Having a baby is a big adjustment for any relationship.
Babies mean sleepless nights, more responsibilities, new roles, and lack of
Now add to that postpartum mood and anxiety disorders and this can make it
even more challenging!
Today let’s talk about how you can keep your relationship strong
while recovering from this medical issue.
True! Around 20 % of mothers can
experience postpartum depression!
This is a very common medical issue that needs appropriate care
Left untreated, it can not only impact you but
your child and relationship.
If you are unsure if you have postpartum mood or anxiety disorder talk to a healthcare provider for a screening test.
True! Shocking, right? It is romanticized that having a
baby makes a couple even closer.
The reality is that:
66% of couples are not happy with
their relationship within the first 3 years after delivery!
20% of couples get separated in the first
False! Women with postpartum depression report more
marital dysfunction than women without.
Postpartum mood and anxiety disorder is a big
stressor on your relationship. This relationship dysfunction can
last long after you have recovered from postpartum
depression, not only affecting both of the partners but also your
Here are some ways postpartum depression and anxiety can be
challenging to a relationship:
Symptoms of irritability and rage.
These may be unknown or unexpected symptoms of postpartum
depression/anxiety. Usually, it is towards those closest to you
(like your partner).
Inability to communicate.
You may be not able to tell your partner what you are going
through, maybe due to the stigma you feel attached to postpartum
depression/anxiety. Your partner may not be able to talk to you for
fear of how it may make you feel.
Lack of awareness or
understanding. You or your partner may not be
aware or have an understanding of postpartum depression/ anxiety,
believing it will just go away. If you or your partner are not
aware of symptoms and signs of this common medical issue it can be
left untreated and left to add hardship to your relationship.
Loss of intimacy (physical and
emotional). Many women have symptoms of
fatigue, loss of interest in sex and feelings of guilt surround
depression and anxiety. These can all affect intimacy in a
Feelings of neglect. Taking
care of a baby takes up your time! You and your partner may feel
neglected as more attention is turned to the baby.
You need to take care of your relationship, just like you do with
Yes! Talk to it, Feed it, Swaddle it, Nurse it!
Of course, it is difficult with the demands of being a new parent and with
postpartum depression. But as is the case with any medical issue, when you
can take care of each other, that can give you both greater satisfaction in
Let‘s take a look at what you can do!
Talk to it!
Communicating what you are feeling is hard anytime but
it is even more challenging with postpartum depression.
Sometimes you may not know what you are feeling! This is
where tools you learn with a therapist may come in
handy. Also journaling your feelings first can help you
process them and formulate how you want to share them with your partner.
Creating a safe space and acknowledging your partner's feelings are an
important part of communications. Remember to use “I statements” to remove
“Is this a good time to talk?”
I am worried
I am scared
I feel resentful
I am concerned
I feel sad
Just like a swaddle supports your baby, support each other! Show concern
about how your partner is feeling. Allow a safe space for sharing difficult
Especially with depression, it can feel very isolating. But you are in this
together! You chose to form this partnership! Even if it is very hard for
you, it is also hard for your partner.
You may need to lean on your partner more at this time as you are
recovering, but also allow a little support on your end!
Feed your relationship with love and gratitude. Finding appreciation in
your partner may be difficult if you are feeling resentful, unseen and
unheard. But find at least one thing you are grateful for in each other
and verbally express this gratitude.
“Thank you for understanding”
“Thank you for being here”
“Thank you for helping while I recover”
If your baby is sick you would go to see a pediatrician. If your
relationship is suffering, seek counseling. Seeking counseling, together,
separate or both, is a helpful was to work through marriage difficulties
with postpartum depression. A therapist can give you the tools you need to
support your marriage through your recovery and to keep a strong
Remember that postpartum mood and anxiety disorders are
temporary! You can recover with support and treatment. Make sure
your relationship survives through these challenges. Be proactive
and get counseling to get the coaching and tools you
You both are in this together! Going through postpartum
depression may be challenging to a relationship, but it can also
strengthen your partnership.
Learning the skills to work together as a team,
especially when one partner is struggling with a medical issue can
make your relationship stronger than ever!
Remember MaternalWell has a licensed counselor that can help guide you
through these challenges. As always, reach out to our text support for any