entire lives.

The key to keeping postpartum depression symptoms under control is avoiding the things that trigger it, such as stress, illness, sleep deprivation or the winter blues. 

Since it’s impossible to avoid triggers 100% of the time, it’s important to follow your treatment plan and make sure you are open about what you’re feeling with your loved ones.  Recruiting help to manage your symptoms and triggers will make sure that you continue down the right path.

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Talk to Someone

If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, it’s important to talk to someone about them.  When someone commits suicide, those closest to them often swear that they had no idea what they were going through.  Don’t let that be you.

You have several options for who to talk to if your postpartum depression is making you feel suicidal.  

Your closest person. This could be your spouse or partner, a sibling, friend or parent… whoever you feel the closest to and most comfortable with.  They are often the best person to tell first, because if they have been paying attention to your behavior – maybe they already suspect that someone isn’t quite right.

A therapist.  Therapists are trained to handle situations where people feel suicidal.  They know what to say and what not to say.  They also understand where the feelings stem from and won’t judge you for expressing your feelings.  Online therapy is an option worth considering if you’re worried about the trouble of finding a therapist and making appointments.

A support group.  Sometimes all we need is a sounding board and someone who can relate.  Joining a postpartum depression support group, whether in-person or online, is a safe place where we can open up about feeling suicidal and not be condemned for it.  Many mothers have been there too and will gladly give you advice or encouragement.

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A crisis center.  Crisis centers are designed specifically for handling emergent situations where you feel like you have no where else to turn.  Many of them have the ability to dispatch help locally if they feel it is required (similar to calling 9-1-1).  But they will also listen to you and provide you with advice and resources.

Or – you can talk to me!  I’m here to help, after all.  I’m a stranger who doesn’t know anything at all about you except that I have once been there too, so I will never judge you, ignore you or invalidate your feelings.  In fact, I would treat you exactly the way I wished someone would have treated me when I needed them to.  I DON’T have any formal medical training but I DO have access to a lot of resources that I would be more to happy to share with you.

If you are feeling suicidal and need someone to talk to, use the confidential contact form below *

Your information will never be published or shared

*Alternatively, you can email me at vanessa@runningintriangles.com


Suicide is not a choice that a woman with postpartum depression makes, but rather something that happens to her.  It’s the result of an illness in the brain that tells us lies and forces us to attack our own bodies.  Women with postpartum depression are exhausted, chemically imbalanced, overwhelmed and in physical pain, so when the brain sneaks in and whispers “just end it” – it sounds like a good idea at the time.

I hope, with every fiber in my being, that you find your true worth and value, remember that you are loved and cherished and know that suicide is not the best option.

National Crisis Support Numbers for Postpartum Moms
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