Support for Dads

Put yourself on your to-do list.

Posted Sep 10, 2013

Why YOU need support, too

• Postpartum depression affects the whole family.

• Living with her depression will take its toll on you.

• Chances are good that her depression will deplete you of your resources. You’ll be on overload for a while — increase in childcare duties, increase in household duties, decrease in sleep, increase in worry and stress — only touches the tip of the iceberg!

• Do not underestimate the impact your wife’s symptoms and your extra duties will have on you.

• She needs you to take care of yourself.

Find the time to take care of yourself

• Sometimes it seems easier to keep going the way you’re going.

• Stop and think about whether you are taking care of yourself adequately:

     - Are you getting enough sleep?

     - Are you eating well?

     - Are you getting any exercise?

     - Are you overdoing anything?

     - Are you exhausted?

     - Are you irritable?

     - Are you getting sick more often?

• Try to pay attention to how you are feeling and what you can do to take care of yourself.

• Don’t put yourself on the bottom of the list of things to do. She needs you at your best right now.

Give yourself credit

• She is lucky to have you by her side.

• You are working very hard right now. Every day is hard.

• Accept the fact that some days you will not be at your best.

• Try not to blame her or yourself.

• Try to work in a break now and then.

A word of caution about comfort measures

• If you are vulnerable, in any way, to addictive or self-destructive behaviors, be especially careful.

• Alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, working longer hours, staying out late… some of these may sound appealing at times of stress.

• None of these is a productive coping strategy. They may feel soothing in the short run, but can prove disastrous if they are your only outlets.

• If you find you are relying on support from dangerous territory, step back and approach the situation honestly. Contact a support person or therapist to get you through this.

Excerpted from The Postpartum Husband, by Karen Kleiman

About the Author

Karen Kleiman, MSW, LCSW, is the founder and Director of The Postpartum Stress Center, a treatment and training center for prenatal and postpartum mood and anxiety disorders.

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