Postpartum depression is a debilitating illness, which disrupts friendships and even devastates families.
Postpartum depression symptoms include panic, mood swings, sleep disturbances, anxiety, changes in appetite, hyperactivity, crying and feeling sad for no clear reason or feeling as if you want to cry but can not, irritability, obsessive and negative thoughts, and loss of self-esteem and confidence.
Although there can be a sense of shame or embarrassment about ‘not coping’ with the situation for a number of women at times, several are much more ready to accept practical help.
Despite the fact that it is awful just watching a friend suffer from depression, particularly if she is pushing you away, there are various ways to show you care.
Consider the steps you can take to help her, and do not take it personal if your efforts do not seem appreciated right away.
1. Listen to your friend
Do not compare your past to your friend’s since she may feel worse if you begin saying, “When I had a baby …” simply tread gently, and try to be comfortable with silence if she does not want to speak.
She will find it a bit difficult to make sense of her opinion, without feeling judged.
2. Ask your friend to avoid stress
A stressor is something that puts demand on anyone, which is precisely what pregnancy does to one’s body, mentally, biochemically and physically.
Doctors suggest de-stressing ways such as getting into support groups, eating healthy, psychotherapy and taking care of oneself.
They additionally recommend talking relaxation exercises, therapy, yoga, and a vigorous work out program.
3. Send her a text
She may not see it like a visit, but just a simple text will show how much you think of her. Do not take it personal if she does not text back; she will once she is ready.
Keep in mind that depression is so weakening in that even just getting out of the bed can be a difficult task at times.
4. Drop off food to your friend
Drop off some meal, perhaps some muffins or a favorite cake. If this is not her first child, you can add a lunchbox and something such as a sticker book for the kid.
You can put the food in an esky and leave it on her doorstep then text after dropping it off in case she does not want to see you.
If you drop food inside, do not hang around unless she is okay with it, and do not race around her residence.
Simply ask if you can help out with the washing, or offer to take her kids out and play with them.
5. Do not do it alone
Your support and help all alone will not ‘fix’ that friend. It is very important that she sees a professional, for instance a doctor, in order to get treatment; make sure you talk to her partner so that they understand how important that step is.
6. Have fun with her child/children
Offer to take her child/children to a playground, an activity class or your place so that she can take a break and the kids have some fun as well.
7. Take her out
A change of environment can be ideal for lifting one’s moods, however make it simple. Perhaps you should try visiting a nearby park, taking a walk together, or have coffee at a café. Offer her an outing that is not exhausting or strenuous.
Again, do not take it personal if your friend happens to opt out when almost done. Her anxiety may possibly have surfaced, therefore let her know it is all right if she can not manage at that particular time.
8. Do not give up on her
Do not disappear, or give up on your friend. Do not feel upset if she gets mad at you. Depression is such a cruel illness and recovery takes months and even longer.
However, with support and treatment, these people do recover. Once she recovers, your friendship will even be stronger, since you were there all along.
9. Consult a doctor about medication
Recent studies prove that if women begin on treatment on the day the child is born, the probability of having a relapse decreases dramatically.
If you are nursing, consult your doctor about the type of antidepressants that is safe to take.
In a perfect world, one would not be taking any medications, since women suffering from postpartum depression should not solely rely on the antidepressant.