The Role of the Spouse and Family During Treatment
If a mom has a strong social support in back of her, she may be able to begin making progress on her road to treatment. "The most important thing that a spouse can do is to listen to the underlying feelings, try to take the woman's view, and to give her as much support as he can. He may be able to help out more around the house, but if he cannot, finding someone who can, and paying for the extra help may be a good investment," advises Dr. Rogan. The partner can also offer support through helping out with the children, being a shoulder to lean on, sitting with and listening to their spouse when they need it the most. Dr. Howard agrees, emphasizing that a spouse's "emotional support, patience, understanding and assistance with even the little things can be very instrumental in a woman's recovery."
Since depression can be devastating to family relationships, Dr. Rogan warns that a spouse can suffer from burn out. "A husband must also be realistic about what he can and cannot do, because a spouse can burn out. The husband usually burns out before a wife in these situations because a woman is traditionally more accustomed to being a caregiver. There has to be open talk about what's going on. If there has been strain in their relationship, the couple may need to be in a marital process where they can learn to talk more openly, to negotiate, without blaming each other."