Ask a Therapist: What Can I Do If I'm Worried about a New Mom who Seems Depressed?
Postpartum depression threatens the mother’s and partner’s health, relationship, friendships and careers, as well as the baby’s welfare. Dealing with issues of day-to-day living becomes a special challenge. With patience and understanding, you can give invaluable support and assist a depressed mother’s recovery. Here are some suggestions:
1. Encourage her to seek the help of a physician and/or psychiatrist. An evaluation is important and medication may be very helpful. There are some medications that are considered safe during breastfeeding. It is important to consult a physician.
2. Encourage her to seek psychotherapy. Professional expertise can provide help and ease a mom’s suffering quicker.
3. Encourage her to exercise and take time for herself.
4. Encourage her to join a PPD support group.
5. Help her develop a schedule with one or two simple tasks.
6. Notice when she makes an effort and tell her.
7. Don’t take her criticism personally.
Remember: You are justified in being frustrated with her attitude and actions, but be sure to direct your anger at the situation and her illness, not at her. She is doing the best she can in her current condition.
Be aware that you can get depressed yourself, and may need help as well. Talk to a friend, physician, or therapist.
Check out the Postpartum Dad’s website: http://www.postpartumdads.org/
**Adapted from Postpartum Education for Parents