How Do I Help My Loved One With Postpartum Depression (PPD)?
How Do I Help My Loved One With Postpartum Depression?
Your wife just needs some time to adjust, she’ll be fine. Your sister is just a bit tired, all new moms are. Your best friend is just busy, that’s why you haven’t heard from her… The new mothers in your life are strong. They have everything under control. It’s not your place to interfere.
If my loved one needed help with postpartum depression, they would just ask me. Right?
Wrong. This is not always true! If your loved one is struggling with postpartum depression, she may not be feeling herself. She may not like the same things she used to, she may be sad all the time, and she may have trouble bonding with her baby. She may even have trouble reaching out to you, and she needs you.
Having a baby is hard. Being a mom is hard. The drastic changes that come with the birth of a newborn can be difficult to adjust to. When you consider the rapidly fluctuating hormones, sleep that comes in half hour increments, and a baby that’s dependent on you for their every need – it’s easy to see how new moms can feel overwhelmed. For many women, these feelings go beyond the normal stressed and tired. A mother with postpartum depression is sad, anxious, guilty, lonely, overwhelmed, and a million other things that can’t always be put into words.
It can be difficult to know how to support your loved one who is struggling as a new mother. You may not know what you can do to help them and show that you care! Every mother’s experience is different, from one child to the next. What one woman craves, another might find unraveling. So what should you do?
Help Your Loved One With Postpartum Depression By Doing This:
- Be patient. Allow her the time to adjust. Her body just created a miracle, and it takes some time to get footing with her new “normal.”
- Help her find out what works for her. Be there to listen if she needs an ear. If she doesn’t, don’t force it, either. Meet her where she is at!
- Be present. Make sure she knows that you are there for her in any capacity she needs. Whether she needs to talk, or if she needs some peace and quiet. Just be present, and let her know that you are there and that you support her.
- Help take care of her. New moms, especially those struggling with postpartum depression, will often neglect their own needs, especially when caring for their newborn. Cook her healthy meals and encourage her to enjoy fresh air.
- Give her a break! Take the baby for a walk and let her take a bath, read a book, whatever it is that centers her. Help her get some space and “me time,” so that she can take care of herself.
- Educate yourself. Postpartum depression is not “PMS-ing”. The best thing you can do to support her is try to understand what she is going through, and this starts with education!
Help Your Loved One With Postpartum Depression By Avoiding This:
- Telling her how to think or feel. The overwhelm, the guilt, the stress may not make sense to you, and it may not even be rational, but that doesn’t mean that she doesn’t feel it. Her feelings are valid, allow her to feel what she feels!
- Making her feel any more guilty than she already does. Maybe she isn’t keeping up with the dishes like she used to, but she’s trying. And trust me, she already knows and feels badly enough.
- Putting more on her plate. It may seem like you’re just asking a simple favour,to pick something up, or make a quick call. But she has enough on her plate right now.
- Playing doctor. Just because you read it on the internet or because your mom suggested it, does not mean she has any interest whatsoever. And if she does, make sure you direct her to helpful, reputable resources!
- Making promises for her. Even if your loved one is usually a social butterfly, she just may not be feeling up to it right now. Don’t assume that she will be able to partake in plans! Ask first.
Be There For Her: This Is The Most Important Thing You Can Do.
Be strong when she can’t be, and step up to help to lighten her load. Since a mama’s load is 24/7 and never-ending, it can be tough to bear when she isn’t feeling herself. Be sure to also educate yourself. Learn about what she is going through, what matters to her (read up on breastfeeding, fellas!), and most importantly, what are some signs that she may be in way over her head. If she is, urge her to seek help. And love her, no matter what!
Share this article on your favourite social media outlet, to help other people who are supporting their loved ones with postpartum depression!
About the Author:
Jillian Hahn is a mother of two boys, insurance adjuster by day, author of mommy blog Mapping out Memories, and freelance writer for hire. She feels that it is important to talk about the realities of motherhood. Having suffered with postpartum depression herself, Jillian knows how important it is to find others who share your journey with. Her goal is to use her blog to brings moms together, and give moms a place to get away from the hatred that surrounds us everyday.