Support for Friends of the Affected
If postpartum depression has affected your friend, you many be concerned about how to best support her. She may be showing signs of withdrawing from your friendship or it may feel as though she is ignoring your attempts to reach out for help.
Here are some tips on the best ways to help your friend and continue to offer support as she recovers from postpartum depression.
Know the Symptoms
It can be difficult if your once social and outgoing friend has suddenly withdrawn and isolated herself from her friends. But this is one of the most prominent symptoms of postpartum depression that friends will likely notice in the new mother.
It’s vital to be aware of postpartum depression symptoms so you can understand that it’s not her but rather her condition that is causing her to withdraw from your friendship.
As your friend starts to seek treatment, it’s important to be available to listen when she is ready to talk. You can support her by letting her know that you care for her and that you want to know how she is doing. While you don’t want to force her to talk about her feelings when she isn’t ready, you can continue to remind her of your support by letting her know you are available.
Suggest Social Activities
A great way to show support for your friend who is suffering from postpartum depression is to invite her to social events and gatherings. Even if she declines or doesn’t show interest, the invitation can still help her to feel included and supported while she recovers.
If she isn’t ready for large social settings, then invite her to go for a walk or coffee or other low-key activities. This will take the pressure off of having to seem happy which can cause mothers with postpartum depression to feel guilt and shame.
Attend Support Groups With Her
If your friend expresses interest in attending postpartum depression support groups then encourage her to go by offering to attend with her. Anxiety and depression can limit a mother’s willingness to attend support groups. By encouraging her and participating as well,you may find she is more likely to want to attend and be open to this type of resource.
Consider Her Level of Family Support
The ability for a woman to reach a healthy postpartum depression recovery is largely dependent on the level of support she has in her life. If your friend doesn’t have family close by, or her doesn’t have a spouse, she will likely require the support of her friends.
By being aware of this, you can ensure that she is receiving adequate support from her friends to ensure she recovers from postpartum depression.
Encourage Diet and Exercise
Part of recovering from childbirth is ensuring that the mother’s body refuels and reenergizes. As her friend, you can help the new mother take better care of herself by encouraging a healthy routine of diet and exercise.
Join her for yoga or other workout sessions. By having someone to exercise with, it can help make her more willing to do physical activity when she knows she isn’t alone.
Helping her to grocery shop, prepare food and discover new healthy recipes is also another way to support and encourage her and ensure she is receiving appropriate nutrition.
Acknowledge Her Progress
One of the best ways to help support your friend who is suffering from postpartum depression is to pay close attention to her progress. If she seems to be improving or if she is managing her symptoms better, tell her that you are noticing progress. Point out specific details of the improvements you’re seeing and encourage her to continue.
You can also acknowledge her progress by telling you her you see how hard she is working. Many new mothers with postpartum depression feel guilt that they aren’t working hard enough or doing enough. By finding positive items in her struggle you can help encourage her to continue seeking treatment. In turn, this helps her to recover faster and regain her health.