7 Ways To Help A New Mom Stave Off Depression
If anyone in this world is susceptible to depression, it's a new mom. Besides the fact that your hormones are all over the place, you experience a huge change when a baby enters your world. Moms are tough, and will surprise those around them by all they can accomplish. But sometimes their hard work triggers overwhelming feeling of sadness. Thankfully, with the help of their circle of friends and family, new moms can find their footing and avoid falling into those feelings of desperation. There are many ways to help a new mom stave off depression.
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, somewhere between 10 and 20 percent of new moms will experience postpartum depression (PPD), while an additional 50 percent of moms will get the baby blues, which is a mild, brief bout of depression. The Mayo Clinic defines PPD as a severe, long-lasting form of depression that comes as a result of giving birth. Often, there is little that can be done to totally prevent a new mom from becoming depressed. But, you will be surprised how much she will benefit from little acts of service and kindness. Here are some ways you can help a new mom stave off depression.
1. Offer To Babysit
According to Postpartum Progress, sleep-deprived mothers are at a greater risk for postpartum depression. Offer to keep an eye on the baby for a few hours during the day, or take night duties so that she can catch up on sleep. Or just give her a chance to get out of the house alone and feel like herself again.
2. Give Her A Hand Around The House
The last thing a mom recovering from childbirth needs to worry about is cleaning her house. Still, a messy house is a common trigger for postpartum depression. Moms who are used to having everything in order can find themselves spiraling into depression as they sit there nursing and analyzing every speck of dust, dirty dish, and dust bunny in their home. Don't ask if she needs help, just do it. Run the dishwasher, toss in a load of laundry, sweep, dust, mop, or whatever else you can do while she's resting or feeding her baby.
3. Bring Her A Meal
When you have a new baby, especially if you already have kids, it's nearly impossible to keep up with your baby's feedings, prepare 3 meals (sometimes more if you have picky eaters) and also worry about feeding yourself. This kind of stress can lead to feelings of depression that can manifest in binge-eating or not eating at all, according to The Jewish Woman. Take the stress of cooking off her plate, even if it's just for a day by bringing her a home-cooked meal or take out from her favorite restaurant. Whip up some mac 'n cheese for kiddos and she will love your forever.
4. Join Her For A Walk
The sun and fresh air can do wonders for a new mom who may be feeling a little down in the dumps. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), researchers found that those who exercised regularly were 25 percent less likely to develop depression.Encourage her to join you on a walk or jog. Use the opportunity to chat while you get your hearts pumping.
5. Don't Judge
Did she confide in you that she decided to stop nursing or that she really misses her job and might go back a week earlier than expected? Are her older kids sitting in front of the television entranced in Caillou? Don't judge. This mama is doing the best that she can, and if that means letting her kids play a little more Minecraft than she normally would, or switching to the bottle so that she can keep her sanity, be supportive.
6. Offer A Listening Ear
Sometimes a mom just wants to vent about all of the changes and stresses in her life. Spouses, especially, should just hear them out, even if what they are saying sounds over-the-top. According to Postpartum Progress being there to listen, rather than telling her she is wrong, is the best thing you can do for a new mom.
7. Take Her Out
Everyone has experienced cabin fever. Just think about the rainiest summer days, or the end of February after weeks of snowfall. That's how it feels to be a new mom. It takes so much work to pack the diaper bag and to finally shower, wash and style your hair and put on some makeup that you tend to stay home. A lot. Help a new mom stave of depression by taking her out for a few hours. Whether she has a babysitter, or you guys bring the baby, too. She will totally appreciate being able to get out of the house.