How are you feeling?

It is highly likely that over the past few weeks and months since your baby arrived there has been no shortage of friends, family, midwives and GPs asking, “How are you Mum?”  As part of routine postnatal care and support new mothers are routinely screened for mental health worries and there is a wealth of support that can be offered.

But… what about partners?  Aren’t they new parents too?  It is only very recently that fathers, partners and other family members of Mums being supported by perinatal mental health services are being screened and offered support if needed.

Becoming a parent is a life changing event for everyone be they man or woman and it is important that everyone is supported as they make the transition to parenthood.  Partners can feel increased pressure to hide any feelings of anxiety or depression for fear it will worry Mum who may be navigating her own emotions.

It is now widely acknowledged that at least 1 in 10 men or partners will suffer with postnatal depression (PND).  You or another family member may notice changes in behaviour, an increase in alcohol use, changes in food intake or exercise regimes, short temper,  quiet or withdrawn behaviour.  If so, encourage that person to talk about how they are feeling.

The transition for both of you whether this is your first or subsequent child can not be underestimated and is worth regular check-ins with each other.  Here are our top tips for supporting each other during what can be one of life’s most wonderful, yet overwhelming times of your life:

Before baby arrives

Spend time before baby arrives considering what some of the challenges you could face may be.  Parents love our amazing classes accessible through or site, Let’s Talk Birth and Baby.  The Wellbeing Workshop explores many, many topics and discusses case studies to help you think about the road ahead and how you may navigate the odd bump in the road.  Everything from Grandparents to nights out without the kids is discussed and will give you a great foundation from which to start or continue your parenting journey.  Click here for more information.

Make time for each other

A rookie mistake is putting 100% of your time and energy into caring for your new baby and forgetting about each other.  Obviously in those first few weeks, whilst you are learning all about nappies, feeding, sleep cycles and the colour of poo, there is little time for anything else.  However, the dust will settle and, once you find your feet, it is so important that you find a little time to reconnect with each other.  Turn the TV off every couple of weeks and have a chat.  Check in with each other to see how everyone is getting on!  Remember before your new baby came along it was just the two of you and, although is all seems a long way off, before you know it they will have flown the nest and it will be just the two of you again.

Talk to each other

Trying to second guess what the other may be thinking can be exhausting and send our minds off in totally the wrong direction.  If your partner has become unusually quiet but insists that all is OK, gently remind them that by not telling you what is wrong they are causing more worry than they are preventing. A problem shared is far better than a problem bottled up. 

Accept help

Speaking with your GP or midwife about how you are feeling is a great place to start when seeking support.  In addition there is now a wealth of organisation offering support both locally an online.  The Hub of Hope is a great resource which lists all the support available in your area.