So far in our Postpartum Depression posts, we’ve talked about what you can do while pregnant, how to tell between baby blues vs. the real thing, breaking the stigma, and what to do along with some resources. But supporting someone with postpartum depression is an essential piece to talk about as well. If a mom near and dear to you has opened up and spoken up about their struggle with postpartum depression, it’s important that they feel supported and loved. She is likely carrying a heavy weight. Here are a few things you can say or do to lift her up and help her feel respected.
You’re Not Alone
Postpartum depression can be so isolating. You’ve just had a baby- and especially if it was your first one, you’ve been thrown into a whole new world. While husbands can be a huge support, they can’t quite relate to all a new mother is going through. If you have experienced postpartum depression, try to be as open and honest as you can. Sharing openly with someone who knows just how you feel can be life changing during a time like this. And even if you yourself have never had any experience with postpartum depression, you can still talk be a great listening ear and continue to tell her she’s not alone. So many women experience this. I’m here for you throughout this whole process. You are so loved by so many people. You are a good mother. This is only your symptoms, it’s not you.
You have no idea how bad it is. It could be worse than she is even saying. Any type of “oh that’s normal, don’t worry.” or “just try to be happy, babies are the best!” could be a mistake.
Offer Specific Help
We all know that “let me know if I can help” hardly ever results in the person actually asking for help. Instead, follow Nike’s orders and “just do it”. What time can I drop off a meal? What day next week works for me to come hold the baby so you can shower? Have you shoveled yet? If not, Mike is on his way!
You’ve Got This, One Step at a Time
It won’t be helpful while supporting someone with postpartum depression to pretend the process won’t be hard or that it will be over in the blink of an eye. But it is helpful to speak positivity over her and the situation. This too shall pass. You will have victory. You are stronger than it feels right now.
It may be hard for her to open up. Don’t be overly pushy, but don’t give up either. Ask questions that encourage her to get her feelings out in a safe environment. And then listen. And listen some more.