6 Ways to Help a Friend with Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression (PPD) can strike when you least expect it, and sometimes it’s difficult to know how to help. Especially if you’re a friend who wants to lend their assistance. If you find yourself in a supporting position, here are six ways to help a friend with postpartum depression:
1. Help her get professional help.
Do some research to find some potential PPD resources for your friend (see the end of this post for some ideas). You can also offer to call area professionals who specialize in PPD and postpartum anxiety and gather information. That way your friend has options. You can also offer to drive her to appointments and/or watch the baby while she’s at said appointments.
2. Help with meal prep.
Making dinner can be overwhelming for a new mom regardless of whether she’s experiencing PPD or not. So lend a hand by bringing over a prepared meal or casserole that she can heat and serve. Preparing a few freezer meals ahead of time or ordering a meal service can also be helpful.
3. Help out with the daily grind.
Since PPD takes new mom’s level of overwhelming to about an 11, try offering to help with daily tasks. Whether it’s running to the grocery store, cleaning the bathrooms or picking up the older kids from school, find things that you can do that will lighten her load.
4. Take care of baby so mom can rest.
There’s nothing better than being an auntie to a newborn. Make sure your friend is comfortable with you being there for a prolonged period of time (and make sure you’ve gotten your flu shot!) and encourage her to take a long nap. And then you get to enjoy all of those baby snuggles and help your friend at the same time.
5. Keep up the contact.
Keeping in contact with a new mom helps create a connection to the outside world. Even if you can’t visit, you can still text, send funny memes, email or call her. And make sure to listen to her. Encourage your friend to talk about how’s she’s feeling and be a sounding board. Sometimes, it’s just nice to feel like you’re being heard.
6. Be tenacious, but not overbearing.
Even if you feel like your attempts at contact aren’t being reciprocated, don’t completely disappear. But don’t inundate your friend, either. Finding a balance between checking in and being too overbearing can be a challenge, but it’s worth it. Just make sure you let her know that you’ll be there for support, but also give her the space she needs when she needs it. Listen to your friend intuition, and don’t be afraid to talk to your friend directly.
If you or someone you love is experiencing postpartum depression, please seek guidance from a healthcare professional. For more resources to help you along the way, check out the following:
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