Who Did You Talk To About Your Postpartum Depression and What Was Their Reaction?

6. Who did you talk to about your postpartum depression and what was their reaction?

Who did you talk to about your postpartum depression and what was their reaction? Who did you talk to about your postpartum depression and what was their reaction?

I tried to talk to my husband but I hated the way he felt so sorry for me and just didn’t know what to do. I felt like I was burdening him. So I talked to my family doctor. He was very empathetic and supportive and called my husband into the room and told him “this is not her fault – she cannot control it” and then it was easier for me to talk to him after that.  – Vanessa

The first person was my sister, who was nothing but supportive and wanted to do anything to help me. – Anonymous

My health visitor was wonderful, she had her suspicions for a while but I wouldn’t tell her anything. She organised specialist support out of area as I couldn’t access services at work. She was just lovely. She made sure I knew that she didn’t think I was a bad mum, she kept pointing out how good my bond was with my child despite it all. – Alexandra

I talk to my sister in law, my doctor and midwife. Their reaction was, medication, go get help, my sister in law didn’t help much.  It wasn’t until I attempted suicide that people realized how serious this was. – Amber 

My husband is the only person that knows my struggle. He is so supportive even on the days I feel like giving up. – Anonymous

Anyone who would listen. They were concerned but it never felt like I reached anyone who understood. No one was shocked. I guess there was zero reaction really. Except my husband. He was genuinely concerned and wanted to help me feel better. – Nicole

I have talked to several friends and my therapist. They were very supportive and understanding. Most were by surprised because they had experienced something similar. – Anonymous

My doctor said “you have a lot of anxiety I can see it” when I was being tormented by a dysphoric mania. And said “you have to try harder for your daughter and snap out of it”. When I asked my psychiatrist if I would ever get better, she said “I don’t know, I’m not a fortune teller.” My husband said “its JUST anxiety” as if it was not a big deal but I tried telling people this was different…and it was. I had postpartum dysphoric mania and an agitated clinical depression at the sane time and was basically dying. I begged hospitals to admit me and they got angry and said “just go home and keep taking Prozac” but the Prozac made everything worse, they didn’t believe me. – Brittany

My sister and mom. They were very understanding as my sister just went through it – Jodi

Doctor and understanding. Ordered meds and sent me to behavior pysch MD  – Anonymous

My ob/gyn. She was very understanding. – Ashley G.

My mom. She was supportive. – Anonymous

I talked to my doctor finally and her reaction was extremely empathetic and understanding. – Amanda

My husband and he was very worried. – Anonymous

My husband saw it come on very strong at 3 months (I hid other symptoms very well up until then), and he immediately took me to my gyno and my mom came to stay with us for two weeks. – Katy 

I was open with my fiance both times. And I pretty much tell everyone. He was pretty supportive although at times he didn’t understand. And other people just don’t get it. You feel very judged. – Samantha

I talked to my husband because he was always asking me why was I crying and I never knew what to say. He said that he was going to help me that I didn’t have to do it alone because I was not alone.– Anonymous

My family and husband do not understand so I started seeing a therapist. – Melissa

My doctor. She was very helpful and gave me anxiety meds and recommended a obgyn who deals with ppd. – Marcella

For a long time no one. Then my husband, then my doctor. My husband encouraged me to get help. I felt brushed off by my doctor. – Anonymous

I talked to my fiance and baby’s dad. He was supportive, would hold and hug me and make sure I knew it was ok. – Emily

My SO first- he didn’t understand. Then my parents. They told me I was overreacting. Finally my doctor, she was very concerned when I broke down at my two week pp check-up. Now, I talk openly about it as much as I can. – Lorena from Motherhood Unfiltered 

First my mom, and she kept telling me it was normal and everyone goes through it but I knew it was more than “ baby blues” and then my husband, and he didn’t know how to help me the first time around. The second time around he was much more understanding and helpful. – Chelsea

I knew my husband would understand. He has always understood, or at least listened, to everything I have gone through. I could tell he was trying to be the calm and collected one for me, but was actually really worried. I know he knows I would never hurt the baby, but he does worry about how I take care of myself. He is always checking in with me about it, it helps keep me grounded. – Kathryn

Husband – it was extremely scary for him to think he wouldn’t have a wife or the kids not having a mother – Anonymous

My husband, he didn’t know how to help but wanted to.  A support group online, gave advice, and then I brought it up to my doctor and she was happy I found help and is working on helping me – Krista

Husband, who was like “ok take care of yourself then” – Karen from Pregnancy and Postpartum Mental Health of Lancaster County

After my diagnosis, I really only told my family who I think wanted to believe at first that my doctor was misguided, until they came out to visit a few days later and saw the symptoms for themselves. After a few months I wrote a rather raw blog post, and I was overwhelmed by how many mothers shared my experience. It helped me a ton seeing that I’m not alone. – Leah Elizabeth from Lottie & Me

My mom-in-law and she was very informative and supportive. – Jessica

No one. – Theresa

I spoke to my husband and my parents. Now I speak to everyone because it’s my mission to break the silence, but when I spoke up to family, I was told I was just tired. My suffering was brushed off. – Amanda from Mom Like Me

A friend- she told me I was crazy and oppressed and possessed by a demon spirit.  – Anonymous

My husband first. His reaction was not so supportive. – Jacqueline from Planning in the Deep

My fiancé , he was supportive and had me go to the doctor to reach out for help – Haylie

They all just knew my son was a “difficult baby” I was aware I had ppd but didn’t really talk to many people about it. – Crystal from Heart and Home Doula

My health care providers and husband. Husband was very supportive. – Anonymous

Husband, doctor, friends. All were supportive – Anonymous

My mom, doctor, partner. All encouraged me to talk to a therapist – Anonymous

My husband- he was well-meaning but somewhat unhelpful at times. My mom- she was a huge source of comfort and reassurance. My family doctor and therapist- both assured me it would get better. – Anonymous

My daughter’s pediatrician, my nurse practitioner and my OB/GYN all handed me referral sheets for mental health practitioners but I couldn’t get myself to call. My husband and mother shrugged. My best friend wanted to move into my house for a week to help (but that seemed overwhelming). – Eda

Best friends… They offer support and encouragement. – Anonymous

A few other mom friends but never told anyone how serious it was. After my arrest due to my psychosis many many friends of mine came out to say I had asked for help and talked to them about this for years. – Kathleen

My gynecologist first, she was concerned and prescribed medication right away and got me into counseling. My best friends were sympathetic. – Stephanie

Only recently I mentioned it to my best friend and she was surprised and felt bad that she didn’t know before. She said, “why didn’t you say anything?” I pointed out that I DID say things the only way I knew how but that ultimately I didn’t recognize what was happening to me because I just thought this was my new reality. – Yonat from Embodied Therapy Santa Rosa

My husband. He wanted to understand but his actions made things worse. – Beth


Postpartum Depression Triggers Postpartum Depression Triggers

Asking for help with postpartum depression is one of the toughest obstacles to overcome.

It’s never easy for a mother to admit that they need help.  For many women who have never battled with mental health issues before, venturing into the scary and unknown world of psychiatric disorders is terrifying.   And our biggest fear is being separated from our babies or pegged as an “unfit mother.”  Our husbands, partners and those closest to us often understand because they see us at our worst and know we’re not ourselves.  But do they know what to do to help us?

What can we do to change this?

Mental illness will always be scary and daunting.  But postpartum depression can be treated and so it’s always important to ask for help no matter how terrifying it is.  The more we speak up about it, the less intimidating it will become and the closer we get to ending the stigma.  New and expectant parents should learn all they can about postpartum depression and other perinatal mood and anxiety disorders so that they can recognize the earliest signs and symptoms.  There are so many places that a mother can seek help and advice that there’s no reason she should have to stay silent.


Related Reading:

9 Reasons Why Mothers Don’t Speak Up About Postpartum Depression

14 Ways to Help a Mother with Postpartum Depression

6 Ways to Get Online Help for Postpartum Depression

How to Find the Courage to Talk About Postpartum Depression

 

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.  There are still several ways to help a mother with postpartum depression, even if she tries to push you away.

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
*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. 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.

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. Often, it can be hard to tell the difference between the common baby blues and a real mental health disorder unless you know what to look for.  The best way to help a mother with postpartum depression is to recognize the symptoms.  Even if she doesn’t want to talk about it, you can get her the help she needs. 

[Think you or someone you love might have postpartum depression?  Check out this post to find out what to do next.]

Resources:

6 Warning Signs That it's More Than The Baby Blues
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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.  Sometimes, just being on her team is the best way to help a mother with postpartum depression.

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. 

Postpartum Anxiety Insomnia 1
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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 can have the opposite effect.  Your horror stories won’t help a mother with postpartum depression, only cause added stress.  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.

10 Mothers Who Lost the Battle to Postpartum Depression

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.

Breastfeeding and Postpartum Depression - What is the Connection?
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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.

50 Reasons Why Moms Don't Talk About Postpartum Depression

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.  

Checking in and asking how she’s feeling is a great way to help a mother with postpartum depression.  A text message will allow her to reply when SHE feels up to it.  You can even include 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.

Ways to Help a Mother with Postpartum Depression Etsy Printable
Download a printable PDF file of this popular infographic at our Etsy shop!

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.  

Postpartum Depression Self Care
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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.

Why You Should Never Give A New Mom Unsolicited Advice
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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 unnecessary stress and 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.

How to Ensure Successful breastfeeding with postpartum depression
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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. Sometimes, the best way to help a mother with postpartum depression is to find someone else she can talk to.  It’s much easier to talk to strangers who understand and won’t judge her.  She can be completely honest and vulnerable without having to worry about hurting someone’s feelings.

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.

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 and 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.

Maternity Photo Shoot Ideas 1
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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.  

One Year Postpartum & Still Depressed
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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.  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 certain when it comes to postpartum depression.  Many women experience it in different ways. The best way to help a mother with postpartum depression is just to love her and support her and don’t ever give up on her.

Postpartum Support Crisis Numbers
Get this FREE printable PDF Quick Reference Guide of National Crisis Support Numbers in the Running in Triangles Free Resource Library, available exclusively to subscribers of the Postpartum Depression Survival Guide. Click here to subscribe.