How to help someone with postnatal depression

How to help someone with postnatal depression

Having to deal with postnatal depression for the last 20 months since my son was born has made me think of all the ways my family and friends have helped me through this. I hope this can be of some help to someone who has a loved one going through this difficult chapter of their life.

  1. Don’t make them feel guilty for not keeping on top of house work. I would feel guilty about anything and everything and one last thing I needed was to feel guilty that I wasn’t keeping on top of things.
  2. Don’t just offer to help, do it. If someone had offered to hold my baby so I could have a bath or get some sleep I would have probably said no. Sometimes you need to insist without bruising their pride.
  3. Just listen. Sometimes all I needed was someone to listen to me rather than any advice or help. I was isolated and alone and I just needed someone to talk to.
  4. Check in. I know everyone has busy lives, but a quick texts was all it would take to make me feel reassured that someone cared. My husband would often call from work and even if I wasn’t in the mood to talk it helped.
  5. Let them sleep. The mornings my husband got up and did the school run or sat downstairs with our baby I appreciated so much. Sleep deprivation is not helpful to the mind in any way.
  6. Don’t ask them why they feel like this. A couple of times I was made to feel more guilty by people for asking how I could possibly feel like this when I had such a perfect baby, this was extremely damaging to my mental state.
  7. Don’t take over with the baby. Even if you think you are helping sometimes you can be seen as taking over. By all means help with the baby when it’s needed, but don’t take over.
  8. Cook some meals to help out. Offering to make dinner is always something I’ve appreciated and my husband would often make me a wrap or sandwich and leave it in the fridge before work.
  9. Run a bath and let her relax. A bath can help relax the body and the mind.
  10. Don’t ever let them think that the postnatal depression was their fault or that they are inadequate in any way.
  11. If they are breastfeeding be supportive in any way you can be. If they are bottle feeding be supportive in any way you can be.
  12. encourage them to get help and if they need you to come with them to appointments then do or offer to have the baby.
  13. If it’s your friend, wife, daughter or sister going through this make sure you tell them you love them.
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