How to Help Someone with Postpartum DepressionAlyssa
Many new moms experience postpartum “baby blues” after childbirth, which is marked by symptoms like mood swings, crying spells, anxiety, and difficulty sleeping. Baby blues usually begin two or three days after delivery and can last as long as two weeks. But some new moms experience a longer-lasting form of the baby blues known as postpartum depression. If you’re close to a new mom with this condition, there are some tips on how to help someone with postpartum depression overcome their symptoms.
How to Support Someone With Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression is often mistaken for the baby blues at first, but symptoms usually last longer and are more intense. Eventually, they can interfere with the person’s day-to-day life and their ability to care for their child. It’s also important to note that postpartum depression can occur in both men and women after childbirth.
Symptoms of postpartum depression include depressed mood, severe mood swings, excessive crying, difficulty bonding with the baby, and others. This condition makes it difficult for new parents to bond with their babies and care for them, sometimes to the point where they don’t want to be with their babies at all. If you know someone with this condition, below are some tips on how to help a person with postpartum depression manage their symptoms.
Listen to Their Feelings
If you know someone who needs support for postpartum depression, they’re probably feeling sad, alone, guilty, and ashamed. They might feel like they aren’t a good mother or father because of how they’re feeling and don’t trust themselves to be good parents. At the moment, the future can seem bleak, but sometimes just lending your ear can help.
One of the best ways to help postpartum depression recovery is by listening to the person and showing them that you’re around for the long haul. Sit and listen patiently as they vent their feelings and offer them a shoulder to cry on. By being there and actively listening to them, you’re validating their feelings and offering a necessary sense of comfort.
You can also remind the person that they can feel two things at once. They can love their baby with all their heart while also acknowledging their symptoms. Your job isn’t to make these emotions go away but rather make the person feel heard.
As we mentioned, many parents with postpartum depression feel ashamed because they may not want to spend time with their new babies or even like them. Postpartum depression is both chemical and psychological, and it can make it difficult for a new parent to fulfill their role as a mother or father.
But you have to remember – this isn’t their fault. This person isn’t purposely being cold or callused towards their new baby. They’re simply struggling with their symptoms. With this in mind, be careful not to judge the person, but instead, remind them that what they’re feeling is the result of their disorder.
Don’t Compare Yourself to Them
If you’re someone who has kids, do not compare your experience to theirs. Don’t say things like, “When I had a baby, I did this,” or “If you do this, you’ll feel better.” Many mothers or fathers with postpartum depression already feel like they’re not good parents, and comparing your situations may only amplify the embarrassment, shame, and guilt they’re feeling.
Instead, validate their feelings by saying things like, “Although I don’t understand what you’re going through, I can see how this is affecting you, and I’m here to help.” Again, this is an active way of being there for the other person.
Find Specific Ways to Help Them
Although people usually mean well when they say, “Let me know if you need any help,” sometimes we just need to stop talking about helping and just do it. Learning how to help someone with postpartum depression can be tricky, but sometimes you just need to find a need and meet it.
This means bringing dinner over on nights when they may not feel up for cooking. Watch the baby for a few hours so mom or dad can sleep. Make concrete plans to help the parents and follow through.
Get Them Help
At the end of the day, there’s only so much you can do to help someone with postpartum depression. What’s more, your loved one might not know when to seek help for postpartum depression or where to get it. They might also feel ashamed about their disorder and not want to reach out for support.
If you notice that the individual is struggling with their symptoms and hasn’t improved, gently suggest seeking out professional help. Offer to go with them to any doctor’s appointments or offer to watch the baby while they’re in therapy. Encourage them to seek out support and be willing to partake in their recovery.
Help for Depression
Our luxury drug and alcohol rehab in South Florida offers various mental health programs to help people with disorders like postpartum depression. Our depression treatment programs utilize evidence-based therapy modalities to help clients understand their symptoms and develop practical coping skills.
If you or a loved one is struggling with a substance use disorder order, call Seaside Palm Beach today at 561-677-9374 to learn how we can help.