View Full Version : Pre-emptive advice for PPD coping
11-20-2009, 03:23 PM
I'm the father, the mom is about two months away. She's in pretty good spirits these days considering but has a long history of depression. Fortunately she is seeing a therapist beginning next week that specializes in depression and pregnancy. Right now she has a lot of issues she needs to sort out regarding her family especially. Her dad doesn't know, her mom and sister aren't very supportive and the relationship she has with her family is very strained to begin with (for starters she speaks to her mom in deliberate broken English and her mom speaks back in deliberate broken Korean which itself is a pretty good indicator of a broken relationship). I listen to her when she talks about how sad it makes her that she doesn't have the support from her mom she feels she deserves and that other people have. I tell her I love her, she has my support and my empathy but that I really just don't know what to say. So I encouraged her to see a therapist and I'm glad that she has now agreed to.
But I'm very concerned about post-partum. She very much wants a natural birth but there may be complications that could end up with us having a hospital birth (instead of a water birth at the birthing center which is our ideal) and I know that these sort of things further add to PPD often because the mother feels she somehow failed or didn't live up to expectations or that she didn't have the fulfilling birth experience she had expected. Of course I'm hoping for everything to go as perfectly well as can be expected (I've been to enough classes by now I do know NOTHING goes exactly as planned).
Mostly my point in posting this is for advice on what I can do to help her, and to recognize any symptoms or what to be concerned about and what not to. I do know when she's "feeling blue" she wears it visibly. When she gets in a depressed state she often withdraws and often doesn't want the be touched which goes against my own instinct to want to hold and hug her. Right now she gladly accepts my physical affection when she's feeling blue, especially when her mom calls (she doesn't answer, it still makes her blue) and when she thinks about her own childhood. But I remember many times before she was pregnant when she's angrily snapped at me with a pointed "don't touch me" command.
I hope and pray she doesn't go into a bad funk, but I am worried she may be the type to get severe PPD or even PPP (Post Partum Psychosis) so I'm trying to get any and all advice I can for what I can do now so I'm better prepared to cope with it should the need arise in a couple months.
If you suffered PPD what helped you? If you know any good books or articles on the subject, etc.
I am also considering scheduling a session with her therapist myself not to specifically discuss her of course (her confidentiality with the therapist should obviously be maintained) but for coping with my own feelings and ways I can help.
So any advice or comments or experiences welcomed. Thanks.
11-23-2009, 02:58 PM
I comend you for noticing the behavior and for taking the proactive role. That is the first step and will benefit you after the baby is born. As a person who has suffered from depression in the past and due with my first in January I can see your concern. I think talking to her therapist or one in the same practice about your own concerns is a good idea. If your birth plan doesn't go according to how you want it, it will be important to keep the reassurance up that she didn't fail you still have your beautiful baby and she carried that baby just as nature intended. You may want to mention your concern at the next doctors appointment (not while she is in the room) just so the doctor can keep an eye on her as well and when it gets closer for her to deliver, talk to her about back up birthing plans. Sometime being prepared can help take the edge off. Try talking with her more about the pregnancy, engaging in the pregnancy rubbing her belly, talking to the baby laying your head in her lap to be closer to the baby that kind of thing. If any of her friends are close by, having them be really involved helps too. Just to know there is support outside the home helps me at least when I feel sad.
I don't know if this helps or not but good luck and it sounds like she has a wonderful man at home who cares alot about her.
11-24-2009, 03:09 PM
Thanks for the input. Our midwife is aware and she actually recommended the therapist that my partner saw yesterday. The therapist specializes in depression and pregnancy and the appointment went well. She brought home a video for us to watch and said it made her feel more hopeful. She didn't go into much detail about what they talked about but I know she mentioned to the therapist that she's not answering her mom's phone calls because they stress her out.
Yeah I talk to our little dude in the womb. She seems to appreciate that, and holding her tummy and feeling the kicks.
Unfortunately she doesn't have a lot of friends she sees often anymore. Her best female friend is a single mom with two kids of her own and most of her other friends are guys so there's not much support. A lot of the "significant others" of my own friends want to help her but she doesn't really know them and she's shy and reluctant to meet them. Hopefully she will open up a bit because we can use any help we can, but having a bit of social anxiety myself I can totally understand how she feels.
Our birthing center is really good about reinforcing that while a natural birth at the center is the ultimate goal, if we have to transfer to a hospital we should never see that as a failure and she should never feel that she somehow failed to live up to expectations (mostly her own). Our midwife sometimes strikes me as a marine corp drill instructor type but now that we're getting to know her better we're learning to appreciate that and all the student midwives are all super nice and friendly so I feel good we have a good birthing center that will be her advocate and go with her even if she does need to transfer to a hospital.
I'm really happy the therapist seems to be a good find and helpful. I'm just trying to show her I care and I love her and I love our son and I'll do everything I can to take care of both of them. We've come a long way in (re-)building our relationship during the past several months and I'm extremely grateful to her for her changed attitude toward me, and I've told her this. She said "well, I guess I realized that I don't need to worry about going through what my mom went through and you've shown me that you care and you want to be responsible and you want to be a great dad" I'm very happy that she finally saw that. I'm also grateful to God* in whatever form s/he takes in answering my prayers* in whatever form they take and helping us come together in this partnership.
So things are looking positive and I'll just keep hoping and praying* for the best and doing what I can to support her. Still curious in any good info from books/articles if anyone has any recommendations so as to be best prepared, and hope that I never need to use the advice :-)
12-01-2009, 10:40 PM
I think you're doing a good job of being keyed in to her issues prior to the birth of your child. I am currently suffering from PPD, and I am lucky to have a partner who is very sensitive to my trials. These are some suggestions I have for you:
1. Let her know that she can tell you anything that she's feeling. Tell her that you won't judge her. PPD thoughts can be really scary, but I think it's worse to keep them bottled up. I think it's great that she's seeing a therapist, and I hope she continues that after delivery, but it's nice to know that she can be open with you, too.
2. Help her have time for herself. Encourage this time to be spent doing something that makes her happy. For me this is exercise, taking a bath or sewing.
3. Work with her to get the baby on a schedule. Once my DD was on a fairly predictable schedule, I felt that life was not so chaotic. Of course, a lot of this depends on your baby, but it's good to start observing the baby's patterns of sleep and feeding to see if a schedule naturally emerges.
4. Help her get some extra sleep. Depression can worsen when you're lacking on sleep, which is bound to happen with an infant.
5. Compliment her on a good job of parenting. It's nice to have a sense of value in your new role and feel that you're doing something positive.
I don't know if this helps at all. The real turning point for me was getting more sleep and getting on Zoloft. I actually regret not getting on medication earlier - I think I would have been able to be more present for my daughter months sooner than I was.
Good luck to you and your baby's mother. Feel free to message me with any questions or concerns.
12-21-2009, 11:14 PM
Aquarius68, If you're checking this I would love to know how it is going, and see if you have taken the advice of anyone on here.
I will be totally honest and say that when I delivered my dd almost 2 yrs ago,I did go through a bout of depression. My husband told my ob and I had a "follow-up." My Ob asked me how things were going, and told me to be honest about everything, I broke down crying and sat in that office for an hr and a half with my dr explaining how everything was really going! I didn't actually have PPD, but I was depressed because of personal issues I was having with my parents not taking any action in my new child's life. Believe it or not, she won't know she has PPD or not. After talking with my dr he explained that even just talking to someone once a week about the things going on, and being able to vent would help me immensly. So I saw my family therapist the next week for every week throughout my dd's 1st yr of life. When my dr would call to cancel or I couldn't make it, it was like things would start pilling on my shoulders again, so it definitely helped immensly.
Something I did after delivering our daughter, was join a mother's group, because being in a new position in life can be terribly overwhelming, even though you know you're going to be a great parent no matter what. The only support I had was my husband and my friends that I could only get in contact with over the phone. Joining a mothers group is a great way for her to get out of the house and meet other moms who are going through the same feelings as her. I do want to offer the best advice I have and if you are willing to listen or ask more questions I will be happy to answer anything! After looking back at all the hell I put my husband through during our first baby's birth, I can't imagine how many times he thought, OMG my wife is crazy!
Def. please give her time to do things when the baby comes, even just giving her an hr or so a week to go grocery shopping without the newest addition will help her. Let her do a dinner night every two weeks with a g/f, to get her out of the house. Being "caged in a house" with a newborn is terribly bad for a new mom with any type of depression. Take it from me, because I went through it all!
Be prepared, if she is going to be a SAHM (stay at home mom) for being put down about being a bad parent. She may say mean things, but perhaps when she says stuff like that, you offer up a come back like "then how do I do it?" or "why don't you give me 3 things you want me to definitely do everyday, that way you can get some help when I get home from work?" or even, "I want to help, but you make it look so easy, that I get overwhelmed." When you show your wife that you know what she is doing is amazing, and that you really appreciate her hard work, she will start to lay off. Just make sure you're buttering it on, lol, it really does work. You'd be surprised at how many times you can tell your wife in one afternoon home from work, "you amaze me as a mother," or "You're such a great mom" that she won't even realize you're saying it over and over, because she'll love to hear it THAT much!
Other things you can do to help:
1. If she's doing the cooking at home, just calling her and letting her know not to worry about it, that you will pick up take out, will give her a few extra minutes to herself.
2. Offering her 30minutes directly when you get home from work, that she can have to herself, not having to talk, touch the baby, or do any work will give her a feeling of satisfaction after being with the baby all day by herself.
3. offer to give her 30 minutes after her free time when you get home from work, for her to take a bath or shower. You wouldn't believe how much a new mom will miss showering because 9times out of 10 when she's home with the baby, the baby will wake up or start fussing right after she gets in that shower or bath!
4. Maybe get her a gym membership and let her go a few times a week, or make a schedule where you both take turns going every other day, will let her know that you want her to feel good about her body image.
If she is seeing a therapist, NEVER, expect her to talk to you about her sessions. They're actually very personal, and don't worry, she's probably not talking about you. Like your wife, I had, and still have major issues with both of my parents, which is why I became so depressed after having my daughter. They were never around, nor did they show any interest in their new grandchild. It was a hard time for me.
Good luck, and feel free to keep us in the "loop!"
02-07-2010, 02:59 PM
My last baby I suffered from PPD, and a freind told me about getting a baby nurse to ease my transition into parenthood. I found it to have been a huge help since it relieved the burden from me. She took great care of my baby and also offered me words of hope.... I have heard that not all baby nurses will be as helpful so excess caution! (I got mine through an agency, here is the link http://www.caringbabynurses.com ) In retrospect, I feel I was not properly prepared to care for a newborn...
Hope I have been helpful
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