So, last week I wrote about Chrissy Teigen’s essay in Glamour about her struggles with Postpartum Depression (PPD). Up to 80% of postpartum parents suffer for a Postpartum Mood Disorder (PMD), yet we generally feel extremely uncomfortable when discussing and dealing with these issues.
Many of us have suffered through PPD or other mental health struggles and it can be excruciatingly painful; but it is also hard for those who are in our lives and trying to support us. So, below are my top 5 tips for helping support someone with PPD (or any other mental health issues really).
3. Listen To Them & Watch Your Words
Take time to listen to them, no matter what they have to say that day. Use active listening skills to show that you are 100% invested in listening and supporting them – not just sharing your own opinions and listening to the sound of your own voice.
Even on the best of days our words can hurt others against our best intentions; but when we are suffering from a mood disorder we can be hypersensitive and interpret words more harshly than intended. Here are some articles on things to say and things not to say to a parent suffering from postpartum depression. Take time to applaud their accomplishments – sometimes taking a shower is a big win for the day – however beware not to do so in a way that can come of a patronizing or condescending.
4. Provide In-Person Support
Phone calls and texting are amazing tools of communication, but having someone help you in person is essential to feeling loved and supported. Providing support for someone with PPD is priceless. Helping with things like food/meal prep, household duties, and childcare cane really help a new parent feel like they can invest their energy into other things, like self-care and getting enough rest.
5. Ask, Don't Assume
The best thing you can do when trying to help someone is ask them what would be helpful, don’t just assume what you think is helpful. You might like being present but maybe they need some space; you might take the kids for them, but they might want company and someone to just be there. Asking a new parent what would benefit them most allows you support them in the way that would suit them best – not what would suit you best.
So, that's it, my 5 tips for supporting someone with a PMD - or any other mental health issues. Hopefully you find this helpful in your daily life. Can you think of anything else I might have missed? Let me know!
I'm a doula and nurse who is passionate about creating happy and healthy moms, babies and families. Currently living in Guelph, Ontario while breaking into the world of business and enjoying the four beautiful (and often very crazy) boys in my life.