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If you're a woman who has suffered with depression after giving birth, you probably felt much worse after acquaintances asked "But how can you be sad with the new blessing in your life? Such a cute, helpless baby..."
If you've ever made such a remark to a woman depressed after bringing new life into the world, please don't say it again. Ever.
Postpartum Depression strikes no matter how the baby looks and it doesn't care what you think, either. The main concern here is getting Mama to be happy again. And she has a BIG struggle ahead of her.
Let's turn this sad phenomenon into a better situation. Do Momma and baby (and maybe the rest of the family) a favor: help out in practical ways.
- Babysit so that Mom can get some quality sleep.
- Sit down and share a nutricious meal with her (she might not be eating well due to the depression).
- Put in a load of laundry, then fold it and put things away as Mom directs your helpful efforts.
- Make sure there are enough diapers in the house, that other children are bathed, fed, and tended to with games and stories.
Your help can be very soothing. Keep up a friendly face and do not scold a new mother for experiencing extreme sadness when you think it is time for her to be happy. She's not quite in control of her emotions. And nobody ever takes orders to change their moods. Emotions just don't work that way.
PD is physically exhausting. The affected woman has a hard time with motivation as well as with a lack of energy to fulfill her responsibilities.
If the situation seems bleak, getting worse over time, see if you can coax Mom (and Dad) into getting some counseling. The GOOD NEWS is that a competent therapist can help to improve the situation. As a matter of fact, therapy can help to PREVENT things from getting worse. Suggest it in a friendly way. No threats, no dire warning, just warm, reassuring concern for the woman's welfare is what's called for.
Here's more good news about PD: Part of the Postpartum Depression problem is chemical and might soon be curable. Scientists at the National Institutes of Health believe they've identified the culprit, BUT they haven't figured out why Postpartum Depression affects some women and not others. Researchers are seeking cures for the problem. They're even seeking preventatives! CLICK HERE for details.
The other part of the problem could be that the woman is overwhelmed with new responsibilites and nobody is helping her as necessary. Practical assistance and a nonjudgmental attitude from you can go a l-o-o-o-ng way to curing Mom from her depression. She'll feel hopeful, grateful, relieved, and, well, you get the idea.
Mom, you go right ahead and delegate responsibilities to friends and family who probably want to help you. Let them.
If your family members (especially Dad) don't help you, consider getting a therapist who can suggest solutions to the problem. Not all men understand the strain of caring for a helpless infant who keeps irregular hours and can't do anything on his/her own except soil diapers, eat and cry.
Read my book for ideas about how to beat the Baby Blues. The mental health strategies in It's MY Crisis! And I'll Cry if I Need To can help to improve almost any stressful situation.
To your good health, and that of the new baby,
Coping with a Medical Crisis?
Make the Changes You Need in Your Life.