11 Things Moms Do That Can Harm Their Mental Health

Moms are hardworking and give all of themselves to their children and families… but at what cost?

While these are qualities that everyone admires about mothers, they often come at a cost.  A mother who works endlessly to provide for the needs of her children can often forget to take care of herself.  A mother’s mental health, in addition to her physical well being, is so important because moms definitely cannot afford to take sick days.

Many mothers don’t even realize some of the things they are doing to harm their mental health.  It’s easy to fall into “survival mode”  and not think about anything other than just making it through to the end of the day.  Some of the things we do each day to survive, whether intentionally or not,  can have a negative impact on our mental health.

Here are a few things many moms do that can actually harm their mental health.
11 Things Moms Do That Can Harm Their Mental Health
This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.

Forget to Eat

This one is at the top of the list because it’s something all moms are guilty of. We get busy preparing meals for the kids and when we try to sit down to eat our own food, someone spills something, or wants seconds or needs ketchup.  Moms may have every intention of eating a full meal while it’s still hot, but it rarely ever happens.  And when it does, it probably consists of sandwich crusts with a side of half eaten fish sticks.  

Good nutrition is important for maintaining our mental health.  Many symptoms of depression and anxiety worsen when our bodies experience vitamin and nutrient deficiencies.  By forgetting to eat throughout the day, it’s easy to fall into the unhealthy habit of binge-eating at night, which can cause feelings of guilt and contribute to depression.

Don’t let bad eating habits harm your mental health.  Eat healthy and use supplements to make sure your body is getting enough energy.

Go to Bed Late

It’s no secret that moms are always tired. Raising kids is exhausting work, both physically and mentally, and it requires a good amount of sleep that we often don’t get.  But even the most sleep deprived mom is sometimes guilty of staying up way past bedtime.

After the kids are in bed is sometimes the only chance a mother gets to herself all day.  Whether it’s catching up on recorded TV shows,  scrolling through social media or just enjoying the peace and quiet, we never want it to end.   But staying up late is a habit that does a lot of harm to our mental health.

Schedule yourself some self-care time throughout the day if possible, so that when bed time comes around you’ll be ready for nothing else but sleep.

Postpartum Anxiety Insomnia: 15 Ways to Get Better Sleep .

Ignore a Phone Call

Actual phone calls are becoming more of a rare occurrence in this modern world. Plus, everyone knows that the kids think “mom’s on the phone” translates to “scream as loud as you can.”  A text message is so much more convenient for a mother and it’s the preferred way of communicating.  So when our phone rings, it’s instinctual that we silence our phone and ignore the call.

Of course, it all depends on who the call is from, but if it’s a friend, don’t ignore it.  Talking to someone on the phone can be therapeutic and mean so much more than a simple text message.  Mental illness works by isolating us from others, so being able to connect with someone on a real, human level is important for keeping us sane.

The next time someone calls you, just answer it.

5 Things to Do When You're Feeling Over Touched .

Avoid Looking in Mirrors

This is kind of a weird one, and I bet you don’t even realize that you do it (or don’t do it).  If you’re a stay at home mom, chances are you probably haven’t changed out of your sweat pants in three days.  Maybe you forgot to brush your teeth this morning and you can’t even remember the last time you washed your hair.  You may avoid looking at yourself in the mirror for fear of what you might see.  

Avoiding a mirror means that we’ve created an idea of what we look like in our minds and it’s one that we feel unhappy with.  This idea can lead us down a path to poor self-esteem and lowered confidence levels, an environment in which mental illness thrives.

All you have to do to maintain your mental health is look at yourself in the mirror at least once a day, and find something that you love about what you see.

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Skip Doctor Appointments

The doctor, dentist, therapist, optometrist, chiropractor, etc. – we haul the kids around to regular appointments and yet procrastinate our own. Pregnancy means doctor appointments so frequently that we get to know the staff in our OB’s office on a personal basis.  We cared about those because they were important for the well being of our child, which is one of our biggest priorities.

I’m sure we can all come up with a hundred excuses as to why we do this.  It costs money we may not have and it’s hard to find time to attend these appointments without the kids.  But this act of self-sacrifice is dangerous for both our mental and physical health.

Try booking all your checkups for the year in advance so that you can make whatever arrangements you need to in order to attend them.

Online Therapy .

Depend Too Much On Coffee/Wine/Advil

Addiction is not something that’s spoken about enough among mothers.  We tend to think of addicts as people living on the streets, wasting their lives away.  But addiction can happen to anyone, and at different levels of intensity.

Caffeine, alcohol and medications are common addictions among mothers.  And while it may not be at a point where they are destroying our lives, we’re unsure how we would function without them.  Relying too heavily on coffee or needing that glass of wine to help us relax at the end of the day are all forms of addiction.  Addictive behaviors are something we should try to avoid for better mental health.

Try to limit how much you depend on stimulants to make it through the day and choose healthier options that are better for your mental health.

Pile Things in a Closet

You know which closet I’m talking about, everyone has one (or four) in their home that’s filled with junk. If you’re not sure where to put something, pile it in a closet until you get to it, right?  But you’ll probably only get to it when that closet is so full that you can’t even open it anymore.

Clutter can weigh heavily on our minds, destroying our mental health in the long run.  Knowing that we have a closet filled with junk, being unsure of what exactly is in there, and putting off cleaning it out can make us feel depressed and unproductive.  You don’t need to go full minimalist, but avoiding hidden clutter is a good place to start.

Spring cleaning time is nearly upon us, so make those junk-filled closets a priority.

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Shop Only For the Kids

Not only are kids fun to shop for, but they also need a LOT of stuff.  They grow so fast that it’s hard to keep up with their sizes.  And if you’re like me, then you live vicariously through them and buy things that you would have loved to have as a kid.  But then what happens is that you have kids who look like children of celebrities and you get mistaken for their nanny.  

Remember what it was like before kids, when a little retail therapy was the perfect cure for a bad day?  It still works, but you need to actually focus on shopping for yourself.  Moms tend to feel guilty or selfish spending money on themselves, especially when they’re on a tight budget.  But splurging on something just for you is good for your mental health. [Start now and get $10 off a spring FabFitFun box using coupon code FAB10!]

So make a shopping trip alone and don’t you dare wander into the kids section!

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Avoid the Outdoors

Whether it’s the cold weather or your greasy hair keeping you indoors, it’s doing harm to your mental health. Our bodies need fresh air and sunshine, they literally cannot function properly without it.  If you think the trip from the house to the car and back again is enough, it’s not.

It’s not just about the fresh air, though, otherwise you could just open a window.  You need to talk to people, make eye contact, feel their touch and smile at them.  Find space to move your body – run, walk, swim, whatever makes you feel good.  A change of scenery and some time outdoors is the easiest way to improve your mood.

So make it a habit to get outdoors at least once a day, and twice on weekends.

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Put up with Negative People

You don’t need negative energy in your life, especially if your mental health is already suffering.  However, cutting people out of your life is easier said than done.  You don’t need to be rude to anyone, make a big deal out of it or even say anything at all.  Just avoid spending time with people who cause you to feel stressed.

It could be the mother of your child’s friend who constantly tries to “one-up” you.  Or maybe it’s that pessimistic family member who makes you worry about everything happening in the world.  Don’t feel obligated to socialize with people who’s negative attitude affects your mental health. 

Distance yourself from the negative people in your life, and surround yourself with those you love instead.

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Compare Themselves to Others

You will never experience peace of mind if you’re constantly comparing yourself to others.  This is especially common among the parenting community, despite the fact that all children and parenting styles are different.

It can be difficult on our mental health to see others doing well when we are clearly struggling.  But remember that people are more inclined to share their success stories, than they are their struggles.  This explains the stigma surrounding mental illness and the reason why so many mothers don’t talk about it.  

Speak openly about real motherhood and all the struggles that come with it.  And encourage others to do the same.


11 Things Moms Do That Can Harm Their Mental Health

11 Things Moms Do That Can Harm Their Mental Health

11 Things Moms Do That Can Harm Their Mental Health

5 Things to Do When You’re Feeling Over Touched

A mother’s touch is known to have magical healing powers for a child.

The connection between a mother and their child is as physical as it is emotional.  They are a part of our bodies, we feed them from our bodies, and we comfort them with our bodies.  Our bodies are the go-to place for our children when they need to feel safe and secure. So at the end of a long day, mothers often end up feeling over touched or overstimulated.

The sensation of being over touched can have a big impact on our mental health.  With our skin being our largest organ, it’s no surprise that a large amount of extra stimulation can cause us to feel frazzled and overworked. We end up feeling irritable, annoyed, anxious or even angry.  It can cause insomnia and other sleep disturbances.   And feeling over touched can have an effect on our relationships as well because it’s unlikely we’ll want to be intimate at the end of the day, either.

If you are feeling over touched after a constantly caring for and hugging babies, try these five techniques to help reset your nervous system.
5 Things to Do When You're Feeling Over Touched
This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.
5 Things to Do When You're Feeling Over Touched 5 Things to Do When You're Feeling Over Touched


1. Take a Time Out

It makes sense that if you’re feeling over touched, a quick fix would be to spend some time not being touched at all.  It’s easier said than done for a busy mom, however.  The sensation of feeling over touched on a regular basis can build up.  Eventually causing worse symptoms, such as anxiety or depression.  So it’s important to break that cycle of feeling over touched as regularly as possible.

Start by scheduling yourself some self-care time.  Pick a day when your spouse (or someone else) is available to watch the kids in the evening and take an hour or two to yourself.  Retreat to your bedroom or another comfortable space and focus just on yourself.  You don’t have to do anything at all if you don’t want to.

If you can make this a regular habit, whether daily, weekly or longer, then you can reset your sense of touch and feel refreshed and re-energized.  Having the kids crawl all over you may be unavoidable, but at least you’ll be better equipped to handle another round of it.

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2. Try Dry Brushing

Now, this one might sound like it makes a little less sense.  If you’re already feeling over touched, then wouldn’t brushing your skin just make it worse?

If you’re not familiar with dry brushing, it consists of brushing your skin with a dry, natural bristle bath brush to help stimulate blood flow and massage the lymphatic system.  It also has great skin exfoliation benefits, obviously.  You can read more about dry brushing in this detailed guide.

One of the benefits of dry brushing is that it stimulates the lymph system, which is the system that is designed to cleanse our body of toxins and waste.  Keeping this system moving throughout our bodies can actually boost our immune systems and keep us healthy.  Dry brushing can produce an almost instant energy boost just by helping to circulate our lymph.

Dry brushing the entire body can help to reset the sensation of feeling over touched.  It is a controlled and intentional way of stimulating the nervous system and sense of touch.  Unlike being tugged at and climbed all over by our kids, we are in control of how our skin is being touched and stimulated.

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3. Have a Hot Shower or Bath

Water can do wonders to wash away the feeling of being over touched.  A hot shower, especially one with a massaging shower head, is another great way to provide full body stimulation to eliminate that feeling of being pulled and tugged at.

Try alternating between hot and cool water to encourage blood circulation and give you an energy boost.  You can enhance the experience by using essential oil shower steamers or luxury soaps and body washes.  A shower is especially wonderful after you’d tried dry brushing, as it helps to wash away all the exfoliated skin.

If you’d rather soak in the tub, then add a scoop of Epsom salts to the bath water or try some relaxing bath bombs.  The magnesium in the Epsom salts will relax tired muscles and soften the skin.  You can even brush your skin during or after the bath, just add a bit of coconut oil, or other essential oil to your brush.

And most importantly, don’t forget to moisturize afterwards.  In fact, you should use a good quality moisturizer as often as possible throughout the day.  Dry skin is much more sensitive to being touched.  Winter can be especially harsh on skin, and if you suffer from seasonal affective disorder, feeling over touched can contribute to other symptoms as well.

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4. Lie Under a Weighted Blanket

A weighted blanket, like dry brushing, is another form of intentional touch. It might sound counterproductive to use deep touch pressure therapy (DTP) when we already feel so over touched.  But again, this is a different kind of touch that works like a giant reset button on our nervous system.

Think of a fussy baby being swaddled, or an anxious child being hugged tightly.  Steady pressure that consumes our entire body at once can make us feel calm and boost our serotonin levels.  But as an adult, it’s harder to find a way to create that sense of steady full body pressure.

Weighted blankets are an excellent solution. You can lie under a weighted blanket for anywhere from a few minutes to an entire night, depending on your preference.  You are in complete control of removing it, so you don’t need to worry about feeling trapped or suffocated.

Using a weighted blanket can be especially helpful if feeling over touched is causing insomnia or night time anxiety.  Over stimulation is a major cause of sleep disturbances.  Using a weighted blanket can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep throughout the night.

The hardest part about using a weighted blanket is trying to choose which one is right for you.  There are so many options in weight, filling, covers and sizes so how do you even know where to begin?  Here are some tips about how to choose the right weighted blanket.

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5. Sensory Deprivation Tank

This is, perhaps, one of the more extreme forms of therapy for feeling over touched, but it’s a luxurious way to relax and reset.  Sensory deprivation tanks, or “float tanks” are popping up everywhere now.  While it’s actually an ancient form of healing, they’ve become popular in modern society for their known benefits of relaxation.

If you haven’t heard of them, they’re basically a tank filled with water that is as close to your body temperature as possible.  It also contains a high amount of Epsom salts so that your body easily floats and remains suspended in the water.  It is designed to mimic the feeling of floating in space.  Here is a detailed article that contains more information about sensory deprivation tanks and how they work.

In addition to the water, the tank is in complete isolation, which means that it’s dark and you’re cut off from outside sounds and smells.  You are basically floating in complete nothingness.  By depriving the body of all of it’s senses, you can be in a state of mindfulness and complete relaxation.


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As a mother, you’re always ready and prepared to give the hugs and cuddles and be the rock for your children to climb on.  Even when you’re feeling over touched, you’d never want to deprive them of that.  But you can give better and stronger hugs when you’re feeling relaxed and rested.  This is why self-care is such an important task for moms.

If the thought of being touched makes you cringe, it doesn’t make you a bad mother.  While you may have to take a few additional steps to reset your senses each day, the feeling won’t last forever.  So take care of yourself, mama, and then hug those babies.  Because before you know it, you’ll have to chase them down just to get one.

5 Things to Do When You're Feeling Over Touched 5 Things to Do When You're Feeling Over Touched

14 Ways to Help a Mother With Postpartum Depression

If a woman in your life has recently given birth then there’s a 1 in 5 chance they are struggling with postpartum depression.

It might be your partner, daughter, sister or friend but no matter who they are to you, it’s normal to feel helpless seeing them in pain.  It can be even more discouraging when you try to help them and they shut you out.  But don’t be offended, mental illness is a tricky situation and displays in many different ways.

From a mother who has battled it first hand, here are a few tips that might help you understand her better and be able to provide the right type of support.

14 Ways to Help a Mother with Postpartum Depression 14 Ways to Help a Mother with Postpartum Depression

*This post contains affiliate links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust.

1. Know the symptoms

It’s very common for a mother to be in denial about their postpartum depression at first.  Even if she does have her suspicions, it’s unlikely that she will admit it out loud.  This is why it’s important to recognize the symptoms in someone else so that, even if she doesn’t want to talk about it, you can be there to support her.

Resources:

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2. Believe her

There is a lot of stigma around postpartum depression and many people still don’t believe it’s a real disease.  If she does open up to you about having postpartum depression – believe that her pain is real.  She is not being overly dramatic.  She is not “just tired.” Motherhood is overwhelming in general and it will be for a very long time but postpartum depression is different – it’s uncontrollable.

Postpartum depression and anxiety cause a lot of undesirable side effects and symptoms that vary depending on the person.  This can make a woman feel and act like a hypochondriac.

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3. Help her get some rest

Sleep deprivation can aggravate postpartum depression but postpartum depression can cause insomnia so it’s a lose-lose situation.  Do whatever you can to help her rest.  If she cannot sleep at night, then make sure she gets frequent, short naps in throughout the day.  Invest in a new mattress to see if it makes a difference in her quality of sleep.  Here’s an excellent one that you can try for an entire year.

With a new baby, it’s natural and understandable to be sleep deprived.  If you’re having a lot of difficulty getting baby to sleep, consider hiring a sleep training expert.

But if baby is sleeping through the night and mom isn’t, then there’s definitely something wrong. 

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4. Don’t tell her things could be worse

It’s natural to want to tell her stories about someone else who had it worse in the hopes of making her feel better but it will have the opposite effect.  Instead of being thankful that she isn’t having suicidal thoughts, she might see her pain as insignificant and feel guilty for having such a difficult time when others are going through “things that are worse.”

It’s still important to make sure that she knows she isn’t alone – as long as she knows that debilitating pain from postpartum depression comes in all forms.

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5. Don’t try to explain why

It’s not her fault. But she will try to blame herself anyway.  Trying to find a reason why this has happened can inadvertently put more guilt on her.

Yes, she’s tired, yes, breastfeeding is hard, yes, labor was intense but those are not the reasons why she has postpartum depression.  If labor and recovery were a breeze, baby was nursing fine and sleeping well she could STILL have it.

Knowing that postpartum depression does not discriminate and there was nothing she could have done to avoid it will relieve some of her guilt.

Encourage her to take part in the free genetic research study to help determine the root cause of postpartum depression.

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6. Keep it on the down low

For some reason, having a mental illness is embarrassing.  While it’s important to check in on her and ask her how she’s feeling, don’t put her on the spot or force her to open up about it if she’s not ready.

And definitely don’t go advertising that she has postpartum depression without her permission.  The last thing she wants is everyone at your office knowing about her postpartum depression and offering to help.  She will be mortified if someone she barely knows confronts her about postpartum depression, no matter how good their intentions might be.

It takes time to come to terms with postpartum depression for many reasons.  The more public it is, the more guilt and pressure she will feel about disappointing others.

The day will come when she will openly want to talk about it but it should be her who decides when that is.

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7. Send her a text message but don’t expect a reply right away

Don’t expect her to answer the phone when you call.  Better yet, don’t phone her.  For someone with postpartum depression, their emotions change throughout the day without warning.  Chances are, when you want to talk, won’t be when she wants to talk and vice versa.  A text message is a great way to check in and see how she’s doing while allowing her to reply when SHE feels up to it.  You can even write something like “you don’t have to reply right away – whenever you feel like talking just text me.”

Postpartum depression has a way of making a new mother withdraw from society and it has nothing to do with how she feels about you.

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8. Don’t force her to socialize

And don’t be offended if she doesn’t want to see you.  She’s not trying to keep the baby all to herself.  Going out or hosting visitors means putting on a smile and talking to people when all she wants to do is be alone.  Even her inner circle can be extremely irritating.

In addition to feeling socially withdrawn, many women with postpartum depression also suffer from social anxiety.  She may feel incredibly uncomfortable in public, even in small groups of close friends.

Allow her some time to avoid social interaction, and gradually work your way up to larger social gatherings.  

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9. Cook food for her

Appetite changes are a major symptom of postpartum depression.  She will either not want to eat anything at all or not be able to stop eating. Having a fridge stocked with healthy ready-to-eat food will help her get the calories and nutrition she so desperately needs (especially if she’s breastfeeding) without all the added exhaustion of having to prepare it.

Proper diet and nutrition plays a big role in managing her symptoms, so it’s important to make sure that she has access to healthy food.

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10. Clean the house but don’t make a big deal about it

Do it while she’s napping so she can’t tell you to stop.  Cleaning will be the last thing on her mind but looking around at piles of laundry, overflowing garbage bins or dishes in the sink will cause her more anxiety. It’s one thing to tell her not to worry about the cleaning, it’s another to make the clutter magically disappear.  A clutter free environment will help her mind to feel clutter-free as well.

If you notice that she starts to become obsessed about cleaning, she could be suffering from Postpartum Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  Check out Jordan’s story to see if it relates.

Postpartum Depression, Anxiety and OCD
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11. Get up with her in the middle of the night

If she’s breastfeeding, you may feel like there’s no point in getting up for night time feedings.  But those dark, lonely hours can be the scariest times for a mother with postpartum depression.  If for no other reason than to keep her company – get up with her. She may tell you that she’s OK and to go back to bed but at least get up and check on her – check if she needs anything, rub her feet or her back while she nurses.

Breastfeeding in itself can cause a lot of stress on new mothers.  If you see her struggling, let her know there are online lactation courses available, so she doesn’t need to do it alone.

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12. Help her find strangers to talk to

Don’t try to force her to talk to you about her feelings.  It’s much easier to talk to strangers who understand and won’t judge her and who she may never see or talk to again.  She can be completely honest and vulnerable without having to worry about hurting someone’s feelings or having them take things the wrong way.

Whether it’s an online forum, support group or a therapist – she will be much more comfortable talking to someone who has been in her position before and/or who has experience to share.

Consider signing her up for online therapy.  Via online therapy, she has the ability to work at her own pace and can chat with a licensed therapist from the comfort of her own home.

postpartum depression Facebook groups

Postpartum Support International
Momma’s Postpartum Depression Support Group
Postpartum Anxiety Support Group
Postpartum Depression Awareness

6 Ways to Get Online Help for Postpartum Depression
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13. Take pictures of her

Not happy, dressed up, perfectly posed pictures but real pictures.  Pictures of her nursing in her pajamas.  Pictures of her holding or sleeping beside the baby.  Pictures of her when she hasn’t showered in 3 days and has dried breast milk all over her shirt.  Take pictures of her crying.  Aim for honest pictures of her so that she can look back at them when she is better and remember this part of her life.

You can even make a special photo album filled with pictures of her and baby as a keepsake because she may not remember all these days as clearly.

Reassure her that you will never show them to anyone else or post them anywhere, they are only for her.

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14. Wait it out

Don’t try to rush her recovery. Helping her find the right path to recovery is important but don’t keep asking if she’s feeling better yet. If she has a good day, don’t assume she’s past the worst of it.

She may go years without an episode, only to have it triggered by stress, sleep deprivation, illness or something else entirely.  Many women will battle postpartum depression for years, if not forever, so if you’re in this with her – prepare to go the lengths for her.

Know that there is no cure for mental illness, only treatment options to keep it under control.  

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For more information on the recovery process, check out this post: How long does Postpartum Depression Last? Accelerate Your Recovery!


Postpartum depression is one of the most under-diagnosed conditions in North America for a reason.  Women, moms in particular, pride themselves in being able to handle it all and admitting that they are struggling or need help is one of the biggest hurdles to overcome.  While these tips may help the woman in your life open up to you, nothing is ever for certain when it comes to postpartum depression and many women experience it in different ways.  If all else fail – love her and support her and don’t ever give up on her.

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