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You, Me, and PMD - The Impact of Perinatal Mood Disorders On Your Relationship

posted Aug 31, 2014, 7:59 PM by AndrewandSarah Witzel   [ updated Sep 1, 2014, 9:47 PM ]
Having a new baby can be a challenge for any couple, but dealing with a perinatal mood disorder can strain a relationship beyond the normal growing pains of new parenthood. Some women feel very supported by their partners and actually report that their relationships become stronger. For many couples though, it can be a time of mutual frustration, anger, and tension. Here are a couple essential tools to surviving a perinatal mood disorder together. 

Education - The more partners know about perinatal mood disorders, the better equipped they are to support and help. Reading books, websites, or attending a support group with you may be useful. The Postpartum Husband is a helpful and informative book by postpartum depression expert Karen Kleiman.

Counselling - You definitely do not need to be on the brink of separation to benefit from counseling to strengthen your relationship. If you are seeing a counselor individually, he or she will likely be able to book a session to see the two of you together. Another relevant book by Karen Kleiman is Tokens of Affection: Reclaiming your Marriage After Postpartum Depression.

Support - Your partner will likely need support independent of the support that you receive. Remember that depression can also occur in new fathers - one study showed an incidence of depression in up to 25% of fathers in the first year. This incidence increases to up to 50% when the mother has postpartum depression. Note also that men may show symptoms of depression differently than women. For example, instead of increased tearfulness, men may become socially withdrawn, angry, or irritable.

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