Post Partum Depression: Information for husbands and families

  • Tell her you know she feels terrible.
  • Tell her she will get better.
  • Tell her she is doing all the right things to get better (therapy, medication, etc.).
  • Tell her she can still be a good mother and feel terrible.
  • Tell her it's okay to make mistakes, she doesn't have to do everything perfectly.
  • Tell her you know how hard she's working at this right now.
  • Tell her to let you know what she needs you to do to help.
  • Tell her you know she's doing the best she can.
  • Tell her you love her.
  • Tell her your baby will be fine.

What NOT to say

  • Do not tell her she should get over this.
  • Do not tell her you are tired of her feeling this way.
  • Do not tell her this should be the happiest time of her life.
  • Do not tell her you liked her better the way she was before.
  • Do not tell her she'll snap out of this.
  • Do not tell her she would feel better if only: she were working, she were not working, she got out of the house more, stayed home more, etc.
  • Do not tell her she should lose weight, color her hair, buy new clothes, etc.
  • Do not tell her all new mothers feel this way.
  • Do not tell her this is just a phase.
  • Do not tell her if she wanted a baby, this is what she has to go through.
  • Do not tell her you know she's strong enough to get through this on her own and she doesn't need help.

Things you should know about her treatment

  • Good therapy can be expensive. But expensive therapy isn't always good.
  • Getting help for your wife has to be the priority here. If you are more worried about how much it costs, she will stay sick longer.
  • Her illness is real. She needs treatment.

So, how do you know if her therapist or doctor is good? Ask yourself these questions:

  • Did you feel comfortable with this person? (Yes, you should attend a session).
  • Does your wife like him/her? (This is more important than you might think. Connecting with this person is half the battle)
  • How does your wife feel about her sessions?
  • Does she think it's helping?
  • Does she feel good about going?
  • Does she trust this person and feel comfortable talking?

Try to find someone who works short-term and focuses on the here-and-now, rather than issues from the past. These issues are important, but not necessarily productive at the outset, when we want to manage symptoms.

The cost of treatment is a very real concern. But so is her staying sick, isn't it? Please do not let the financial issues get in the way of her getting the help she needs. There are options. Sliding scales. Insurance plans. Payment schedules. Bringing up your worries about the money can actually sabotage her recovery by making her feel guilty. Be careful how you do that.

Encourage your wife to discuss any financial concerns with her therapist. Contact your insurance company. Depending on your particular plan, find out whether you need a referral from your primary and if so, try to find a therapist who is a provider for your network. If not, find out whether or not they reimburse this particular therapist. Most insurance companies will ask you the therapist's credentials to determine reimbursement. If the therapist is not covered at all, find out what arrangement can be made.

Yes, you should go to a session with her. Some women like their husbands to join them for the first one. Others prefer their husbands wait until a relationship has been established with the therapist. Ask your wife if she'd like you to go with her and when. Then do it.

You are going for a few reasons: