7 ways to help your partner struggling with PND

Emily, my wife, was an energetic, optimistic, successful woman. She loved meeting new people, taking on new challenges, and helping others.But that all changed a few months after the birth of our son. Unfortunately she was the 1 in 5 that struggled with Post-Natal Depression. In her case it also came with anxiety. It was a tough time for her, but it was also a tough time for me.

Luckily she is now recovered, but it got me thinking – what would I have wanted to know at the start of our PND journey to make it better. Obviously everyone’s experience is different, but for me I’d love to have known the following:

1) Don’t take it personally – sometimes it was difficult to hear that “life isn’t worth it” or “I just want to run away”. It feels like a personal attack on your – that you’re no longer good enough, you’re doing a bad job. But you are doing great. It’s the depression talking. Try to remain calm and don’t let it affect you.

2) Give her some “me” time – take the baby out so she can paint her nails, suggest she goes for a run (careful with that one 😉 but exercise is great to lift the mood!), buy her favourite magazine and giver her time to read it etc.

3) Encourage her to meet new mums for support during the day. If your partner is anything like Emily was, she will have reduced her life to a select friend or two, or will just live life at home. But it’s important to get out and about – for fresh air – and to talk to adults. www.mummylinks.com is a great way of doing this as it enables mums to create local, ad-hoc play dates securely (it’s invite/approval only) Being ad-hoc is great for mums suffering with PND as they can create something last minute when they know they are feeling up for popping out, or if they want to meet up quickly.

4) Do date nights – it’s important to keep your relationship going and to try and have a life away from baby. Yes this won’t be as often as before baby – but try to schedule something in at least once a month. If you can get out of the house that’s ideal, but if not – order your favourite take away, chat about life, and watch her favourite film.

5) Help with practical things – washing up, cooking, washing clothes etc. PND can make everything seem overwhelming, so taking a few “to-dos” off the list helps.

6) Do some research – PND and other mental health issues are still not well understood by most people. So do some research to find out more. This video has three women talking with brutal honesty about PND. It may well be how your partner feels, and she may not feel comfortable even telling you this. It also shows just how common it is.

7) Find someone to talk to – 50% of men whose partners are suffering with PND also suffer. So it’s important you find someone you can offload on as – for the timebeing your partner won’t be able to cope with this. As men this can be tricky, but it’s really important that you keep yourself well to look after your family. Speak to a trusted friend, family member, or even your GP.

“If your a dad with a partner with PND and need other dads to talk to or maybe you are suffering to please Join the PND daddies hour Monday 8-9pm use the #PNDdaddies to join on – The PND daddy”

Dan – Partner of Emily

Dear Dad, You did Good – Becky 

Dear Dad,

I remember those tablets you used to have, the ones you didn’t want me to see you take. I remember your mood swings. I remember when you were tired and stayed in bed. I remember when you used to go for long walks and I’d worry where you were. I remember feeling your pain. I remember being worried. This all happened in my early childhood. But what are my earliest childhood memories? What do I think about when I think of this time together?

I have memories of laughter, of silliness, of building, running, dancing, playing, colouring and singing together. I remember you working a long shift to come home and play dolls with me when you looked like you needed to sleep. I have memories of trust and love for you. I remember the excitement I had to see you come home. We had so many special moments, things that are only ours; nicknames, phrases, songs, movies, jokes and more… There are memories of cuddles and conversation, of bedtime stories and places we visited. I’ve lost count of how many times a day I heard you say you loved me or were proud of me. Those are my childhood memories.

You see I didn’t know you were struggling with depression back then. I didn’t know the reasons behind the frustration and anger I could sometimes sense in you; anger and frustration that you never showed towards me, then or at any point. I look back now and realise the times you looked lost, the times you looked pained or teary. I can see how much effort the smallest things must have taken. Now I too have fought depression I understand everything. I can see the same actions and emotions that you displayed that I have done so myself. I know what it’s like to feel a burden to loved ones and not want to upset them with your own struggles and negative feelings. I know the power of cuddles and laughter and why they happened daily even though you must have felt numb inside like I have done. I know what it’s like to want to be alone. I know now that you will have worried if you were upsetting me, ruining my fun, not being a good enough dad. But that’s the whole point. I am your daughter, you are my dad. That is all I needed from you. I needed you to be dad and you were.

After working with children I know the unconditional love that a young child has for their parents. Even parents that I looked at and thought ‘you’re child deserves better.’ In their child’s eyes they were still god-like heroes. They are all they know and with this in mind simply being there to love and care for them puts you in the very top spot of their heart. But you did more than just be there. You did more than just be a biological father. That’s why you need to know this… 

I loved my childhood. I loved the way you always have been with me. I have always at every point of my life had love, admiration, respect and trust in you. You have always been the reason I laugh so much, why I take myself so lightly and why I learnt to be calm, respectful and caring. You have always given me a sense of pride and achievement in our relationship and in myself. I have always been proud of you. You were the best comedian, teacher, singer, guitarist, artist and much more because I saw you as amazing. 

I didn’t understand back then that you were depressed. All I knew is that you were my hero and my best friend. Now that I know now I see you as even more of a hero. You were struggling but you did your best for me. No matter what you had to deal with you put me first. Yes you were grumpy and moody and at times didn’t want to play but all dads do that. Even the dads with the easiest and happiest of lives, in fact some of those don’t try their hardest to play, to laugh, to pay attention, what’s their excuse! But you didn’t use depression as a reason or excuse to not be there, you just tried your best. That’s all any child wants, a dad that tries to do right by them. You don’t have to be perfect, you don’t have to always be strong and you don’t have to always get it right. Make mistakes. In fact your very weaknesses taught me compassion, sympathy, empathy. They taught me to care. They taught me to give hugs and do nice things for people. I learnt from you how important it is to make others smile, the way you made me smile. Your mistakes made me see you were human. I didn’t judge you on them or hold them against you.

I can see now that I was your strength, the reason you got up on a morning, the reason you worked so hard to keep your job, the reason you put yourself second and the reason you kept going. I am ever grateful and honoured to have been loved so much that I gave you that strength and hope.

Mental illness may have affected you but it wasn’t you. Mental illness is not your personality, it is not your values, it is not your mood; it is an illness. For every depressed dad out there you have a right to recover and take care of yourself for your own sake. You are ill and your focus is to get better. You have a little one that believes in you, that loves you and needs you. Make them the reason you carry on. If you ever feel that you can’t do it for yourself then do it for them. You are their whole world and they will forgive any moments you felt like you weren’t ‘being dad enough.’ You may feel as though they are missing out but you are teaching them what life is all about. Teach them that dads cry, dads struggle, dads need help, dads need a hug and dads can become sick but that doesn’t stop the love they have for their child. It takes a real man to do that. In fact it takes a real dad.

Your Proud Daughter


Twitter: ‪@n_j_d_blog

Creator of: http://notjustdepressed.blogspot.co.uk

From Lad to Dad: No one is prepared for the change. – Daddy Poppins

I used to be a boisterous young fella, and when I say boisterous. I mean Boisterous (with a capital B and bold print). I drank too much and was the life and soul of the party. I lived for the weekend, all my money went on ‘entertainment’. I didn’t save or plan for the future. Life was lived day to day and I’m sure my now wife questioned if I’d ever settle down. We met at age 17 and 18 and grew (and partied) through this time together. 

Then about 12 years ago (as 30 was fast approaching) we sat down and had a big heart to heart. What did we want from life? What was our future plan? Did I see myself working in a call centre or a pub as an older man, scrimping from pay check to pay check? (Basically, would we ever settle down and were our plans compatible?). The cards were laid on the table and I said I’d love to be a Dad. That at the back of my mind I always wanted security and a family (but with our ‘party party’ lifestyle this wasn’t obvious).

With our plan in place; we bought a house together and I started a respectable job in auctioneering. We got married soon after. We were grown-ups, or so we thought. Although, in reality, not much had changed on the partying front even if the ‘family foundations’ had been laid. 


Then the time came and we decided to try for a baby. Now I’d settled down a tad at this stage, well, settled down in comparison to 18-year-old me that is. My wife was ready though (in full on ‘now is the time to have a baby mode’).


I was ready to bite the bullet and commit to this. I felt, like many others around me, that becoming a Dad would ‘make a man out of me’. Although I was mainly looking forward to the ‘trying part’ at this stage. Unfortunately it didn’t last long, ….Haha ….that sounds so wrong. (What I mean that she fell pregnant very quickly).


Once we discovered the baby was due in March I knew my party lifestyle was soon to be over. Strangely enough rather than easing into the change like a sensible person would do this actually made me try fit in as many parties and drinking sessions as possible in the meanwhile (after all ….I was drinking for 2 now!)

I knew a shock was on the cards with the child arrived. All the books you read (in my case 1, handed to me by my wife with the instruction ‘read that’) couldn’t prepare you for the birth of your child and how your life will change afterwards. No matter how many ‘One Born Every Minutes’ you are forced to watch (in my case a lot more than 1, again under the instruction ‘you’re watching this’) will prepare you for the emotion of childbirth. If you are reading this as a ‘soon to be dad’ then I don’t think I’ll ever be able to advise you what becoming a father is like, (I’ll do my best) but it’s the biggest ‘you have to be there’ moment of your life. 

Ben was born on the 25th March 2010 and it was the scariest yet most exhilarating day of my life. Once your first child is born you feel different. The only way I can describe it is; initially, it’s a glow, the glow of fatherhood, you’re proud and can’t help but smile from ear to ear. Blessed, that’s it. you feel blessed. You’re getting patted on the back and are elated. Everyone and their cousin is wishing you well. Life couldn’t be any better. The ‘Birth Party’ is in full swing and you are ‘the host with the most’ 


(This buzz and the help and support of family and friends is what get you through the first few months of fatherhood). Then: the parental leave finishes, the visitors get less and less frequent and it’s you, your wife and a little person; who doesn’t sleep, you can’t help feed (unless you develop boobs), poops the kind of messes you only thought possible in horror films and cries and cries and cries. Did I mention they cry?


The ‘Birth Party’ is well and truly over and all your left with is ‘the fear’; the comedown from the high of birth and the thrashed house to put in order (both metaphorically and in real life).


It’s a harsh reality. From the fun of your previous party lifestyle to parental responsibility and the dejavu of another sleepless night and another shitty nappy. (It’s a time that you can feel empty and drained). Depression can often occur with both parents around this time and with such a momentous change in your lives and routine it’s easy to see why. The flowery preconceived notions you had about having a child may not have come to fruition. It’s human nature to feel down about this (even if it’s an impossible standard you’d visualised). Then there’s the stresses and strains of fatherhood (how can I afford this? Will I be the type of parent I want to be? All the questions that run around in your head) on top of this you’re experiencing the kind of sleep deprivation that you’d find in SAS training. It’s a far far cry from ‘living for the weekend’ and it’s enough to push most people over the edge. 


So, here’s the serious bit:

If you need help after having a child or any other time just reach out and ask. A lot of people suffer in silence. The rates of male suicide are huge, they don’t need to be. Until you speak up it might not be obvious to others that you are struggling. Don’t carry the weight of fatherhood (or anything else for that matter) on your shoulders. Talk to a mate. Get on the internet and do it anonymously if you want. There’s a huge dad community out there. You aren’t alone. Everyone who’s a dad has felt the elation of birth and I’d wager most felt the slump that can occur after it. Draw on these dads’ experiences and use their lessons in your life. 


As with any tremendous change it’s not easy. I’m not going to sugar coat it. It would be wrong to do so. Some nights you’ll yearn to be a carefree partygoer again but once you find your feet you’ll realise that it was all worth it.


I loved being a Lad. But now that I’ve got here (even though it wasn’t easy) … I really really love being a Dad!!
Daddy Poppins 





Baby’s First Kiss

There are 5 balls – work, family, friends, health and spirit…


Thursday was not a good day. And when I say not a good day I mean it was the absolute pits. I’m talking the sort of day you only have once every few years, maybe. Some of you may never have felt like this but I’m fairly confident most people reading this can relate.

It’s a day when you have been feeling run down with the enormity of everything in your life. People around you may have noticed a change in your mood and attitude in the run up.

Now, the funny thing about it for me was that there was not one thing that I could put my finger on as the reason for how I was feeling, but I was truly lower than a snake’s belly on Thursday. Continue reading