Postpartum Depression Support
Family members and friends must learn how to cope with the postpartum depression of their loved one. It is common for loved ones to feel helpless watching someone they love suffer from postpartum depression. Often times, it leads to their own depression, anxiety or sadness.
These feelings are normal and understandable. Luckily, there are plenty of resources available to help loved ones cope with this condition.
Regardless of your relationship with the mother, follow these helpful tips 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 the mother in activities or events
- Seek your own support or counseling
- Get enough rest, exercise and continue to stick to healthy habits
- Educate yourself about the condition so you know what to expect
Guidance for Husbands/Partners
It can be a devastating feeling to watch your spouse suffer from postpartum depression. It may seem like an endless illness, so it is normal to feel hopeless or even frustrated.
There is no immediate solution to PPD. However, the condition will pass, provided the whole family is taking the right steps toward recovery.
Husbands can help improve the situation and heal themselves by:
- Committing to open communication with his spouse
- Seeking therapy on his own
- Finding his own support network
A husband’s support network may include his own parents, siblings, friends, co-workers or even other husbands affected by PPD. Husbands and partners can provide better support for their spouse by seeking their own support.
Guidance for Siblings
Siblings of mothers affected by PPD may also find it difficult to cope with their sister’s condition. Remain open to communication with your loved one, educate yourself on the effects of postpartum depression and remain supportive of treatment options. This can all provide a basis toward positive and healthy healing.
Siblings should also try to keep the lines of communication open with their parents and their sister’s spouse. This helps ensure all loved ones have a better understanding of the mother’s progress.
Guidance for Other Children
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 is important for family members to include the other children in the process with open communication.
While other children may not fully understand, they should receive reassurance that their mother is receiving treatment and that her condition will not last forever. Often this responsibility falls on the father, grandparents or aunts and uncles.
Guidance for 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.
There are some things that parents can do to help provide support while maintaining their own health and wellness. Parents can offer support with childcare, take their daughter to appointments or offer to help out around the home.
Parents and the husband or partner of the mother battling PPD should communicate openly about progress and treatment options. This ensures that each family member can continue to encourage and support their loved one.
Guidance for In-Laws
In-laws are another set of family members who become affected by a mother’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.
In-laws can offer to provide childcare if proximity allows. Otherwise, they can provide support through encouragement and by staying engaged in the progress and treatment options. Actively seeking education about the condition can also help in-laws to better understand what to expect and how the condition affects the family as a whole.
Guidance for Friends
Friends can also become affected by postpartum depression. It can be difficult to understand why the mother is withdrawing from social activities, acting distant or isolating herself. Friends should 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. Even if she doesn’t seem interested or continues to act withdrawn, support and concern is still helpful in allowing the mother to heal.
Guidance for Co-Workers
Often times, co-workers are overlooked or left out of the loop when a mother suffers from postpartum depression. Co-workers are a large part of the woman’s life, so they can continue to communicate with the mother and her family as she faces this difficult time.
If a group of co-workers are concerned for the affected mother, it may be best to designate one person as the communicator. This person can check in on behalf of the workplace to offer support, encouragement and arrange visits.
The continued support and encouragement of family members, friends and co-workers can help reduce the symptoms of postpartum depression and create a more positive road to recovery.