Postpartum Depression sucks.
Postpartum Depression can suck the life right out of Mama.
It can even suck the life out of the whole family.
It’s not something we can ignore, and we shouldn’t.
This one is for you husbands.
Normally I don’t address you directly. I talk to your wife as the mama of your baby/babies. But today I thought it was finally time I talked to you.
First off, I want to say, on behalf of all of us wives & mamas, I know it’s hard being married to a woman with postpartum depression. It’s confusing and frustrating. You just want everything back to normal and your smiling, excited, happy wife back. It’s so hard to always be the shoulder to cry on, the strong one, the one who has to have it all together.
I know all this because I’ve been the other half. I’ve lived in that crying, weak, falling apart woman. And I’ve lived with the man going through what you’re going through.
What PPD is and what it isn’t can help you understand a little better what’s going on inside her head.
But what do you do about it? How do you make it better? I know you
need like to fix things and I imagine it makes you feel like pulling your eyelashes out when you can’t. (Please don’t!)
There ARE ways you can help both of you get through this valley called Postpartum Depression.
#1 Realize it’s not your job to fix Postpartum Depression, and Postpartum Depression is not your fault
Postpartum Depression can cause a range of emotions – anger, extreme sadness, despair, nonstop crying, anxiety, fear, frustration, annoyance, outbursts and more. I know, all horrible things. Definitely not attractive, sweet things coming from the gentle, lovely woman you promised for better or for worse to. There probably are some marital issues you’re responsible for and need to address, but this postpartum depression is NOT your fault. Lets take blame out of the game right now.
#2 Know there are things you can do to help the Postpartum Depression
Even though it’s not your fault, there are ways that you can either help or hurt the situation. Learn your lady’s love language. Love covers a multitude of sins. Love can and has conquered all. In this difficult situation, love and showing more of it can be a huge, huge help – to both of you.
Sometimes she just needs you to drop what you’re doing, devote your (entire) attention to her and be the ear to listen to all her irrational, crazy thoughts/feelings/emotions. After that she probably needs the biggest, tightest, strongest hug you can muster.
Sometimes she needs you to take the baby and the responsibility of making him/her/them happy, do the diaper changes without complaining, make the supper she can’t bring herself to even figure out. And she needs to know you think her scarred, stretched out, hormone ravaged body is still attractive to you.
Maybe she needs you to buy her a single flower and card with a (handwritten) love note inside. Some nights she needs a back rub followed by a bubble bath while YOU hold down the fort.
Believe it or not, sometimes she needs touched and made love to. Other times she doesn’t need touched, and instead given a safe, quiet place she can go to relax. Then she needs you to lead devotions and/or heart-felt prayer for help and healing through this time.
She needs focused, quality time with you – no mindless staring at the TV while sitting on separate couches. Other times she needs to cuddle on the couch with you and mindlessly stare at the TV.
Sometimes it’s none of the above.
When you ask her, ‘how can I help you?’, do it when looking in her eyes, fully focused on her, and if at all possible, when touching. Understand: often she can’t even bring herself to let the things she needs come out of her mouth because with Postpartum Depression comes guilt. If you are being sincere, loving, truly concerned, you have a better shot than if she senses (even inaccurately) that you’re annoyed with her neediness.
I know it sounds confusing, and overwhelming, but remember, you know this woman. You are an intelligent, brilliant man, who she thought so much of that she made a baby with you. You CAN help in tangible ways, and sometimes just you TRYING can help her see a little clearer through the darkness to your effort. At that point, she can help you help her. Please don’t give up. Please, please keep trying. You guys are worth it and this time won’t last forever. It is a part of your lives, though, that can either help or hurt your marriage.
Your woman is still inside this woman.
#3 Realize nutritional imbalances can cause serious emotional/mental issues including postpartum depression
Anger, depression, anxiety can all come about from mineral deficiencies in the frontal lobe of the brain. Mood disorders have also been attributed to modern-day gluten, artificial sweeteners/ingredients, genetically modified ‘foods’ (GMOs), pesticides and sugar, to name a few. Deficiency of important vitamins like D, can cause body aches and pains, and depression. (Side note: If you suspect or confirm it is D deficiency, you need to make sure she’s getting enough Vitamin K2. You can find K2 in organic grass-fed animal products like egg yolks, butter, raw cheese, chicken liver and breast, or a high quality supplement).
Suggest you help her with meals. Unless cooking is something she still enjoys, I highly doubt she’ll turn you down. 😉
- healthy, grass-fed meats (including beef)
- organic veggies
- organic, ancient grains like:
Make sure you include lots of good fats like coconut oil and grass-fed butter.
You can also do:
- organic sweet potatoes
- organic blue/gold/red potatoes (these are simple carbs so do them sparingly and with lots of butter and protein)
- spaghetti squash
- sprouted lentils
- organic beans
Instead of sugary, processed foods for treats/desserts/breakfast, switch out the white sugar. Some great options are:
- local raw honey
- maple syrup
- maple sugar
- coconut sugar
- xylitol (this is a sugar alcohol, so it can cause digestive issues if used in excess)
- stevia (I hate the aftertaste. If you like it, go for it!)
Great options for flour, instead of modern, hybridized wheat (we love all of these):
There are some easy recipe ideas on my Real Recipes page.
When Healthcare is Needed
Finding a Nutrition Response Testing practitioner, Functional Medicine Doctor, or at least a clinical nutritionist or acupuncturist that uses muscle testing could seriously help. The wealth of information many of these healers possess could get to the root of your wife’s postpartum depression quickly and effectively.
I have had many physical health issues along with the PPD – adrenal fatigue, thyroid issues, mineral deficiency, kidney and liver problems. This testing was quite literally a life-saver for me (us). My NRT Doc got me on supplements like Tuna Omega 3 Oil, Orchex (minerals for the frontal lobe), Cataplex C (vitamin C for the adrenals), and Vitamin D3 with vitamin K2 drops.
Seriously, nutrition can change your wife from night to day. Sometimes it’s an immediate change, sometimes it’s gradual as her body recognizes it’s being given the nutrients it needs to heal and rebuild. Either way, nothing can take the place or importance of nutrition in regards to postpartum depression.#4 Pray, pray, pray, pray and then tell her you’re praying for her and then pray with/over her
God says where two or more are gathered together, there in the midst He will be with them. He answers the prayers of the righteous. He cares about His children and has the best in mind for them. Sometimes the best comes by going through the worst times (see the whole book of Job).
He teaches us through our trials. He can and will teach BOTH of you through this trial. Please let Him.
Dear husband of my fellow postpartum depressed mama, you are amazing.
You’ve already made it through pregnancy with your dearly beloved, and that can be tumultuous enough. I know this can be even worse, to a different degree.
But remember, you guys made at least one beautiful baby, and your beautiful baby/babies need BOTH of you, together.
You can do this.
You can be that knight in shining armor, even if she’s not acknowledging just how shiny your armor is right now. She will someday, and that day you’ll see how very worth it it was to stick to your vows and truly love your wife.
Until then, know that us women who have gone through this horrible thing called postpartum depression, we’re thankful for you and we’re rooting you on every step of the way.