22 Things You Can Do for a Woman Suffering From Postpartum Depression
The American Psychological Association estimates that 9-16 percent of new moms will experience postpartum depression (PPD). That makes it a fairly strong possibility that someone in your life is struggling or will struggle with the condition.
PPD leaves women feeling guilty, overwhelmed, helpless, and often numb. It is a scary and isolating experience that many women would rather deny, fearing being judged or regarded as a “bad mom.”
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Whether moms suffering from PPD acknowledge it or not, what they need the most is love and support. Here are 22 ways you can help support a woman suffering from postpartum depression:
1. Accept that she will not get better overnight.
Although she will recover, especially with your support and encouragement, this recovery will be gradual.
Remember that PPD is an actual form of depression, so telling her to “cheer up,” or “get over it” is not helpful and will likely be upsetting. Validate her feelings instead of suggesting that it’s just her hormones or she’s probably just tired, and settle in for a long process.
2. Don’t downplay what she is feeling.
Also make sure not to imply that she is exaggerating her feelings in any way, including making remarks like, “You seem fine to me.”
It is typical for women with postpartum depression to mask their emotions and pretend to be the delighted, glowing mother that others expect. However, this does not mean that everything is fine or that she is capable of turning off her feelings of depression.
3. Take the baby off of her hands.
Women with postpartum depression need the opportunity to spend some time away from baby. Remind her that a mom cannot be at her best if she is not able to relax and recharge from time to time.
Encourage her to go out for drinks, dinner, or a movie with friends. Baby-free time spent bonding and having fun with friends can be tremendously helpful for women grappling with PPD.