Partners living with a woman who is experiencing postnatal depression (PND) are known to be at risk of developing depression themselves. There is often a sense of confusion and helplessness as the woman may inadvertently expect their partner to know exactly what to do and say in order to support her.
The relationship may become very stressed as the partner struggles to know how to support the woman’s intense needs and distress. The physical stressors may increase if the partner becomes the single wage earner, and also needs to take on more work within the home and care of the children.
Important decisions about the relationship should not be made until the depression has improved. Partners need to be supported by any support services and health professionals who may be treating the woman. It is helpful if partners understand the problem, and are advised as to what they can do to help.