Over half a million women in the United States are projected to suffer frompostpartum depression, and some studies estimate that 10% to 15% of all new mothers may suffer from this type of depression. An estimated 1 in 10 men are also estimated to suffer from this sort of depression. How can you support the woman or man in your life suffering from more than just "the baby blues"?
How to help someone with Postpartum Depression
- Create space for them and listen. It is hard enough for most women to admit that they are feeling sad or disconnected from themselves and/or their baby at this momentous time in their life, so sometimes the best way you can help is to meet with the new mother or call her on the phone to just let her speak about how she is feeling. Try to reserve judgement and empathize.
- Help with the chores and home-work. Taking care of a baby, breastfeeding, cooking meals and keeping a tidy house takes time, energy and willpower, which women afflicted with depression often lack. Show up and see how you can help around the home, or bring a healthy, home cooked meal to your loved one. Many women feel anxious and overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work that needs to be done. Here are some more tips on anxiety management.
- Help her find a certified therapist, counselor or other professional that can help her navigate through this tough time. You may ask friends and family for recommendations of who to speak to, or browse an online directory such as RingMD’s online therapist directory of thousands of providers from around the globe. Especially for mothers that are too tired, ill or depressed to leave their home to seek professional help, seeking assistance through online therapy may be a good option.
- Follow-up and listen, listen, listen. Taking care of a newborn is a 24/7/365 day job, which prevents many new mothers from getting the care they need to rest and recover from depression and anxiety associated with baby blues depression. Check-in with the new mum on a regular basis, and lend her your shoulder to lean on in times of need. Your love and support may help her through this time. Mothers that are living abroad and do not have the support of their long-term friends and family can especially be having troubles during this time.
- Reach out to emergency services if the mother is experiencing extreme and/or suicidal thoughts associated with severe depression. Look up a local suicide hotlines or other emergency responder services to get help immediately.
If you are unsure if the new parents in your life is affected with PPD (which generally begins two-to-eight weeks after delivery for women, and up to a year after the infant's birth for men. Common symptoms for both parents includes depression, loss of appetite, anxiety and irritability), read through the symptoms and potential treatment for PPD here.
- This article further details the signs and symptoms of depression.
- This article can help you (as a new mother and father) deal with the new stress of being a parent.
Depression is truly a difficult situation for everyone involved — both the person that is depressed and their supporters.
As a family member, friend or colleague of a new mother suffering with PPD, you may also be feeling the weight and “blues” when supporting your loved one with postpartum depression (PPD).
Take a time out to support your personal health and well-being as you help the new mother with postpartum depression in your life, so you too do not negatively impact your health. This article can help you identify if someone's depression is affecting you, including symptoms such as your feeling irritable in the company of the woman with postpartum depression, avoiding her calls and/or feeling guilty for feeling okay yourself.
If you are ready to take the next step and seek help for the new mother in your life or yourself, these articles may help you:
If you're thinking "I need a therapist near me" but dont know where to start, try the RingMD therapist directory with a click of the button below. We will help you find the right therapist for YOU!