Support for Parents of the Affected Patient
If you have a child who is suffering from postpartum depression, you may be concerned about how to approach the situation. It may seem daunting to know what to say and how to act when your child is struggling. Additionally, you may be wondering how to offer support without overwhelming her.
Here is some guidance for parents to follow when their child is suffering from postpartum depression.
If your daughter is exhibiting signs of depression after giving birth, it can be difficult to fully understand her struggle. Communicating openly with her about how she feels will help you to understand her symptoms. If she is reluctant to discuss her condition, you can provide encouragement and support by letting her know you are there when she is ready to talk about it.
It is important to communicate with the rest of the family as well as your daughter. This includes her spouse, siblings and in-laws if necessary. Everyone affected should be aware of the symptoms and effects of the condition so they aren’t left the dark.
Stay in Touch
Whether you live nearby or not, continue to stay in touch with your daughter even after she starts treatment. Postpartum depression symptoms can be chronic and can change over time for many women.
Staying in touch allows you to track her progress and offer support during the treatment process. The most important thing is to ensure she doesn’t feel left alone, as research has shown that this can worsen and aggravate symptoms. It may even prevent a woman from healing fully from postpartum depression.
Offer to Help
If proximity allows, arrange regular visits with your daughter and her family to check in. This lets her know you are continuing to support her. Offer to help her with housework, grocery shopping or chores so she can rest and not worry about additional stress.
Many women forget to eat or ignore their appetite during postpartum depression. Other self-care habits often get dropped as well. Offering support in preparing food, doing laundry and helping with other chores can help the mother maintain her health during this time.
If your daughter has other children in addition to the newborn, offer to look after them or to take them to appointments, classes or school. The relief of this responsibility will be a big weight off the parents and will also help the other children as well.
Because postpartum depression causes several different symptoms including fatigue, it’s important for someone to attend doctor’s appointments with the affected woman. As parents, offering to take her to appointments or attend them with her is a great way to stay in the loop regarding her progress while offering your support.
Avoid Overwhelming Her
As a parent, it is natural for you to want to protect your daughter and ensure her well-being is looked after. However, it is necessary to find a balance and not overwhelm her with support. Offering to help is a great way to show support — but if she resists, don’t force it on her. Attempting to fix the situation may make increase her feelings of guilt or anxiety.
Instead, listen to her needs and trust that she will ask you for help when she is ready.
Support Her Decisions
If your child and her spouse choose to pursue medication or therapy as part of treatment for postpartum depression, it’s important to support them in their decision. Seeking treatment as prescribed by medical and mental health professionals is vital to the recovery process.
Your support will be a fantastic asset to your daughter as she recovers, because treatment may be unfamiliar territory for her. Remind her that she is doing the right thing and that with ongoing therapy and/or medication she will eventually heal from her postpartum depression symptoms.