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 –
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About Katherine Stone

is the creator of this blog, and the founder and executive director 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 15 most influential patient advocates to follow. She is a survivor of postpartum OCD.

Tell Us What You Think


  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.

  8. Today he just said “happiness is a choice” and that i can just choose to be happy. Voila.
    Silly me, If I’d known it was just that simple I could have been better months ago.

  9. That last post hits the nail on the head for me. I’m just starting to accept that I think I have PPD and hubby said today. That “it was false advertising when he met me 6 years ago” (referring to a photo of me looking happy) thanks!! 2 pregnancies, 2 traumatic births and 2 children under 2 (23 months and 15 weeks) and he thinks comments like that help. He also says we CHOOSE to be happy. Oh ok, because I’ve chosen to feel like this have I? It’s that simple, so many women must choose to be miserable and feel this way after birth.
    Unless you feel this way no one understands.

    • Charlie
      Oh how I completely understand what you are saying! My husband has said the same thing to me. Im still pregnant, due Dec 23. He says” what happened to the woman I knew years ago. What is wrong with you now?” Or my most favorite phrase of all:” You arent the first woman to get pregnant in this world”
      Wow well lets see, this is an unplanned pregnancy and it is my 6th child. ( his third and our second together) I am about to be 40 and hes 3 years younger. This is way hard physically on me and I am high risk. We have three small daughters at home and he is not working.Even when he was working it was a total joke as he is uneducated with a record and never brought home more than 300 in a week. I am going to school and we are living off my student aid and whats left of a savings account. Its just so hard and he just completely pushes my feelings aside, refusing to acknowledge them. I didnt want to spend more money, but I had to get proactive.Since Im due so close to Christmas I know I will need extra help. I went and hired a doula to be with me at the hospital for support. This will def be at least 500 dollars well spent. I dont want to just depend on him to be there and not know if hes going to just sleep or keep leaving the room when Im giving birth. I need a constant and a supporter. I had to do something for myself. I am really nervous about getting postpartum depression once the baby is born. I had it in 1995 when my first son was born and that story ended in disaster with me losing custody to my then husband and his parents and absolutely zero bond being established between my son and I. I only spent time with him for the first time in May – he came to stay bc his grandma threw him out. Of course I took him in not knowing the whole story till she called to tell me. He was on drugs and had a warrant and needed a lawyer. So I spent money to fix his legal prob but he would not stop the drugs so after a week of him living here, I had to throw him out of my home. I was not willing to have my small kids exposed to that. I am not a rehab center and so his grandma took him back. It was hard to do but I feel as if I at least have closure on that part of my life though. Im just terribly afraid I dont want to have the PPD again now after the birth of this little girl. Bc this husband is really not supportive and I have no family or friends here in this state. I will be looking into support groups offline bc I will def need the emotional support

      • Heather King says:

        You will need the support and I hope you find what you’re looking for–we have a list of providers by area on our website, in case you haven’t seen it. There is also a list of support groups –

        I’m sorry you’re going through so much right now and have in the past. It’s so good of you to be thinking through this and preparing for the possibility of ppd. You are a strong mama. Hang in there.