Some days are better than others
Those suffering post-natal depression have good days and bad days. If you are close to a mother who is suffering you need to accept this and offer support on bad days and encouragement on good days. Slowly the good days will increase and the bad days decrease, but this will take time.
Offer a helping hand
As the partner, family or friend of a mother suffering from post-natal depression, try and find time to offer some help around the house, cook a meal or help to care for the baby and give her some time to rest, take a bath, read for a short time or exercise. However, do be sensitive when offering help; whilst you might mean well it may make the mother feel like she is failing or lacking control. Be tactful and perhaps offer to make both of you a cup of tea allowing her to sit and cuddle the baby, then let the mother talk to you about how she feels, even if you can’t offer advice listening can be a great help. Don’t judge, let her express herself without judgement. Find ways to empower a mother to help herself, thus reducing feelings of failure.
It’s a gradual recovery
Sometimes when asked, a mother suffering post-natal depression will say she is feeling much better even when she is not. This may be because she thinks others expect her to feel better by now so it’s easier, or because she doesn’t want to burden others with her feelings. If you are close to someone with post-natal depression it is important to be aware of this and be understanding that she will get better in time, it’s a gradual recovery but she will get there.