Being pregnant can be an exciting and scary experience. You look forward to having your little one in your arms more than anything. What a lot of first time moms don’t realize is how much harder it is to rest and take care of yourself after your baby is born. Along with the exhaustion, and barrage of new responsibility, comes your body’s hormonal response to the changes of not being pregnant and trying to get back to normal. Many new moms experience postpartum depression and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. With that being said, it’s also important to know what to do to get help, and how you can help. Here are 7 ways to help a mom with postpartum depression.
Be especially careful about what and how you say things
It is a very emotional, and exhausting time. Things you say, even joking, can have a much deeper impact than you realize. Be kind, caring, and encouraging as much as possible.
Help with the baby as much as you can
Help take care of the baby, as much as you can. Allow mom to let you know if she needs help, but be available and willing to help.
Help the new mom with meals and snacks
Helping with meals and snacks will be needed and appreciated. If mom is breastfeeding, getting her plenty of water, juice, and milk will help her to keep hydrated.
Help take some of her other responsibilities for a little while
Taking some of the responsibilities like laundry, cleaning up the house, and taking care of pets, will go a long way in helping a new mom struggling with postpartum depression. The less she has to worry about, the better it will be for her recovery and bonding with the baby.
Encourage her to take care of herself
It is easy to neglect yourself when you’re so overwhelmed with your responsibilities and taking care of a new baby. If she takes care of herself, though, she will feel better. Give her time to sleep, eat, shower, and relax.
Be a supportive listener
Be willing to listen and encourage her to share her feelings. Talking about your feelings and her feelings will help keep things in the open, and hopefully, help her deal with any negative feelings she’s having.
Speak up if something doesn’t feel right and know the signs if things are getting worse
If something doesn’t feel right, get the help that’s needed. It’s really important to notice signs of depression that’s getting worse. Some signs of worsening depression are not eating, not wanting to talk about her feelings, talking really negatively, and not taking care of herself or the baby.
If you feel that the depression is getting worse, get help immediately. Postpartum depression can lead to postpartum psychosis, which is a medical emergency. Postpartum depression is treatable by a doctor, usually with antidepressants and therapy. You can do everything you can to help, but if she needs more help, get her the help she needs.