How can the husband and family support moms with "Postpartum Depression"?
In my previous article I talked about the natural changes that the mother undergoes after birth, which may lead to what is known as "postpartum depression." I also talked about some of the symptoms that warn for mother having postpartum depression, and the need to intervene to help her.
Postpartum Depression is one of the most common complications of childbirth, and although it affects the mother alone, it puts an extreme burden on the entire family.
So, what is the role of the family? And how can it help the mother get through this safely?
It’s very difficult to see your beloved spouse/friend become a parent in ways that weren’t expected. It’s very important to remember however that this is a disease and the mother is not to blame for this; she is most likely as shocked as everyone else. Fortunately, this disorder is treatable with the right support and professional help.
What are some of the signs to look out for?
- Crying spells
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Feeling of guilt and being a “bad mother”
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Feeling exhausted
- Lack of bonding with the baby/lack of interest in the baby
- Lack of self-care (eating, showering etc.)
- Inability to sleep even when the baby is sleeping
- Appetite changes
- Loss of interest, joy or pleasure in things she used to enjoy
How can we help her?
- Reassuring her that it’s not her fault and you are here to help and support her
- Be a non-judgmental listener by saying things like: “I know we can work this out, I am listening”
- Help with housework/cooking/driving other kids to school etc.
- Don’t expect her to be a “super-housewife” just because she is home all day
- Encourage her to take time for herself to re-energize and do things that make her relax or rest
- Taking turns to feed the baby at night so she can get uninterrupted rest
- Ask her how exactly you can help her being less overwhelmed with taking care of the baby