Facing your Family: Talking About Postpartum Depression

With the holiday season approaching, it can be a joyous time– cozy fireplaces, yummy food, festive activities, and being with the ones you love. It’s also a time where families come together to share in the holiday spirit. Extended families near and far, travel to spend these precious days catching up; which can be extremely overwhelming for someone diagnosed with postpartum depression (the questions, the looks, the assumptions).

 

 

For the women that may be reading this that do have a stable and supportive family- that is fantastic and you are pretty dang lucky. However, I’m aware that not everyone can be so lucky as to have an understanding and supportive family when it comes to serious issues.

Case in point: Postpartum Depression.

Postpartum depression is now just getting recognized as a serious condition (finally!) and that’s because of our amazing generation of strong mamas that have been courageous enough to open up and talk about it.

Unfortunately, postpartum depression can still be viewed as a non-existent or easily brushed-off condition…which is why some mamas may have a hard time talking about it.

 

 

I’m here today to help you gain the confidence to face your family this holiday season if you have postpartum depression.

 

I don’t want to point fingers or anything, and I know it’s not their fault, but our mothers and grandmothers generations kind of screwed us over on this one.

Back in “the day” (yeah, I went there) women kept all their shit held deep inside. Motherhood was nothing short of amazing. Smiles, as well as spotless homes and home-made meals from scratch, were expected.

 We know that there is a HUGE difference between the baby blues and postpartum depression since the mothers before us came home from the hospital with their newborn babies.

 

 

Are you afraid to face your family this holiday season or you’re unsure how to talk to them about your postpartum depression? I have some tips that may help you.

 

 

 

Don’t feel like you have to explain yourself, or your condition

You should never have to feel like you have to explain why you’re feeling the way you feel. You don’t owe anyone an explanation as to why you’re depressed.

Also, don’t need to explain your condition– if someone doesn’t understand postpartum depression, then that is on them to research the condition. Not you. Please don’t feel like you owe anyone an explanation for your mental health.

 

Be prepared to answer the questions

Some people are genuinely concerned with how you are doing, so be prepared for rapid-fire questions, such as:

“how are you doing?”

“are you feeling okay?”

“how have you been?”

“do you need to talk?”

“do you need any help?”

I assure you that these questions are not meant to hurt you, but to help you.

 

 

 

Remember that most people really just want to help (and accept that help)

It took me a long time to realize that it’s okay to ask for help. Asking for help is actually a sign of being a pretty kickass mama…and not to just ask for that help, but to ACCEPT it. If you aren’t feeling okay, then accept that and talk about it. You will have bad days during your journey, and that is okay.

 

 

When it becomes too much, change the subject

When you become tired of the endless questions and worrisome stares, changing the subject can be a great way to steer the conversation to a lighter spot. Some conversation ideas can range from the weather, the food (because it’s the holidays and we are ALL eating), to which types of movies are playing in the theater.

 

Bring along a moral support buddy

If the thought of visiting family really skeeves you out and you’re unsure how to do it by yourself, bring along a moral support buddy. Tell your buddy to stick close by your side and even make up a code word that you can say to him/her when things get too much.

 

It’s not you, it’s them

If anybody seems standoffish since they found out you’ve been diagnosed with postpartum depression, remember: it’s not you, it’s them.

They don’t understand what you’re going through and chances are, they don’t even know what to say to you. I think it’s still important to engage with these people, however, if your effort is more than they are willing to give back, it’s okay to take a step away from this relationship. Perhaps they will understand your struggle someday, or perhaps they won’t, either way, it’s not you, it’s them.

Try to stay out of uncomfortable situations

If you know that going over to Aunt Gerty’s house will be emotionally and mentally exhausting, perhaps it’s best to sit this one out. You don’t need to worry about whose feelings you may be hurting if you don’t go to the big dinner– because your mental health is the most important.

 

 

Place yourself in comfortable situations

When we are in our own environment, we can feel less threatened by our worries and fears. Perhaps having the holiday get-together at your home (where you feel most comfortable) is an idea.

If the thought of having a house full of people overwhelms you to the point of hiding under the covers, you don’t have to plan it alone! Call up a trusted family member or pal to help you coordinate the party or dinner.

How does the holiday season affect your postpartum depression? What would you like me to talk about in my next Holiday survival post? I would love to hear about it in a comment or through e-mail. I’m always here to listen, and I know how important that is this time of the year.

I hope you have a fantastic holiday this year and remember~ keep smiling.

 

 

 

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How to Get Online Help for Postpartum Depression

It’s easy to put off getting treatment for postpartum depression or anxiety when your a busy mom but unfortunately, having no time isn’t the only reason for not seeking treatment. One huge reason may be that moms don’t know where to even go or to talk to for help. And if you do find someone to talk to, when will you go? Who will watch the kids?

 

disclaimer: this post may contain affiliate links which, when you purchase an item, can help me continue to run my blog (yes, it cost money to keep this thing going!)

Thankfully, thanks to modern technology, help has come a far way from sitting in your therapist’s office on a chaise lounge. Now, you can get help from the comfort of your own home. And in your PJs, if you please.

I’ve put together a few ways to get online help for postpartum depression

 

How to Get Online Help for Postpartum Depression

Online therapy

Online therapy is a thing, and yes it is legit.

You can sign up for online therapy in the comfort of your own home and have the ability to speak with your therapist through a live chat or e-mail.  There is no waiting for a referral from your doctor or sitting in a stuffy waiting room.

Online therapy is great because:

you don’t have to leave your house, so you don’t have to worry about the stress of finding someone to watch your kids.

somedays we don’t feel like leaving the comfort of our home and interacting with people.

you don’t sit face-to-face with a therapist, so it appears a little less intimidating.

you get a therapist fitted to your needs.

you can arrange your sessions on your time.

you have a plethora of resources at your disposal– much more than a therapy session, you get workbooks, meditation, and much more– available to you whenever you need it.

 

How to Get Online Help for Postpartum Depression

 

Send a text

Sending a text message can literally save your life.

When your feeling overwhelmed, talking to someone on the phone may feel like an impossible task, but texting is a modern convenience that moms can take advantage of.

Here are numbers you can text for 24/7 help:

IN THE US:

Text HOME to 741741 for any type of crisis and a trained counselor from the Crisis Text Line will respond 24/7.

CANADA:

Text HOME to 686868

 

You can also text the Postpartum Support International’s Warmline at 503-894-9453 for information and to get support and resources close to where you live.

 

How to Get Online Help for Postpartum Depression

 

Make a phone call

There are numerous hotlines you can call when you need to reach out for help.

National Suicide Prevention Hotline

US:

1-800-273- TALK (8255)

CANADA:

1-833-456-4566

INTERNATIONALLY:

International Bipolar Foundation has a list of international phone numbers.

Join a Facebook support group

There are Facebook support groups out there for every mom that needs help and encouragement. I know how tough it may be to want to open up to someone about the feelings you are having and especially to people you don’t even know. But a Facebook support group is great because you can be as active (or inactive) as you’d like.

Here are some Facebook support groups for PPD and anxiety:

A New Day Peer Support Group for Moms with Postpartum Depression

Postpartum Depression & Anxiety Support Group

PPD and anxiety: Moms Helping Moms

Life After Baby (PostPartum Depression/Anxiety Support)

 

How to Get Online Help for Postpartum Depression

 

Download an App

In this ever-so-growing-technology World, there is literally, an app for that. Busy moms can now download an app at to have for their own convenience and help.

Here are some apps you can download for PPD and PPA:

PPD ACT- The app will be a way for us to collect information for the study, which has two parts. You will be given feedback about your responses to the questions. We can point you toward doctors in your area who specialize in evaluating and treating women with postpartum depression.  Available on iOS devices in Australia, Canada and the US and on Android devices in Australia and US.

MGH Perinatal Depression Scale (MGHPDS)- a free iPhone application designed to refine how women around the world are screened for postpartum depression (PPD). The app includes questionnaires about mood, anxiety, sleep and stress at important time periods during and after pregnancy. The questionnaires will identify which specific symptoms are most critical in the diagnosis of PPD in women ages 18-45 who are pregnant or up to 12 weeks postpartum. 

Announcing the MGH Perinatal Depression Scale at the App Store- The MGHPDS smartphone app includes digital versions of perinatal depression screening tools including the Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale (EPDS) as well as other instruments which measure relevant symptoms associated with peripartum psychiatric illness: sleep disturbance, anxiety and perceived stress.

 

How to Get Online Help for Postpartum Depression

Message a Friend

It’s always nice to have an open support connection with a friend that can be your emergency contact in times of need. This friend should be someone you can absolutely trust and depend on to help you when you really need it.

With the vast array of information at your fingertips, it can be easy to find help for postpartum depression, but please always consult your doctor, especially if you believe your PPD is getting worse.

 

 

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