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Post-natal depression: how can I get my husband to understand?

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At first, it will be difficult for your husband to understand your condition. It is important that he realises how big an impact it has on you as a couple and how it affects your child. Chances are he will be confused, angry and at a loss over what action to take. After all, he is also new at being a parent and probably had different expectations from the experience. As a partner you may, in essence, be “lost” to him. You will need to engage him in your recovery process. Here are a few ways he can help you out:
 
The first step is to talk to your husband about your illness. Explain that it is real and that you are getting treatment for it. Use literature from your doctor or psychiatrist to aid you with this. Tell your husband how he can give you support through this difficult time. If it is possible, get him to join you when you get your treatment from a professional.
 
Your husband needs to know exactly what you want when you ask for help or support. Be very direct, don't expect him to guess or use intuition. This will only lead to disappointment and anger. Tell him instead what you want him to do in certain situations and what to avoid doing. Explain that sometimes you just need him to listen to you or to hold you. Let him know that you need reassurance that he is committed to you, despite the difficulties.
 
Tell your husband that he can't cure you and that you know it is frustrating for him. Convince him that giving continued support is the best thing he can do. He has to know that the more effort he puts into helping you, the quicker you will be better.
 
You need to support each other and work together to overcome post-natal depression. This condition is a big strain on your relationship, so honesty and good communication is needed. If your husband is unable to help you, or does not fully grasp how the condition affects you, do not hesitate to seek help from family members, support groups, or friends.
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The information contained on MummyPages is not a substitute for examination, diagnosis or treatment by a qualified medical professional. If in doubt, always consult your doctor.

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