Because the birth of a baby is highly anticipated, and expected to be a happy time, it is often difficult to recognise depression and anxiety symptoms. Monitor one another for withdrawal or change in mood. If your partner is acting out of character it may indicate that they are needing help adjusting to parenthood.
If you notice your partner is looking unhappy or displaying negative feelings, you may be wondering “Is my partner OK?”. Approach the topic in a caring and non-judgmental way:
“I’ve been noticing that you seem really down a lot lately, how are you feeling about things/yourself/the baby/parenthood?”
Use follow-up questions to determine how your partner is feeling:
“How are you doing?”
And if they say something like “I’m tired but I’m fine” ask,
“But how are you really feeling?”
If you are concerned, complete the Edinbugh Postnatal Depression Scale to help you identify whether you or your partner have symptoms that are common in parents with depression and anxiety during pregnancy and following childbirth.
Check out Mental Health First Aid for more information on how to support someone who is experiencing depression.
Perinatal mental health problems
In addition to depression and anxiety, it is important to be aware of the other mental health problems that men and women can experience during pregnancy and following childbirth. These include birth trauma and PTSD, psychosis, and bipolar disorder. Click the links to find out more.