How You Can Support Recovery from PPD
Moms with a maternal mental illness like postpartum depression (PPD) or postpartum anxiety (PPA) need understanding, compassion and support. To help your partner or loved one on her path towards recovery we’ve put together a quick list of practical things you can do now to offer support.
Being sleep deprived makes everything more difficult let alone when you are dealing with a new baby and mental health complications. Prioritizing mom’s sleep can make a huge difference in her recovery and ongoing emotional health. This might mean offering to care for the baby while she goes to bed early. Think about bringing her the baby for feedings or possibly letting her sleep in on weekends to try and catch up. Talk to your Doula about practical ways to arrange your sleep environment and even sleep schedule to give your partner the chance to rest.
Reducing the stress a new mom feels in even the smallest ways can help her feel less overwhelmed. Some ideas include: having the house cleaned once a week, taking over meal prep and cooking, doing all the laundry, and giving her a break from the baby so she can have time to herself every day. This may also include accepting help from friends or family to pitch in with the work load.
Being the partner or a loved one of a mom suffering from PPD/PPA can be really difficult because all you want to do if fix the problem and make it all go away. But you can’t. Recovery is a gradual process and creating a safe space for her to share how she’s feeling without offering advice is important. Focus on listening and do your best to empathize with her feelings. This isn’t what she signed up for either.
While we know that having a supportive partner and family/friends makes a huge difference, we also know that it’s extremely important for moms to reach out to professionals in their community to ensure they are being properly cared for. You can help her in making any phone calls to set up medical appointments, support her in remembering to take medication at the correct times, and providing lots of encouragement to follow through with her treatment plan.
Above all she needs to know she’s not alone and that you love and support her. Remind her every chance you get that she can and will get through this!