Wondering how to provide support for your loved one who is suffering with perinatal / postpartum depression or anxiety?
The statistics are higher than ever reporting that women are struggling with postpartum depression and anxiety. Many family members don’t know how to help their loved ones during these times. Here are a few tips:
Recognize that she is not making this up.
Depression and anxiety are a real illness.
This doesn't happen because she's a bad mother, or doesn't love her baby enough.
It did not happen because she's having negative thoughts about herself, you, or about your baby.
She cannot "snap out of it".
This is not fair. It is not what was expected. But if your partner has been diagnosed, it may take a while for her to recover.
With help, she will get better!
The more supportive you are of her treatment, the smoother her recovery will be.
Try to reassure her that there is nothing she has done to make this happen.
Reassure her to talk about her feelings and listen to her without judgement.
Help with housework, food prep, or whatever needs to be done.
Encourage her to take time for herself. Breaks are a necessity and fatigue is a major contributor to anxiety and depression.
Offer simple affection and physical comfort but be patient if she is not up for intimacy. This is normal during this time.
Schedule some dates with her and work together to spend QUALITY time with one another.
Help her spend QUALITY time with her baby. Often times loved ones bombard the mom with wanting to hold the baby so often that mom doesn't have time to adequately bond with the baby. If she is complaining about not having the time she needs, help her set boundaries with loved ones so she can accomplish her goals whether it is nursing, cuddling, resting etc..
Lastly, remember to take care of yourself too during this stressful time.