So how can you help a mom who is dealing with postpartum depression? What can you say or do? Or what should you NOT say or do?
Don’t offer to hold the baby while mom does the laundry/dishes/cleaning/cooking. Offer to do the work instead!
Don’t tell mom to pick herself up by her bootstraps/keep a stiff upper lip/think about all the good things she has. Postpartum depression is not something you can think your way out of – it cannot be cured by will alone. Telling a woman suffering from postpartum depression (or any other kind of depression for that matter) to pick herself up will just make her feel like a failure.
Do take any talk about suicide or the family or baby being “better off without her” seriously. Know the numbers for suicide hotlines and have them available. Know what to do in a crisis situation.
Do offer help to the other care providers – if mom is barely able to function, then others in her family are taking care of both her and the new baby. They need a break too – ask them if there is anything you can do to help.
If you are the main support for mom, ask for help. Take a break if you can. Call on other friends and family to give you the support YOU need.
Do be prepared in advance – know the signs and symptoms of postpartum depression. Take action early.
For more Don’ts: TODAY Moms.