How To Support Your Partner Through Postpartum Depression

The age-old narrative tells us that having a baby will invariably make us feel happy and complete. While parenthood certainly can bring happiness and satisfaction, the months after welcoming a baby are rarely so straightforward.


Around 1 in 10 women in the U.S. will experience postpartum depression after giving birth, per Postpartum Depression. Not to be confused with the "baby blues," which last a few days, postpartum depression is a mental illness that causes people to feel "sad, hopeless, or empty" for longer than two weeks (via Office on Women's Health). Those affected may feel like they don't have a connection with their baby or feel a lack of love for their baby.

Some of the most common signs of postpartum depression include excessive crying, having thoughts of self-harm or harming the baby, not being able to focus, withdrawing from loved ones, and losing interest in things that used to make you happy. Women who experience postpartum depression also frequently feel guilty or ashamed.


Much more than just an emotional rollercoaster, postpartum depression can significantly impact the person experiencing it, along with other family members. In severe cases, it can even result in the loss of life, per Healthline. If your partner has postpartum depression, they will need your utmost support.

If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

Help your partner to understand what's really going on

Unfortunately, there is still a lot of stigma surrounding postpartum depression, which means that it's often not discussed as much as it should be. As a result, your partner may not be aware of what the condition actually is, let alone that they're experiencing it.


The first step in offering your support is helping your partner to recognize what's going on for themselves (via Health Partners). It can help to point out clear examples of how their personality or mood might have changed. Note that you shouldn't accuse them or diagnose them, but gently bring up instances that allow them to notice the change for themselves. While still being gentle and sensitive of their boundaries, let them know it's okay to talk about how they're really feeling and what they're going through.

Remind them that things will get better

As simple as it sounds, it can be immensely helpful to let your partner know that things will get better. Raising Children explains that this is one of the best forms of emotional support for someone with postpartum depression, as they might not be able to see a light at the end of the tunnel they feel stuck in. Sometimes, hearing reassurance that it will get better can make all the difference.


Also be there to provide the same reassurance when they experience setbacks in their recovery. Bad days will happen and healing is not a linear journey. Remind them that any obstacles they face are part of the process and don't necessarily mean they're going backwards.

Be there to listen

You won't always know what to say to your partner when they're experiencing a dark day. If you can't think of any words to make them feel better, just be there to listen to them.

The Everymom notes that your partner may not always open up to you when you want them to. Be there to listen when they do want to talk, and accept that sometimes they won't want to talk at all, and that's okay. The important thing is that they know you're there to support them when they need it, whatever that looks like.


Encourage them to seek help

According to the Office on Women's Health, the most effective treatment options for postpartum depression are therapy and medication. It's important that your partner seeks help so they can access one or both of these treatments as soon as they need them.


Speaking to Mamamade Food, midwife Tessa van der Vord advises partners of those with postpartum depression to "encourage the affected parent to seek help from their midwife, GP or health visitor if symptoms are ongoing."

You might also turn to family or friends that your partner is particularly close with. Fatherly explains that isolation tends to make postpartum depression worse, so if your partner is comfortable with it, reach out to your nearest and dearest for some extra support.

Be active around the house and in looking after your baby

Being overwhelmed by housework and childcare responsibilities can amplify the effects of postpartum depression. One of the best ways to support your partner is to make sure they're not lumped with a massive workload at home.


When it comes to practical ways to support your partner, you can clean and run the house, take their messages, and cook dinner (via Psychology Today). While your partner may be the primary caregiver, don't assume that looking after your baby is solely their responsibility.

It can be challenging to navigate your new roles as parents as you try to juggle work, family, and your relationship needs as well, and that's without the added trials of postpartum depression. The most important thing is to be patient with your partner as they find themselves again.