Postpartum Depression Support
Postpartum depression is a severe mental health condition that affects not just the mother but all her loved ones including her husband, partner siblings, parents, in-law, friends, coworkers and even her other children.
Family members and friends must also learn how to cope with the postpartum depression of their loved one. It’s common for loved ones to feel helpless and saddened by seeing someone they love suffer from postpartum depression. Often times, it leads to their own development of depression, anxiety or just general sadness.
Despite these normal and understandable feelings, there are plenty of resources and supports available to help loved ones cope with this condition. Regardless of your relationship with the affected person, here are some helpful tips and guidelines for you to follow while you provide and seek support:
- Remain supportive and optimistic about recovery
- Encourage well-rounded treatment options
- Communicate openly about progress and struggles
- Show support by asking questions and including her activities or events
- Seek your own support or counselling
- Get enough rest, exercise and continue to stick to healthy habits yourself
- Educate yourself about the condition so you know what to expect
Guidance/Information for Husband of Affected
As the husband or partner of the person suffering with postpartum depression, it can be a devastating feeling to watch your spouse suffer. It may seem like an endless illness and may create feelings of hopelessness or even frustration.
However, it’s important to remember that while there is no immediate solution, it will pass in time provided the whole family is taking the right steps toward recovery. There are some things that husbands can do to help improve the situation and heal themselves as well. This includes committing to open communication with his spouse, seeking therapy on his own, and finding his own support network.
A husband’s support network may include his own parents, siblings, friends, coworkers or even other husbands in the community or online who are experiencing a similar situation. By seeking his own support, it will, in-turn allow him to provide greater support for his wife.
Guidance/Information for Siblings of Affected
Siblings of the affected may also find it difficult to cope with their sister’s condition. By remaining open to communication with your loved one, educating yourself on the effects of postpartum depression, and remaining supportive of treatment options, it can all help to provide a basis toward positive and healthy healing.
Siblings should also try to keep the lines of communication open with their sister’s spouse as well as with their own parents to ensure they have a better understanding of her progress.
Guidance/Information for Other Children of Affected
Unfortunately, when a mother is suffering from postpartum depression it can greatly affect her other children. Children may become anxious or worried about their mother and why she doesn’t seem to be herself. Many children, especially younger ones, may think they are to blame or feel desperate to help. It’s important however, for family members to include the other children in the process with open communication.
While other children may not fully understand, it’s important that they receive the reassurance that their mother is receiving treatment and that it won’t last forever. Often this responsibility falls on the father, the grandparents or the aunts and uncles.
Guidance/Information for Sufferer’s Parents
It can be extremely difficult for parents to watch their children suffer from postpartum depression. Finding a balance between providing support for their child and her family and pursuing their own support is key to staying healthy and positive during this difficult time.
There are some things that parents can do to help provide support while maintaining their own health and wellness as well. Parents can offer support with childcare, take their daughter to appointments, offer to help out around the home, or just generally check in on progress.
Parents and the husband or partner of the affected should also openly communicate about progress and treatment options to ensure that each family member can continue to encourage and support their loved one.
Guidance/Information for In-Laws of Affected
In-laws are another set of family members who become affected by someone’s suffering with postpartum depression. Like the parents of the affected, in-laws should also seek a balance between providing support for their children and ensuring they have their own supports as well.
In-laws can offer to provide childcare as well if proximity allows. Otherwise, remaining encouraging and engaged in the progress and treatment options is an excellent way to continue to provide support. Actively seeking education about the condition can also help in-laws to better understand what to expect and how it is affecting the family as a whole.
Guidance/Information for Friends of Affected
Friends can also become affected by postpartum depression. As friends, it may at first be difficult to understand why the mother is withdrawing from social activities, acting distant or isolating herself. This is why it’s vital to friends to also seek education on the condition to better understand what to expect as the mother progresses.
Friends can provide support by remaining encouraging and inclusive of the mother as she recovers. Remember, that even if she doesn’t seem interested or continues to act withdrawn, the interest and concern is still very helpful in allowing the mother to heal and continue to feel supported.
Guidance/Information for Coworkers of Affected
Often times, co-workers are overlooked or left out of the loop when it comes to a mother suffering from postpartum depression. Yet, coworkers are a large part of the woman’s life. Coworkers can continue to communicate with the mother and her family during her maternity leave and as she faces this difficult time.
If there are a group of coworkers, it may be best to designate one person as the communicator who can check in on behalf of the workplace to offer support, encouragement and arrange visits.
The continued support and encouragement of the mother’s wide range of family members, friends and coworkers can help to reduce the symptoms of postpartum depression and create a more positive road to recovery.