What is PPD?
Postpartum depression (PPD) is a general feeling of sadness, helplessness, or worthlessness occurring at the onset of a birth of a child. It is similar to general depression but is differentiated by the timing that it sets in. PPD occurs in women in the first six weeks of the postnatal period. Men may begin suffering from PPD anywhere from three to six months after the birth of a child.
Signs of PPD and what to expect
The most common signs of PPD are extreme sadness, irritability, mood swings, or general changes in personality. Those close to someone suffering from PPD report an overall change in the person suffering, at times having little in common with their former self. You may not even recognize your loved one while this battle rages in their mind. When PPD hits it hits hard and fast. It comes on like a wave crashing onto the beach.
How you can help
The first step to being able to help is to recognize the symptoms. Once you know what you are dealing with you can being to put these tips into practice.
Be sure to offer love and reassurance to let them know they are not going through this alone. Dealing with a loved one during this difficult time will also require patience and understanding. Try to learn as much as you can about what your loved one is going through. If you can understand what they are going through you will be better suited to help them through it. The best way to do this is by talking to them about what they are feeling. Also, researching as much as possible about PPD will help in understanding what your loved one is going through. When PPD hits it can hit hard and fast. Try not to allow yourself of your loved one to become overwhelmed with emotions. Support of friends and family make this difficult time easier to navigate.
Depression in any form has the ability to nearly incapacitate a person. They may need help just getting out of bed in the morning. While it can be frustrating, staying positive and not allowing yourself to be succumb to the negativity of depression is important in helping your loved one.
Encourage them to exercise, to write down their feelings, even to meditate. Stress and depression often go hand in hand. These three activities will help reduce stress but by no means are the only options available.
Therapy and Medication
These wouldn’t be recommended as a first option but when all other options have been exhausted and relationships are in danger of dissolving, therapy and medication may be the best alternative. Someone suffering from PPD may be reluctant to pursue these options alone. If someone close to them encourages this route that may be enough to convince them to give it a try.