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  • loss of interest/being withdrawn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She is withdrawn and shows no interest in activities she once loved to do.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

20 Reasons why Moms Don’t Speak up About Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression affects 1 in 7 women the first year following birth.

For many moms that struggle with postpartum depression, there are many reasons why we don’t speak up about our postpartum depression– I say “we” because I know all too well about hiding my postpartum depression.

 

My postpartum depression story.

After my second son was born, my experience was completely different. I felt very depressed and not myself– but why? I Googled postpartum depression so many times and read a ton about it…yet, I still couldn’t bring myself to reach out for help.

 

In this article that was featured in Scary Mommy, I open up for the very first time about my battle with PPD.

We all have our reasons

We all have our own reasons why we don’t speak up about postpartum depression. Below I listed 20 reasons why moms don’t speak up about postpartum depression.

 

 

 

1. We feel like bad mothers.

2. We have so much guilt.

I know all about the mom-guilt. I talk about it here in Scary Mommy.

3. People will think that we don’t love our baby.

4. We think that it will go away.

5. We listen to our family or friends say that it’s just the baby blues.

There’s a huge difference, mama.

 

6. We feel like nobody will understand.

You are certainly not alone in your postpartum depression.

 

7. We don’t want to burden anyone with our problems.

8. We feel like we can handle it all.

We are the mother and we feel like we are supposed to keep it together for our family.

 

9. We fear that our children will be taken away.

10. We don’t want to be labeled as crazy.

11. We believe that these feelings are our new normal.

We hear other mamas talk about how motherhood is an emotional and over-whelming experience, so when these feelings surface, we think that this is our new normal.

 

12. We don’t know how to reach out.

Most of the time, we simply do not know how to make that first step in asking for help.

Here are some great online resources that can help:

13. We don’t want to be loved any less.

14. We want acceptance.

In a society where mental illness is a stigma, we just want to be accepted.

 

15. We’re in denial.

16. We just want to be that picture-perfect mom that does every-thing right.

17. This was what we wanted, so we’re not supposed to feel depressed.

We wanted to be a mama. We wanted to have babies. So, we’re not supposed to feel depressed. Why should we?

 

18. Everyone keeps telling us that we’re so blessed…making us feel even worse for our depression.

 

19. You don’t want your partner to love you any less.

You’re afraid of what your partner will think of you– what if he/she stops loving you because of your postpartum depression?

 

20. You didn’t have it with a previous child and you feel absolutely guilty.

I know this all too well because I didn’t have PPD with my first son…but I did have PPD with my second.

 

There can be many reasons why moms don’t speak up about postpartum depression. If you have postpartum depression and you can relate to a few or even all of these reasons, I want to tell you– you’re not alone!

Can you relate to me, mama? I would love to hear what your reason for not speaking up about postpartum depression is… leave it in the comments below or shoot me a message.

There are resources. There is help out there. We can battle this, together.

I Am 1 in 5: The Truth Behind Postpartum Depression And Anxiety {Cara’s story}

Cara’s Story

{previously featured on A Purpose Driven Mom}

 

 

I was sitting in my therapist office one day and we were talking about guilt and shame and why I always feel like if something goes wrong, it’s automatically my fault.

“Well, that’s the depression talking”, she said so calmly.

Wow.

We had talked earlier on in our sessions about my anxiety and it was very clear that I was struggling with Postpartum Anxiety (PPA) but we had never talked specifically about Postpartum Depression (PPD).

To me PPD felt so much more real, so scary, and it honestly just made me feel so much more broken.

I felt like I could ‘deal’ with having PPA, I mean isn’t everyone just a stressed out mom? But PPD was so foreign to me. I felt fearful that people would think I was a bad mom, that I couldn’t take care of my kids, that there was something wrong with me. I mean I didn’t feel depressed. I wasn’t under the covers crying and unable to get out of bed (which was my previous experience with my depression when I was in high school) and I felt like I was getting better.

But there it was, clear as day and right out of my therapists mouth. I was a woman who had Postpartum Depression and Anxiety.

Did you know that 1 in 5 women suffer from either PPA or PPD? And so many moms out there just suffer in silence. They are afraid, just like I was and sometimes still am.

“What will people think of me?”

“Am I really crazy?”

“Why can’t I just get it together?”

For me, my anxiety isn’t always panic attacks or heavy breathing like they show so often on  TV but more of a mental tug and what we refer to in my home as my ‘spiral’.

It starts with the smallest trigger, mostly connected to me feeling like I’ve made a mistake or am inadequate in some way and it turns into spiraling thoughts that I struggle to shut down. Something as simple as getting the wrong thing at the grocery store can become catastrophic.

“Ugh, I don’t have time to go back out”

“I always do this”

“I am so forgetful”

“See this is what happens because you never pay attention”

“Why are you so stupid?”

“Ugh, why are you thinking like this again?”

“See, now no one wants to talk to you because you’re crazy and ruined dinner.”

This spiral is followed by some tears on my part, my family looking confused because they don’t know what to say to me, and me feeling even more guilty because I ‘ruined it again’.

It wasn’t until this pattern had happened for a few months in a row, and a LOT more crying on the middle of my kitchen floor that I realized I needed help. I told my husband I had to do something, I was tired of feeling so tired, and life was just exhausting me. As a life coach, I felt like an even bigger fraud because I felt even less together than I ever had been, and I knew that it was going to have bigger repercussions for my family if I didn’t get help.

So one day, I bravely walked into a therapist office and just said it “I think something is wrong with me”… followed by those ever flowing tears.

After a few sessions, she had diagnosed my PPA (and later my PPD) and we had come up with some coping techniques that have helped me get through my days better. I share them openly with my husband, though honestly I sometimes worry that I am TOO vulnerable with him, and they help him help me with my anxiety when it gets really bad.

In the 5 months since I realized that I needed help, I am proud to say that many of the techniques (from counting, to breathing, to reframing, and more) have really helped me when I am in a spiral. And while I would love to say that my spirals are gone, at least I can say that when I am in the moment, I can self identify what’s happening and bring myself out of it much quicker.

So many of us are afraid to speak our truths because we don’t want to be judged. We don’t want to admit that something is wrong with us. We love our kids and want to be seen as a ‘good mom’. But in keeping our struggles silent, we not only harm ourselves but our family and other women who are suffering in silence.

In that vain, I’ve had a few amazing women be willing to speak out on their struggles and share their personal experiences with PPA/PPD. Because the things is, it affects everyone so differently, which is why it’s also hard to identify right away. We might just think we’re stressed or hormonal or just having a bad day. But mama, if you feel off, if you’re struggle lasts a bit, if you know something just doesn’t feel right, can I encourage you to go and talk to someone, be it another mom, your doctor, or a family member? Because you don’t have to feel stuck, you don’t have to feel alone, and you don’t have to feel lost. Because YOU are not alone!

 

Read more

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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Mother’s Day: Last Year & Now

Happy Mother’s Day to all of my mom readers!

I wrote up something on my facebook last night and I wanted to share it here:

Happy mother’s day to all the hard-working, sometimes under-appreciated, dedicated and loving momma’s.
Our job isn’t easy. We’re grossly under-paid and can never call in sick.
We fight monsters, kiss boo-boos & try our hardest to keep it together when we feel like falling apart.

Happy mother’s day to all the grandmother’s that give themselves so tirelessly for their family.
Happy mother’s day to all the momma’s that lost a child. I hope you can somehow find comfort today.
Happy mother’s day to all the momma’s that hold their baby in their hearts instead of their arms.
Happy mother’s day to the step-mothers that love their step-children like their own.
Happy mother’s day to the dads that play both roles.
Happy mother’s day to the ones that have to get through today without their own momma here on Earth.

I see you all and I appreciate every one of you.💓 Not just today, but every-day!

 

 


Before I became a mom, I never knew the special connection that I would share with not only my children, but with other mothers. I feel that connection even more-so with strong mothers that have/currently are struggling with their own battles. As mothers, or just humans in general, we can be our own worst critic but we truly are doing the best that we can.

Mother’s Day 2017

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I was just shy over 1 month postpartum and feeling so much inside….

i was overwhelmed. we had two kids under two.

i was lonely. i was with my kids all day every day but i felt such an isolating and lonely feeling. like nobody knew what i was going through.

i had extreme feelings of sadness that i urged myself to forget about.

i lost who i was as a women. who i am besides a wife and mom?

i lost all interest in things that made me happy. i only cared about making it through the day.

i had so much guilt. like i wasn’t enjoying my babies 100%.

i just felt like a failure.

On the outside, I may have looked happy and like I had it all, but on the inside I was deeply depressed and I couldn’t hold it together. Ricky snapped this photo of us on our chair and I remember thinking “I probably look like a busted can of biscuits but I know I need a picture to capture this moment because maybe next year…..It will get better.”

it did get better.

Mother’s Day 2018

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To the mommas that are currently fighting in the storm, hold on. A year from now, your life will be so different. So hold on because it’s worth looking back on that picture and seeing the storm behind you.