14 Small, but Meaningful Things to do For a Friend With PPD

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.

 

But first……

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.

 

14 Small, but Meaningful Things to do For a Friend With PPD

 

 

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  • loss of interest/being withdrawn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She is withdrawn and shows no interest in activities she once loved to do.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?

 

The anger.

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?

 

The self-harming.

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.

14 Small, but Meaningful Things to do For a Friend With PPD

 

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.

The Truth About Postpartum Depression and the Resources to Help You

I’m not sure why I’m just making this post now, but it’s better late than never, right? I know that I talk a lot about my struggle with postpartum depression, and I talk about other postpartum issues, and now I will talk about the truth about postpartum depression and the resources to help you.

 

The truth about postpartum depression and the resources to help you

 

 

If you’re not familiar with my story, I struggled with postpartum depression after my second son was born. He is now 15 months and I am, slowly, getting over it– but it’s been no easy journey.

I kind of knew that something wasn’t right, but for many many months, I pushed those feelings aside. I thought that it was the baby blues hitting me at full-force and eventually, I would feel better again but man, was I wrong, because what I was really dealing with was postpartum depression.

 

You can read my post on the differences between the baby blues and postpartum depression.

I wish I knew a lot sooner that I was really going through postpartum depression.

The Truth About Postpartum Depression and the Resources to Help You

 

I’m here to reach out to other mamas that may be going through the exact same thing that I went through.

Postpartum depression is a very serious condition that, when treated early enough, can be treated fairly easily. However, if treatment is delayed, it can take much longer to overcome the postpartum depression– again, I’m speaking from my own personal experience.

Maybe you are unfamiliar with postpartum depression and have no idea what it even is, because let’s face it– postpartum issues, along with mental health, aren’t talked about nearly as much as they should be. I want every mom to know what postpartum depression is, and the truth about it, because you can potentially save a life.

 

The Truth About Postpartum Depression and Resources for Help

 

Not sure what the signs of postpartum are? Here are the 8 common signs:

 

The Truth About Postpartum Depression and the Resources to Help You

Now that you know the common signs to look for, let’s get to the truth about postpartum depression.

 

 

What causes postpartum depression?

Postpartum depression is caused by all of those crazy hormones fluctuating after baby is born. Unfortunately, there is no preventing postpartum depression, but the good news is, the sooner that PPD is diagnosed, the faster it can be recovered.

The Truth About Postpartum Depression and the Resources to Help You

 

 

Postpartum depression is a serious condition.

If you are displaying the signs listed above, and they aren’t fading away within 2 weeks, then there is a strong chance that you do have PPD.

Postpartum depression IS a serious condition that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later– the sooner you can get help for it, the better!

As soon as you have ANY thoughts of extreme sadness or even harmful thoughts, that is when it’s time to seek the help that you need.

 

There are so many resources out there.

Going through something as scary and isolating as PPD may have you feeling like you are alone in this but I want you to know, you are not!

There are so many more women out there that have been through this then you think.

There are A TON of resources for mamas, just like yourself, that are going through the exact same thing.

Here is where you can find some great resources for postpartum depression, along with other postpartum issues (such as PPA or postpartum psychosis.)

 

Included are lists of helpful websites, articles, facebook groups, telephone numbers and more.

The Truth About Postpartum Depression and the Resources to Help You

If you have thoughts of harming yourself or your baby, PLEASE reach out to these resources immediately, you can also reach out to me. I am here and I will listen.

 

The Truth About Postpartum Depression and the Resources to Help You

 

The Truth About Postpartum Depression and the Resources to Help You

 

My favorite resources on postpartum depression.

 I have listed some of my favorite websites that I go to for support on PPD. (these resources are included in my post above, but to save you some time, I listed them below. If you would like to see the full list of resources, you can find them here.)

 

The Truth About Postpartum Depression and the Resources to Help You

The Truth About Postpartum Depression and the Resources to Help You

The Truth About Postpartum Depression and the Resources to Help You

 

Postpartum depression is NOT the same as the baby blues.

Like I stated above, there is a BIG difference between postpartum depression and the baby blues.

If your extreme sadness and anger are NOT going away, then you don’t have the baby blues. Please let someone you trust know this!

There is a big misconception about this and it needs to be fully addressed– postpartum depression is way more serious then the baby blues so if you believe that you have PPD, trust in yourself and get the help you deserve.

 

Postpartum depression doesn’t mean you’re a bad mom.

The mom-guilt that comes along with PPD is fierce and unforgiving– but it doesn’t make you a bad mother and it especially doesn’t mean that you don’t love your baby.

Don’t let the monsters in your head win the fight– you are an amazing and strong mama that can overcome this!

Please remember mama: there are SO MANY women out there that will understand and support what you are going through, so please now this and reach out.

I want to hear about your postpartum depression journey– share your story with me, and other mamas. I offer a safe platform to get your brave story across to mamas that are going through the exact same struggle as you. <3

 

Why Self-Care is Important for Every Mom

It can be something as small as making sure you drink enough water and take your daily medication, to going to your yearly dental exam.

Not sure where to start?

Trust me, mama, I now all about not making enough time for myself. It’s tough when you’re a busy mom! I have two toddlers to chase after…I can barely go to the bathroom alone!

Since I became a mom, I strongly believe now that self-care is important for every mom.

I’m an example of why self-care is important for every mom.

I’ll use myself as a good example of why every mom needs some self-care in her life.

After I became a mom, I stopped taking care of myself. I would feel guilty if I did ANYTHING just for ME. Yes, true! I would consume all of my time and energy into my newborn baby boy…and when I would practice self-care, well, the guilt would be so unbearable that I wouldn’t do anything else for myself months and months later.

This was a CRAZY thought in my head, but– I believed that doing things for MYSELF made me a bad mom.

After my second son was born, I was diagnosed with postpartum depression. I would literally be running on E, yet I would STILL be giving my family every last bit of my energy and happiness. That was the ultimate recipe for disaster, and it made me a very moody mama!

I started taking care of myself and I was slowly brought back to life….I began to make MYSELF a priority again!

 

Self-care can be easy.

I will tell you that self-care is easier than you may have imagined, mama.

Are you stuck and need some self-care inspiration? Or, maybe you need that extra nudge to start doing something for yourself.

 

I put together a list of some really great ideas for self-care.

It’s totally free!

Start taking care of yourself and find out why self-care is important for every mom.

After you tried my ideas, please let me know what you think!

 

Amanda’s Postpartum Depression and Anxiety Story

Amanda’s story

{previously featured on Legally Mommy}

 

 

 


 

I never wanted to be a Mother.

I never fantasized about baby names, or nursery décor. I didn’t swoon over infants. In fact, I was terrified of them (and still am).

I had grown up, an only child, in an alcoholic and abusive home. To this day, I remember virtually nothing about my childhood: it’s been completely erased in my mind. I grew up quickly, with an insatiable (and unrealistic) desire to succeed. I was a perfectionist in every sense of the word.

The law school days

When I was accepted into law school in 2011, my boyfriend (now fiancée) and I decided that I would move 3 and a half hours away to another province to attend school while he’d stay here in the house we had bought the year before. I was excited to begin a new adventure. I knew I would miss him, but I (mistakenly) thought I was strong enough to get through the year on my own.

Once I moved and began school, I experienced the crushing loneliness and abandonment I had experienced in childhood all over again. I was alone, and I had no one. I was miserable, and quickly fell into a depression. I had always been prone to anxiety and depression, so this came easy to me – and without much warning. I began to fantasize about what I presumed would be my ‘happily ever after.’ For the first time in my life, I wanted to be a Mother. It was foreign and new, but I adopted the idea with my usual fervour. I wanted someone to need me, and to never leave my side. I thought having a baby was the answer. After my first year of school ended and I moved back home, we started entertaining the idea of starting a family. The timing was horrible, but my desire consumed me. I thought I was ready.

Weeeeeee’re pregnant?!

Fast forward to October 10, 2012, a day I’ll never forget.

As soon as I saw “YES +” glaring back at me on the pregnancy test, my stomach instantly sunk. It was not at all how I expected to feel, but in that moment I had absolutely no control over my emotions.

We had wanted this. In a sense, we had planned this – I just didn’t plan on it happening so quickly.

I instantly began to feel anxious. I dismissed it as normal pregnancy nerves. In hindsight, I should have talked to someone about it right away. We also found out that my maternal serum screening numbers had come back a bit high, and we’d have to have a “level 2” or higher risk ultrasound done. We were lucky to see our baby girl at 10 weeks and again at 12 and 20 weeks. At our 20 week ultrasound, they noticed some spots on her heart: a ‘soft marker’ for Down Syndrome. They said it was likely nothing, but they offered us an amniocentesis just in case. We opted not to. They sent us home, and told us that these ‘bright spots’ were fairly common. My fiancée spent the rest of my pregnancy with “99.6%” written on his arm in permanent marker: the chance our baby would be born without Down Syndrome.

The odds were definitely in our favor, but I was still terrified. Not only because of these markers – but also because I didn’t feel one bit ready for motherhood. No amount of reading, nursery prep or prenatal classes changed that. I never once had that ‘peaceful’ feeling. I was terrified for 100% of my pregnancy. As I mentioned, I had always been an anxious person, but pregnancy (and – as I’d later learn – Motherhood) amplified that anxiety past the point where I could handle it on my own.

Absolute denial

As my due date approached, I was in complete denial. And when I went into labour five days past my due date, I tried to convince myself that the painful contractions I was feeling were just braxton hicks contractions. I was SO not ready.

My labour was fast. When I reluctantly arrived at the hospital, I was promptly admitted when they discovered I was 7 centimeters dilated. There was no time for an epidural. Labour was the easy part, even completely un-medicated. Our daughter was born four hours later, perfectly healthy. I felt numb. I was exhausted, but I couldn’t sleep. My mind was racing a million miles a minute.

Life after baby

Things got even worse when we left the hospital. My daughter developed a particularly awful case of acid reflux, and she was nursing around the clock. When she wasn’t nursing, she was crying constantly from the pain. She barely slept. When she did, I tossed and turned in bed beside her – anxiously anticipating her next cry and my next session of breastfeeding torture. I spent more nights than I wanted to hunched over her on the couch, trying to get her to latch until the sun came up. I barely ate that first month. Or slept. I just cried and cried. And that sums up the first month of her life.

The sadness and anxiety just wouldn’t go away. I was terrified to be alone with her. I refused to go out in public because I was constantly fearful that I would be judged for being a terrible mother. I felt zero connection to my beautiful daughter. I became resentful of my partner, and it almost broke us. I made plans to run away. I knew I couldn’t go far, but I just wanted to disappear and start over again. I tried to explain how I was feeling to my best friend – anyone who would listen. But no one could understand what it was I was going through. I searched high and low for support, and googled “Postpartum Depression” more times than I can count, only to be left in the dark. I felt like I was living someone else’s life. It was like a bad dream that never ended. I came across this list and instantly recognized myself in all the symptoms of postpartum depression.

Reaching out for help

Finally, a lifesaving Public Health nurse told me to head to the hospital and see the on-call Psychiatrist. I waited there for hours in the family waiting room, crying as I watched infomercials about sick babies as part of a fundraiser for a local children’s hospital. It was one of the first times I was away from my daughter, and I panicked knowing that she was low on pumped milk and would soon need to be nursed again.

When the Psychiatrist finally emerged, she told me I had three options: to be admitted, to take medication, or to do nothing.  She admitted that she had zero knowledge of how the drugs she was prescribing me were secreted into breastmilk, and told me I would have to discontinue breastfeeding immediately. She prescribed me Zoloft, a sleeping pill and Ativan. I debated and cried and cried some more. I hated breastfeeding with a fiery passion, but it felt like the only thing I was doing right – even though my daughter still cried in pain most of the time. But she was growing and it was because of me. I immediately stopped breastfeeding. I felt numb. Like a failure. Relieved. All at the same time. To this day, I still well up breastfeeding posts and photos. I feel like the world’s biggest failure. I even tried (unsuccessfully) to re-establish my supply when my daughter was six months old, because the guilt was all-consuming and exhausting.

Over time, after taking the Zoloft and talking with a therapist weekly, I was able to function a bit better. I was still paralyzed with anxiety, though, at times. I didn’t like leaving the house. I didn’t like when my daughter cried in public. I constantly felt –  and still do, sometimes – that I was her babysitter, and I was waiting for her real Mom to come pick her up. I sometimes forgot that I was even a Mother. I didn’t feel like one at all. I kept wondering: “when will things feel normal again? When will I get my old life back?” And I couldn’t, for the life of me, accept that this was my new normal. Every piece of my life was unrecognizable. I was a mess, and I hated every minute of it. Still, to this day, I can’t stand it when people ask: “Can’t you just not remember life before her?” Because all I CAN remember is life before her. It’s life AFTER her that’s a blur.

I have a long way to go, but I’m slowly getting there. And my beautiful daughter, who I love more than anyone else in the world, is turning 2 today. She’s the reason I will continue to fight for support for women like me experiencing postpartum depression and anxiety.

 

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3 Ways You Can Help Your Partner Through Postpartum Depression

In the early days of my battle with postpartum depression, it was a lonely and scary time for me.

It felt like nobody knew what I was going through.

If you have never experienced postpartum depression (basically every male on the planet) or even depression, it’s impossible to understand the daily struggle of it.

I imagine that it’s also very frustrating.

 I know how hard it was for my husband to see me suffer from something so debilitating– he even told me how lost he was on being able to help me.

Truthfully, while I was at my worst, I didn’t need someone to talk to (that was actually the last thing that I wanted)— I didn’t need a therapist for a husband. I just needed my husband. I just needed him there– period. There was no secret thing to say because this was my battle and he could gush out all those lovey-dovey words he could think of and it would still not be enough.

Man, that’s real exhausting, isn’t it?

I can’t tell you how guilty I would feel because I was putting my husband through my depression– silly, isn’t it? Isn’t that such a mom/wife thing? Even when we’re going through a terrible struggle, we’re still worried about other people.

 

Perhaps your partner is struggling with postpartum depression (or there’s a strong chance to believe that she is– read the difference between the baby blues and postpartum depression here) and you have no idea what to do for her. And maybe you feel like you really can’t do anything…but I promise you that you can…and even though it may feel like she doesn’t need you right now, she needs you now more than ever.

 

 

 

1. Let her know that she’s not alone.

You don’t have to understand what she’s going through but you do have to let her know that she isn’t alone in this; depression is a very lonely time and our mind can take us to some pretty dark and twisted places.

Let her know that you will weather this storm with her– this storm will pass.

Here are a few ways in which you can let your partner know that she’s not alone in this struggle:

*let her know that you are always available to talk.

*remind her that there are blogs, facebook groups, and an abundance of resources out there for ppd.

*remind her that no mom is ever perfect and it’s okay to not always love motherhood.

*sit up with her in the middle of the night when it’s the loneliest time for her.

*ask her, “how are you feeling today?”

*never make her feel wrong for having ppd.

*connect her with other moms that experienced ppd so she has someone to relate with.

 

I want to add– don’t be discouraged if she’d rather talk to other moms about her struggle than to talk about it with you. Remember: this isn’t about you…her choice to not share these emotions is her decision. Respect that and be grateful that she can share the struggle with someone else.

 

 

2. Offer her your support.

She needs you THE MOST right now so your support is very needed.

Here are a few ways in which you can offer your partner support:

*reassure her that she’s doing a fantastic job with motherhood.

*respect her boundaries of not wanting to share every emotion but always offer an open ear.

*when she does open up, let her vent about it freely.

*never judge her.

*research postpartum depression on your own time to know as much as you can about it.

*if she wants to take medication, support that.

*if she wants to go to talk therapy, support that.

*if she’s not into being intimate, support that.

*urge her to do more things for herself while you watch the kids and support that.

 

3. Pay attention to her cues.

Have you ever felt like your partner is going off the deep-end and you have no idea why?

Why is she always snapping at the smallest things?

Why is she so moody every-night after dinner?

Why is she never happy to see me when I come home from work?

Listen, it’s the postpartum depression that is doing all that ugliness and until you begin to pick up on her cues, it will be much harder on her (and you!). She may be moody and snapping over a dirty kitchen sink and you need to just get over that and really pay attention to what she’s trying to tell you.

You can literally begin to make this time a little more easier for her (and again, you!) by simply paying attention to her cues and needs.

For example:

Why is she always snapping at the smallest things? – She probably reached a limit for the day and ANY tiny thing- from spilled milk to a whiny child- can send her over the edge.

What you can do: tell her to go take a walk, a bath, or you take the kids out to the park or a movie. She needs time alone. Kid-free.

Why is she so moody every-night after dinner? – It’s probably because the kitchen is now loitered with dirty dishes, a dirty stove, and grumpy kids that didn’t eat the 35 minute meal she prepared.

What you can do: offer to clean up the kitchen or to give the kids a bath– if she doesn’t tell you which one to do, make the move and start helping.

Why is she never happy to see me when I come home from work? – It’s not that she’s not happy to see you, it’s just that she’s tired and overwhelmed from a long day. She needs YOU to take over now.

What you can do: instead of jumping on a video game or going to the gym, here are three things you can do to ease her mind.

1. ask her if there’s any-thing that you can do now that you are home, 2. make dinner…if you can’t cook, order take-out, 3. give her some time to herself.

Postpartum depression can be a very lonely and scary struggle– remind her that she’s not alone, offer her support, and pay attention to her cues. You can weather this storm together.

 

Resources:

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