Be There... Be Involved
With your help, she will recover...
Perinatal mood & anxiety disorders are treatable illnesses that affect the entire family. As a family member, there are many things that you can do to make this very difficult time easier for mom and dad. Following is a list of suggestions that may help you feel useful, needed, and involved:
- Allow mom to openly express her feelings. Accept her need to cry
- Ask mom how you can help her in the best way. Suggestions that might be given may include providing meals, doing laundry and housework, running errands and babysitting so that she can have a break
- Encourage mom and dad to find a compassionate health professional to talk to. Offer to go with them to an appointment for added support
- Educate yourself about perinatal depression & anxiety
- Be patient. You may need to talk to someone for support
What Does NOT Help:
- Criticizing or judging makes mom feel guilty and ashamed, it’s not her fault
- Denying the problem by saying “You should be happy to have this baby” will not make it go away, it will only make mom and dad feel worse about the situation
- Telling mom or dad to “snap out of it” will also make them feel worse. If they could “snap out of it”, they definitely would. Perinatal depression & anxiety are definitely not due to lack of mental strength.
- Withdrawing your support will only make mom or dad feel rejected, and they need to know that you accept her or him no matter what happens
- Do not tell them what to feel and what not to feel, they need you to accept and validate their feelings