Postpartum and perinatal depressions (PPD) are clinical conditions that affect 20 percent of all childbearing women. Read about the differences between PPD and the less dangerous “baby blues.”) It is a medical condition that can be treated successfully.

PPD can strike women with risk factors, such as a personal or family history of depression or someone who has just suffered a recent stressful event, such as marital/partner discord, loss of a loved one, family illness and premature birth. But it is not limited to women with any known risk factors, and it does not necessarily strike those who do have them. The important things to remember are that:

  • It is a real illness
  • A depressed mom is not just making this up
  • She won’t just “snap out of it”
  • It’s not a sign that she’s a bad mother or doesn’t love her baby enough
  • It’s not a sign that she is weak and not working hard enough to get better
  • PPD is no one’s fault – not the mother’s, not the people around her and certainly not the baby

Here’s how you can help:

  • Offer words of encouragement and empathy:
    • Tell her you know how she feels and that she will get better
    • Encourage her to seek therapy and medical attention
    • Let her know she can still be a good mother even if she feels terrible
    • Ask her what you can do to help
  • Answer the phone and take messages for her
  • Help with the laundry
  • Call her during the day just to check in. Call more often if she’s having a bad day
  • Look into her eyes and listen when she talks to you
  • Encourage her to get as much rest as possible and make sure she gets that uninterrupted sleep
  • Be patient.

PPD is not fair and is not what you expected. Recovery could take weeks or months, and the more supportive you are, the smoother her recovery will be. The bottom line is with proper treatment and the love and support of those around her, the new mom will get better and back to her old self again.


For more information:
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