Husbands’ False Beliefs About Postpartum Depression

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postpartum depression mythsI was looking for something in my library of postpartum depression books and came upon an interesting excerpt from Karen Kleiman’s book “The Postpartum Husband.” She lists beliefs some husband’s may have about their wives’ postpartum depression that are false. Does (did) your husband or partner have any of these?

These beliefs about postpartum depression are NOT TRUE:

  • Women who are depressed cannot function.
  • Women who are clinically depressed should always be in a hospital.
  • Women who have postpartum depression want to hurt their babies.
  • If my wife were really depressed, she would never be able to go to work and/or do as well as she’s doing.
  • If my wife were strong, she would be able to get through this without professional help.
  • If she takes medication for depression, she must be severely ill.
  • If she is depressed, she might really go crazy.
  • Depression is all in her head.
Even though he was really trying hard to understand and help, I imagine my husband may have had at least a couple of these thoughts running around in his head.
Photo credit: © Marek – Fotolia.com
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About Katherine Stone

is the founder & editor of Postpartum Progress. She was named one of the ten most influential mom bloggers of 2011, a WebMD Health Hero and one of the top 25 parent bloggers using social media for social good. She also writes the Fierce Blog, and a parenting column for Disney's Babble.com.

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  1. "If my wife were strong, she would be able to get through this without professional help." Yep. And my dad. And my best friend. And me.

  2. My husband was very supportive, as I think he knew something was wrong even without me saying anything. However, I am sure at least one of those crossed his mind at some point, just like it does anyone who has never dealt with PPD themselves. I know my mother-in-law told me it was all in my head, and to just think happy thoughts. My mom said she knew I was able to just talk myself out of it. People just do not understand.

    • You are so right that people don't understand. I never understood what anxiety was until I had PPA. It truly is hard to understand if you've never been there!

  3. It's not just husbands who may have these ideas. Most of the misconceptions are the reason it took me so long to recognize what I was feeling was PPD and not just me not being able to 'suck it up and cope with the change.'

  4. Heather herr says:

    Yep-my husband thinks those things!

  5. My mother in law was like this, but although my husband was not sure of the symptoms he was always understanding, and even took care of his infant son for 2 weeks while I was in hospital.

  6. My husband was confused by how well I did, I didn't sleep a lot (or much at all), I was hyper busy, etc. He kept saying, but when people are depressed, they don't get out of bed, they sleep a lot…it made me crazy to feel like I wasn't doing depression "right" by his standards.

  7. My husband has been behind me 100% of the way. i think what helped him was learning all he could about the illness. I'm sure that he had a lot of these thoughts as well but educating himself helped to clarify them.