Ogbugoh Terundu Joy Esq.
Postpartum depression also referred to as PPD is a disorder experienced by women after delivery. 1 in 5 women would experience postpartum depression in their life time.
This disorder comes with feelings of hopelessness and total disconnection from the baby, lost of interest in usual activities thereby causing social withdrawal, frustration, restlessness, continually obsessing over the child yet feeling like she is not doing enough, insomnia, panic attacks and in extreme cases, thoughts of harming the baby and herself.
As a friend to a woman dealing with PPD, you have to understand that she is helpless and did not choose to feel that way. It is a medical condition almost beyond her control. To help her deal with this disorder, do the following:
Get Medical Help. Postpartum depression can be treated with drugs and psychotherapy. Helping her get to the hospital to get the professional help she needs is key.
Encourage Her. A woman experiencing postpartum depression most likely feels she is a terrible mum and may hate herself for it. She might nurse the fear she might never be a good mum.
What you can do is to lift up her moods by by telling her that PPD is a temporary condition experienced by many women who eventually overcame it. Tell her that she is a good mom doing the best that she can even though she doesn’t feel like it.
Applaud the efforts she makes, even if they are as little as breastfeeding. Remember not to judge or treat her like she is crazy and needs spiritual help. This may worsen her mood. Always remind her that, PPD is temporary.
Be Physically Present: A PPD mom feels completely alone and misunderstands. She is concerned about being judged for being the bad mom she thinks she is and not wanting much to do with her baby. You can help by visiting her, calling and texting as much as you can. If you are physically present, sometimes, just holding the baby for her will go a long way to ease her stress.
Help out with chores. A PPD mom is not thinking of doing dishes, cooking or even going to grab some groceries at the store even though she needs it, so volunteer to help her clean her home, do her shopping and cook. This will bring so much relief to the new mum.
Help watch the newborn. The baby is often affected when mum is dealing with PPD. Offer to watch the baby so mum can get some sleep.