Tips for Looking After Your Partner's Mental Health After Giving Birth

Having a baby is a beautiful, life-affirming and life-changing experience, but it’s not without its challenges, especially when it comes to mental health. 

As the partner of somebody who has just given birth, your role is a pretty important one. Not only do you have to share the care of your newborn, you’ll also need to support your other half throughout what can be the trickiest trimester of them all – the fourth trimester. 

The process of becoming a mother is called matrescence and this refers to the physical and emotional changes your partner will go through. You’ve already guessed it, yep - it’s kind of a big deal, so it’s important to take care of each other, so you can navigate the transition together, as a new family. 

Tips for Supporting Your Partner After Giving Birth:

Provide Emotional Support

Becoming a mother is a rollercoaster ride of hormones and emotions, so buckle up, because you’re both set to experience the entire kaleidoscope! 

My advice is to always listen, be gentle, encouraging and reassuring. This is all new territory for the both of you, and patience is key. 

Check on her. When she’s up in the night with your baby, don’t snore on. Make sure she’s OK. Night feeds are a haunting time in those early days when everything feels like unchartered water, so, as much as you can, be in it together. 

Encourage Self Care

Your partner will need time to themselves, so it’s important you’re able to take the reins while she has a bath, goes for a stroll, or just needs a time out moment to herself.  Make sure you can afford her this space and probably the easiest way to be able to achieve this is by making sure you’re doing the next tip… 

Share the Load

Having a baby is a team effort and so is parenting. Make sure you’re sharing household chores and childcare duties. Not sure how to work the washing machine? It’s time to learn! Get involved with nappy changing, making up bottles, sterilising dummies… Be across everything there is to do, so you can share the load together. 

Stay Informed

Baby blues or postnatal depression? Educate yourself on this topic so you can recognise the signs and help your partner access the necessary support if/when needed. Always get in touch with your midwife, health visitor or GP if you have concerns. 

Baby struggling to latch? Dealing with reflux? There’s lots of help out there, from your midwife to local healthcare experts and support groups. Know who your health visitor is, and check back with your hospital if things don’t go to plan. 

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Tips for Taking Care of Yourself:

Prioritise Self-Care

Don’t forget to look after yourself too. Find time for a break – it’s not always possible, I know… I personally cannot bear the whole “sleep when the baby sleeps” advice, because that’s usually a time when you’re trying to get a wash on, or a bit of hoovering… Still, grabbing even just a few minutes here and there for a breather can make all the difference. 

Keep an eye on your own mental health. If you’re experiencing signs of anxiety or depression or you feel something isn’t quite right, get yourself help. Speak to your GP or Health Visitor and try not to put it off. If something isn’t right with you, it will have a domino effect on your whole family. 

Set Boundaries

Besides working together as a team, it’s important for you both as a family to set boundaries with friends and family. You do not need to have a welcome party waiting for you when you arrive home with your baby. It may be a few days or weeks before you feel open to seeing friends and family. That is A-OK. Do what feels right for you. 

Ask for Support

Lean on family and friends and professional help if you need it. If somebody’s offering to help, get them to batch cook a meal you can freeze. Handy with a hoover? Get them to run it around the house for you. It can be hard to take people up on favours, but now’s not the time to look a gift horse in the mouth. 

Stay Connected

Taking care of a newborn can feel really isolating at times, especially if you’re dealing with reflux and other issues that mean getting out of the house is hard. Find out where and when your local groups meet. Getting to know parents with babies of the same age is great for support. I’m still good friends with my NCT crowd, and even recently have found them to be my absolute rocks throughout some of the hardest of times of my life.

Once the dust has settled, reach out to family and friends and make plans – even if it’s a FaceTime call. Find support in other ways. Instagram and other social media platforms can be great for following others going through similar stages, although beware the smoke and mirrors! I recommend Rebecca Maberly’s account, @amotherplace for relatable, honest parenting content for those early months and years. 

Remember, the postpartum period is a time of immense change and adjustment for both you and your partner. By supporting each other and prioritising self-care, you can tackle the fourth trimester and beyond with love, patience, and resilience. But most of all, do your best to enjoy it. The early baby days will be exhausting, but they don’t last long. Nothing ever does.

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