The best day of your life is here. You are finally a dad and beaming with joy. But pause, and look closely. Is your wife feeling the same way? Of course she is happy, but did you notice the slight discomfort in her behavior.
Postpartum depression can arise anytime in the first 12 months after the baby is born and goes beyond two weeks. New mothers can experience a range of emotions, from extreme mood swings and sleepless nights to feelings of guilt and anxiety after the baby's birth.
Many experts cite hormonal changes as the reason for these experiences. However, American anthropologist and researcher Edward Hagen has a different point of view. According to Hagen, these feelings arise mainly due to lack of support from the partner.
A few weeks of empathy on your part and she will be back to being the sunshine of your life and your baby's too. Here's how:
1. Talk to her:
Let her know that you've been observing her restlessness and want to know if anything's bothering her. The fact that she didn't have to tell you about this and you noticed it yourself will make a huge difference.
2. Not her fault:
Remind her that her feelings are normal and quite expected and it can happen to about 20 per cent of new mothers worldwide. Keep telling her that you and the baby both love her and that this is just a phase and will pass soon.
3. Take a break:
Take a few days off from work. Help her with the housework and most importantly play an active role in childcare. This way she knows you care and that she is not the only one responsible for everything in the house.
4. Spend time with her:
Leave the baby for some time under the care of a trusted family member. Do things that both of you enjoy doing together. If she is resistant to going out, you could do something fun at home. Play a board game, cook a meal together or watch her favourite movie.
5. Get professional help:
Don't delay it. Studies suggest that early diagnosis and treatment help mothers recuperate faster.