If you think your loved one may be dealing with depression and anxiety while she is pregnant or after the baby is born, you are in a unique position to help. Strong support from you is very important, especially if she needs to seek help from a professional.
It can be hard to know how to deal with the things she is feeling and how to help her. Here are some things you can do to support her.
Know the Signs
Partners and family members are often the first to see signs of depression or anxiety during a loved one's pregnancy or after the baby is born. Learn to recognize the symptoms of depression and anxiety and, if you see any signs, urge her to see a health care provider or visit a clinic.
Listen to Her
Open the lines of communication. Let her know you want to hear her concerns. Here are some ways to start the conversation:
- "I know everyone is focused on the baby; I want to hear about you."
- "I notice you are having trouble sleeping, even when the baby sleeps. What's on your mind?"
- "I know a new baby is stressful, but I'm worried about you. You don't seem like yourself. Tell me how you are feeling."
- "I really want to know how you're feeling, and I will listen to you."
Give Her Support
Let her know she's not alone and you are here to help. Try offering to help in these ways:
- "Can I watch the baby while you get some rest or go see your friends?"
- "How can I help? I can take on household tasks like meals, cleaning, or grocery shopping."
- "I am here for you no matter what. Let's schedule some time together, just you and me?"
Offer to Help
She may feel uncomfortable and not want to seek help. Encourage her to talk with a health care provider.
- "Can I share some information I found that I think might help you understand what you may be feeling?" Go over the information on this website with her and help her understand she's not alone.
- "Would you like me to make an appointment so you can talk with someone?" Call her health care provider or the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Treatment Locator at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) to find a health care provider in the area.
- "I'm very concerned about you." Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for free and confidential emotional support—they talk about more than just suicide.