Even though postpartum depression is very real, treatable, and temporary- too many women suffer in silence. Why is this? Sometimes it’s simply because they can’t identify that they have a problem. But other times it is because there is a very real postpartum depression stigma attached to anyone who is experiencing it. This stigma (a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person) can be detrimental in many ways, for many who experience it. So how can we break the cycle of disgrace associated with postpartum depression?
While everyone has their reasons for privacy regarding about these issues. However if you are willing and able to speak up about any issues you have had with postpartum depression, know that doing so can sincerely help someone you know. The more postpartum depression is talked about, the more eyes that are opened to what it is, how women can get help, and how common it truly is. The more it is talked about, the more comfortable other women feel about speaking up as well, and it can snowball until the postpartum depression stigma starts to break down. Women need to know that postpartum depression doesn’t make them unfit mothers! It’s something so many women experience. Women from all walks of life. Postpartum depression can affect anyone, including those who have never had any mental illness previously. There is NEVER anything “wrong” with someone who experiences postpartum depression.
Even if postpartum depression is something you have never dealt with personally, you can still help. Whenever someone close to you gives birth, be sure to check in a few months after baby has arrived. This is easier to do than you think, and doesn’t have to be overly intrusive. Even just bringing up the subject of how difficult having a new baby can be emotionally may just be what Mom needs to hear. Bring over dinner, a coffee, or just your company and a smile. Let Mom know that you are always available if she’s having a particularly bad day- you may just be able to be her lifeline when she needs it most!
Spread the Love
If anyone you know opens up about postpartum depression, show her some love! I found this article on ScaryMommy.com helpful in knowing what to say to a mom who is struggling. It can be tough to know what to do or say, but don’t make the mistake of saying nothing. Even if Mom is pushing people away, she still needs to know that you love her and that what she is going through is totally normal. It can also be helpful to simply act rather than ask “what can I do?”. There are so many easy ways to show you care- a meal, a day at the spa, offering to babysit her kids- even a small gift can really show that you care and lift her up!