Sometimes, after a young mother comes back home cradling her darling little angel in her arms, she might not experience the same euphoria that she had expected. Instead of happiness breaking all bounds, she may be feeling exhausted, weepy or anxious. These ‘baby blues’ will pass in a few weeks, but if it does not then she might be suffering from Postpartum Depression (PPD). In such a case, it is important to remind her that she can forge a strong mother-child relationship and nourish her baby. Here are some ways to help a woman out of Postpartum Depression:
1. Instill Confidence In Her: According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, around 80% women suffer from Postpartum Depression. However, the severity of this kind of depression and its duration varies from mother to mother. After an exhaustive labor, the mother might be feeling weary and may want to keep away from her baby so that she can recuperate. She might also feel guilty for wanting to stay away from her baby for a while. It is important to understand that hormonal fluctuations are still continuing in the mother and at this point, she needs a comforting arm around her shoulder. Remind her how great a mother she can be and that you know this because you have seen the enthusiasm with which she decorated her baby’s nursery. You will be surprised by the wonders a little encouragement can do, for the mother and child.
2. Listen To Her: While you egg her on to follow through with the challenge of raising a child, it is also necessary to listen to her. Her anxieties and woes are just as important as are the baby’s needs. If she feels neglected, she is not going to have the heart or the courage to take care of her little one. Her mood swings should be patiently dealt with, and that can only happen if she believes that she can talk to someone. Don’t judge her for the way she feels, let alone criticize her. Remember to keep an open mind when you lend her your ear because that is what she needs right now and expects of you.
3. Get Her Outdoors: If your friend has been staying indoors, it’s about time she could use a breath of fresh air. Take her shopping, a stroll through the park, or take her out to brunch to her favorite restaurant. Take her to an interesting symposium or a recital. Get her to go out and meet people. It will take her mind off things and help calm her cramps and her nerves! You need to get her out in the sun to lift her spirit. Increased interaction, sunshine and adequate physical activity can help her emerge out of post-birth depression.
4. Help Her Out: Mothers dealing with PPD might feel lethargic and have a bad taste in their mouth about everything around them. Also, the mood swings coupled with all the work around the house can put her in a really bad place. You could ease her life if you took some time and helped her out. You can help her with the laundry and dust the house. Or you could make a quick dinner while she sat at the kitchen table and made conversation. She will have lost a lot of sleep in the initial days, so helping out with the baby will be a big plus.
5. Seek Professional Help: If all else fails, you should consider seeking professional advice for your friend. Usually, PPD lasts for a few weeks and then subsides. It happens due to the raging hormones during pregnancy and followed by the exhaustion during labor. However, if the PPD continues, a doctor can help you best. Psychologists, therapists and support groups are beneficial and can be a great source of help in dealing with PPD. So encourage your friend to reach out for these support mechanisms before it is too late.
Mothers undergoing postpartum depression require constant support from their loved ones. They need to be reassured that they can raise the beautiful gift they brought home, and will do a good job at it. Remind them not to be hard on themselves for being unable to be the mother they had planned to be to their little one. It is a phase, and it will pass. Just remind them to be patient and hold on until it does.