Postpartum depression is a scary battle and perhaps, very hard to understand if you’ve never dealt with it. In this post, I want to talk about 14 small, but meaningful things to do for a friend with PPD.
There’s the saying it’s the little things, and that is so true when suffering from a mental health condition. The little things can make or break a person, and it’s those little things that people will always remember.
Do you have a friend that is struggling with postpartum depression, and you want to help her? Keep reading for my 14 small, but meaningful things to do for a friend with PPD.
Learn about PPD so you can begin to understand what she is going through.
First, I want you, the friend, to know a few things about postpartum depression. It’s a real and serious condition and your friend needs you know more than ever. If you would like to read more, here is my article on PPD and the resources for help.
It’s also important to recognize the signs of postpartum depression and the seriousness of the signs.
Recognize the signs.
It’s important to recognize the signs that your friend, does indeed, have PPD, or maybe she even told you and your not quite sure how to offer her support.
If she told you that she may have PPD and that it’s no big deal, please don’t shrug that off! She may say that it’s no big deal, but inside, she is very well struggling– so please know the signs and monitor her.
Be aware if your friend is displaying these following signs:
- loss of interest/being withdrawn
- extreme sadness
- an extreme sense that she is overwhelmed and unhappy
- being angry/snapping at small stuff
- not taking care of herself or baby
- speaking about herself or harming baby
Far too often, us moms pretend to be okay because we believe that we can handle it all– with PPD, believing to handle it all is a true recipe for disaster because it can make the PPD that much more intense. If you can recognize your friend’s signs and get a handle on how serious they are, then you can begin to offer her support.
Know the seriousness of each sign.
Not sure if your friend is over-tired and over-whelmed, or really struggling with PPD?
Consider the answer to each question listed below:
She is withdrawn and shows no interest in activities she once loved to do. This is something to be concerned about, especially if she was once an outgoing and active person. Does she give an excuse as to why she can’t go out, or does she say that she doesn’t want to do anything? Is she constantly making excuses as to why she doesn’t want to do anything?
You notice that she seems sadder than normal. Is she constantly down in the dumps? Is there a reason behind the sadness, that you know of, or does it come out of the blue?
You notice that she seems extremely overwhelmed and unhappy. Are the typical every-day things making her seem unhappy? Is she overwhelmed when you see her– for example, saying that she can’t handle the kids or doesn’t want to? Has she mentioned that every task seems so daunting and challenging for her to complete?
Does she seem like an angrier person? Is it out of context for her to be an angry person? Is she getting angry over small stuff? Is she snapping at small stuff– for example, the children being too loud or the baby not sleeping?
Has she stopped taking care of herself? Was she once a person to care about her appearance, and now she doesn’t? To what extreme is this– is she not showering at all? Is her house dirtier than normal? Is her baby not being bathed or properly groomed?
Does she ever talk about harming herself? Even in a joking matter, has she ever mentioned harming herself? Does she frequently bring up suicide or has she mentioned not being around? Does she seem like she could harm herself? Does she ever talk about harming baby? Does she seem overwhelmed to the point of frustrated and therefore, may harm her baby? This is the most serious sign and action needs to be taken right away.
Remember, you know your friend, you know what is normal and what is it– make sure to be an advocate for her in this time of need.
1 .Offer to babysit while she gets a few hours to herself. Having time for herself is so important and she will appreciate the gesture.
2. Offer to babysit for a date night.
2. Be an open ear for her to vent to. Let her bitch and vent about it all– and no judging.
3 .Give her a ‘just because’ gift like flowers or a simple card to cheer her up.
4. Bring her a coffee from Starbucks or her favorite treat, and sit down and talk with each-other. Nothing warms the soul quite as much as coffee and good conversation with a friend.
5. Let her know that she IS an amazing mother and that she’s NOT alone in this.
6. Don’t take it personal when she cancels plans or doesn’t reply to your messages right away– let her know that your still here for her. Often, people that suffer from depression (as well as PPD) withdraw from social situations and keep to themselves. They WANT to interact with friends and get out there, but it’s just too hard some days. Don’t lose faith in her, and let her know that.
7. Plan a day out with her doing something fun.
8. Plan a day at home with Netflix and junk food.
9. Cook and bring her a meal one night to get the burden of dinner off her mind. Trust me– this would be more appreciated than you may know, because even a simple task like cooking dinner can feel like a marathon.
10. Be a shoulder for her to cry on.
11. Come over her house and watch the baby/play with the kids while she can clean or nap.
12. Come over her house and help her clean.
13. Bring her over take-out from her favorite restaurant.
14. Spend time with her, in the silence, if that’s what she wants. Lastly, your friend just wants that, a friend–not a therapist, a doctor or another mother.
Here are also some amazing resources (my favorite) for all things PPD:
I hope you found my 14 small, but meaningful things to do for a friend with PPD helpful. Please let me know what you thought about my list and also, I want to hear how you help a friend when they are in need.