Dads Need Support Through Postpartum Depression Too

[Editor’s Note: My husband had one more thing to add to our series last week from dads on postpartum depression: How important it is for dads to watch out for themselves, too. -Katherine]

Dads Need Support Through Postpartum Depression Too

I wrote a piece a couple of days ago focusing on the three things men should know and do about postpartum depression to help their wives or partners. Out of necessity, your primary objective will be to help your wife recover, recognizing what to do and how to get help.

One thing that I felt was lacking in my story though was any real discussion about the emotions involved for dads as they live through their wives’ postpartum depression.

Now if you’re not into talking about guys’ emotions, that’s cool. Respect. Go have a bourbon and soda; it’s all good.

But one thing I’ve never written about was just how scary that stuff was. For me. I’ve never shared how close it came to destroying our marriage. About how I gained 20 pounds from the nonstop stress of it all. It became the driving, all-consuming force in my life for a while. Not my new baby, not my wife, but that terrible disease. The support of my wife and getting through her postpartum OCD became everything my life was about, whether I was facing it or actively ignoring it.

The most scared that I’ve ever been—and I’ve fallen off of a building—was talking to my wife on the phone and realizing that I could do nothing, not one thing to reach her.  I told her, “It will get better, honey,” and she said, “How do you know?” And truthfully I didn’t know the answer at the time.

So you know, logically, to love and support her, protect her, and help her get professional help and peer support.  But what about you, the dad?  Don’t forget yourself and your own emotions. Going through this stuff is pretty traumatic, and you might be able to use a little support as well.

Based on my own experience, I strongly recommend talking with your own doctor or a counselor on your own because you will have to deal with the same emotions she will, including fear, anger and sadness. There’s no way around the fact that PPD will affect your experience with your new baby as well. You’ll need the decompression of talking to someone to be able to be at your best for your family. Also, you might try journaling because it can help you process things and even help you see your wife’s progress.

And when it’s over—and it will be over—I recommend some form of counseling together as a couple, just to reset and talk everything out.

And now that I got that out of my system, let’s talk about March Madness and scratch ourselves…

~ Frank Callis

About Katherine Stone

is the founder of Postpartum Progress. She has been named a WebMD Health Hero, one of the fiercest women in America by More magazine, and one of the top 20 Social Media Moms by Working Mother magazine. She is a survivor of postpartum OCD.

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  1. I really wished that my husband had someone to talk to. Sure he had his friends but the conversations would go something like this "Hey, so my wife is having a hard day. She threw a plate at me."…friend says "That sucks. Wanna beer. The Tigers are playing"

    Men…and I know I'm over generalizing this statment…just aren't talkers…mine isn't anyways…but he needed to. There were times when he would say "You have a psychiatrist. Who do I have?"…

    I hate that this illness sucks everyone into it.

  2. My husband and I ended up divorcing shortly after our son turned 1. I feel like I gradually got better, but sadly never even thought or asked how he was doing during the process. I was so focused on the disease and why I couldn’t just be a ‘normal’ mother. I really do think this needs to be talked about more so blinded people like myself can help them like they helped us.