Postpartum depression (PPD) can be isolating and overwhelming for many new parents. Navigating through life with the added responsibility of caring for a newborn baby can take its toll on even the best of us. If you think your friend or family member may be dealing with postpartum depression, below are a few things you can do to help.
1. Be there for them
One of the most important things you can do is simply be there for them. Listen to their feelings without judgment, offer emotional support, and let them know they are not alone. Compassion and understanding can go a long way in helping someone with postpartum depression.
2. Encourage them to see a doctor
If you think your friend or family member may suffer from postpartum depression, encourage them to talk to a doctor. Postpartum depression is a serious medical condition that requires professional treatment.
Without treatment, postpartum depression can develop into a long-term problem and impair the mother’s ability to care for and bond with her baby – which can have lasting consequences. However, seeking treatment is a personal choice, and trying to force it on someone may only make them resistant. Encouraging them to talk to a doctor and offering your support is usually the best approach.
3. Help out with childcare and household chores
Postpartum depression can make even the simplest tasks feel insurmountable. If you have a friend or family member suffering from postpartum depression, offer to help with childcare and household chores. This will give them a much-needed break and allow them to focus on taking care of themselves.
4. Connect them with resources and support groups
There are many support groups and online resources dedicated to helping individuals with postpartum depression. Sharing these resources with your loved ones can help them feel less alone and give them the information and support they need to work through their feelings and emotions.
5. Know what not to say
When someone we care about is going through a difficult time, it’s only natural that we want to say something to make them feel better. However, some well-intentioned words can do more harm than good. Avoid making any assumptions about what they are going through or telling them what to do. Instead, focus on being supportive and understanding.
6. Celebrate the little wins
When someone is dealing with postpartum depression, simple tasks like getting the baby to eat or sleep without caring or breaking down can feel like monumental accomplishments. Be sure to celebrate the little wins with them. This will help them boost their confidence and self-esteem.
7. Be patient
Depression can be a long and challenging battle, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Be patient with your loved ones as they work through their feelings and emotions. Remember that emotional support can be instrumental in the recovery journey.
8. Check on them regularly
Postpartum depression can make someone feel very isolated and alone. Checking in regularly and caching up about random things can be a great show of love and support.
The Bottom Line
If you suspect your friend or a family member has postpartum depression or is going through a rough patch after childbirth, reach out and offer your support. It might not seem like much, but your compassion and understanding can make a world of difference. And remember to take care of yourself, too. Postpartum depression can be a difficult journey for everyone involved.