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My partner seems to have a headache or “flu” every other day and wants me to look after him too. Is he jealous of the baby? / FAQs / Pregnancy information from midwivesonline.com

My partner seems to have a headache or “flu” every other day and wants me to look after him too. Is he jealous of the baby?

I’m not sure how long it is since you had your baby but there could be several reasons for his current behaviour, one of which could be jealousy. Try and talk to your partner about this without being critical. Perhaps you need to find things he can do for the baby, e.g. a bath or walk so he does not feel excluded. Sharing your time with him aswell as the baby is important as the change in your relationship because of a baby can be a concern. Part of this concern will be in your relationship with your partner. For both of you, the focus of attention has shifted and this could feel like a loss for him.

Partners are very likely to have been present at the birth and witnessed the distress and pain of their partner. The feeling of helplessness for the one you love can be extremely upsetting and the experience is likely to have also been very traumatic for the dad. This could be affecting the way he is behaving. A debriefing session may help this. Tiredness may be another factor in his behaviour. The disturbed sleep pattern can be exhausting especially if he has returned to work. The pressures of fatherhood, responsibility, increased expense and the change in life-style aswell can increase the risk of depression.

The birth of a baby is a major life event and as such can be a factor in the development of depression. Depression occurring after the birth of a baby is not uncommon in men. Some things that may be relevant in the development of such a depression are issues in the man's family of origin, issues relating to his childhood, changes in the relationship between him and his wife as a result of the baby and the care that the baby requires, and the effect of the experience of the birth itself.

It may be worth going to see his GP together if he is willing. Communication is important so try and find time to talk to each other.

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