An open letter to the partner of a [new] mom...
Dear partner of a [new] mom,
I experienced postpartum depression but many people closest to me had no idea. The biggest mistake I made was trying to deal with it alone. Mothers may be experiencing unexpected changes outsiders know of and things they have no idea of that are going on internally. The most important thing for their partner, is to be intuitive of her needs and compassionate to her words and actions. Women are such strong beings that we are able to be vessels of life for the greater part of a 12-month span. In that time, obviously our bodies are not our own.
When I went through depression after having my son, I would have to force myself to care for him, hell, I would have to force myself to take care of me and that included basic shit like showering and putting on something other than sweatpants. Pay attention to the things she does and not necessarily everything she says (because she could be trying to put on a “strong” face. That’s what moms do because we feel we’re superwomen). Pay attention to her nonverbal cues and her silent cries for help. Once noticed, offer help wherever it's needed and if she declines, help her anyway. The worst thing a mom can feel is unappreciated for the miracle she just made happen and unsupported by the person who helped her create that miracle.
For your partner, encourage her to seek a therapist. I thought I could do it on my own and I tried but after the first year, I became explosive and resentful to my kid’s father. When I finally told him, he mocked me and made it seem like things were not that serious. But for me, they were. Understand the fact that you may not understand what she is going through fully, but you’re going to ride with her until the wheels fall off. Make sure your partner is also taking care of herself. Showering, getting her hair and nails done, time away from you and the child, returning to pleasurable activities she used to do before being pregnant etc. Try to encourage her that seeking out a therapist or a mom’s support group may create a level of understanding, acceptance, and WILLINGNESS to want to be a great mom because she wants to not because she feels she has to.
Please lead with love, light and compassion!
Signed, an empowered and bomb ass mother.
(Contact me directly for therapy and support group openings)