As June comes to a close and we celebrate Father’s Day, it is important to remember how important partners, caregivers, and fathers are during the pre and postpartum process. Becoming a parent is a life-changing experience for everyone. Throughout the pregnancy, a partner is critical in providing support to the mother. However, after the birth of the child, the partner’s role completely changes because they are now able to take care of the child and build a relationship with them. While postpartum can be a very exciting time for parents, it can also be quite overwhelming and stressful for both parents. This time of great transition can be challenging but it is possible and can make a relationship stronger than ever!
Many research studies have shown how important partner support is during and after pregnancy. One study found that higher quality and more supportive partner relationships resulted in improved mother and infant well-being after delivery (Stapelton, 2012). Another study found that partner support during pre and postpartum resulted in lower anxiety rates, less depression, higher self-esteem, and more time spend with their child (Ledbetter, CD). Partner support is a very important part of the perinatal journey.
With this, it is essential that your partner feels supported throughout their pregnancy and postpartum months. Having open and honest conversations with your partner about expectations and needs can be an effective way to figure out how to best support your partner during this time. Whether it is feeding the baby in the middle of the night or changing more diapers, try and be open to any suggestions that your partner might have.
Some women might struggle with postpartum depression, anxiety, or irritability after the birth of their child. As a partner, it is good to learn any warning signs that might show that your partner is struggling. If you notice that your partner is excessively crying, having difficulty bonding with your baby, feeling withdrawn, not eating or sleeping, restless, or hopeless, these might be signs of postpartum depression. If these symptoms occur for longer than two weeks or are getting worse with time, it is important to go to a doctor and get the help that your partner needs (Mayo Clinic. 2022. Postpartum depression). You can call your primary care provider or in the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or use their webchat on suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat. Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
Postpartum can be overwhelming but there is always help out there. For example, you can join a Dad Support Group, Chat with a Fatherhood Expert, or connect with a Specialized Coordinator. Finally, there is a Facebook group to meet postpartum partners. You can also call the Postpartum Support Center Peer Support Line (call/text) at (415) 320-6707.
Mothers and their Partners Matter.