Watching a friend go through postpartum depression can make you feel helpless. What can you do to help? What can you say? And what if they don’t realize that’s what they’re facing?
It’s a lot to think about. Recognizing boundaries, understanding your friend’s needs, and trying your best not to overstep are considerable challenges. With that said, providing postpartum depression help to your friend is one of the most supportive things you can do. Even if they don’t ask for it.
Postpartum depression can be sneaky. Sometimes it can start during pregnancy. Other times, your friend could feel wonderful, albeit exhausted and overwhelmed, the first few weeks after giving birth. And then PPD blindsides them.
Being there for your friend to offer PPD help and support begins with knowing what to look for.
Signs Your Friend is Dealing With Postpartum Depression
PPD symptoms go beyond sadness and crying. And it can show up differently in every new mom. To provide your friend with the best postpartum depression help, be on the lookout for other symptoms too.
- intense anxiety
- obsessive thoughts about their baby
- inability to bond with their baby
- indifference toward taking care of themselves
- shame and guilt
- loss of interest in doing things they typically enjoy
If you think your friend is dealing with postpartum depression, don’t be afraid to speak up. Many women in their position feel ashamed for feeling sad and scared to admit they need help. But as a friend, it’s important to be gentle, supportive, and non-judgmental when suggesting they may need postpartum depression help.
Tips For Helping Your Friend With PPD
The three most important things you can do when offering postpartum depression support are listening, learning, and staying involved. Your friend needs you to stay present when you talk with them, really listen to how they are feeling, and be a source of encouragement.
Many times, new moms experiencing PPD feel alone and isolated, especially in today’s day and age. But if you genuinely show your friend you care for them and want to help them through their PPD struggles, you’re offering invaluable support.
Here are some things to remember when helping your friend who’s dealing with postpartum depression:
1. Do the Small Things
Yes, you can absolutely ask your friend what you can do. But quite often, when people are experiencing difficulties, they don’t know how to answer you. They know they could use help but don’t know what they need.
A great way to take the burden of having your friend decide how you can help them is to simply do. Tell them you’re coming over to do the laundry. Bring her meals. Walk her dog. Hold the baby while she takes a shower, nap, or some “me time.”
Things like this may seem small, but to a mom experiencing PPD, they add up to taking a lot off of her plate.
2. Remind Them It’s Not Their Fault
Just like any form of depression, your friend isn’t dealing with PPD because they choose to. The expectations of early motherhood may include blissful moments of cuddling your baby and feeling overwhelmed with love and joy. So when your friend feels depressed and unable to enjoy being with their baby, they may feel like it’s their fault.
But postpartum depression is a medical condition that significantly benefits from professional help. Let her know that roughly 1 in 9 women experience PPD, so she’s not alone.
If your friend dealing with postpartum depression is hesitant about sharing her feelings, simply sitting with her is enough. But when she’s ready to open up, listen compassionately. Even if you have no experience with PPD, listening and allowing your friend to talk without judgment is a powerful way to offer postpartum depression support.
While you’re listening, make sure you don’t invalidate her feelings. If she tells you she feels like a bad mom, don’t respond with something like, “That’s not true. You’re a wonderful mother.” Invalidating her feelings could lead to further feelings of guilt and shame.
Instead, try validating her feelings with responses like, “That sounds really hard,” or “I’m sorry you’re feeling that way.” When your friend knows you’ll listen without feeling judged, she’ll feel supported and loved.
3. Help Her Get Professional Support
Finding the right professional postpartum depression support can be challenging when you’re exhausted, overwhelmed, depressed, and doing your best to take care of a newborn.
That’s where you come in! Help your friend find PPD help and let her know that women who get professional support feel better faster. You can even take this another step further by offering to go with her to her first, and perhaps even all, of her therapy sessions with her. If she’s comfortable with the idea, it’d be an excellent chance for you to take care of her baby while she gets some time alone with her therapist.
Make the BOLD Choice in Postpartum Depression Therapy
When you’re looking for PPD help for your friend, you want to make sure they get the best treatment around. And if you’re in the San Diego area, the best postpartum depression therapy is found at BOLD Health.
We provide individualized PPD treatment programs to moms dealing with perinatal (during pregnancy) and postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, and postpartum OCD. Our welcoming and nonjudgmental atmosphere and comprehensive team approach to helping new moms through their postpartum struggles is unlike any other.
To provide the best, most customized postpartum depression support for your friend, we’ll make sure we get to know her. Not just how she feels now, but really get to know her as a whole individual. Our holistic approach to mental health treatment means we tailor each and every treatment program to address the biological, genetic, psychological, and situational aspects of your friend’s life.
You won’t find better PPD help like ours here at BOLD. Contact us today, and let’s get your friend feeling better faster.