When a woman has postpartum depression, it can be very overwhelming when a friend asks, “What can I do to help?” or tells her “Just let me know how I can help.” Most likely, she is already having a rough time knowing what she can do to help herself much less find the energy to communicate that to you.
I came up with this checklist as a “go between” for those the desiring to help a friend with postpartum depression and the mom who needs help but doesn’t know how to ask. The aim is to give the mom a way to express what would be most (and least) helpful without putting it on her to call and ask for help.
Note: The goal is to provide a support system for the mom experiencing this illness right now. As you look at this list, think realistically about what you personally are able to do. There is no way that any one person can be everything to someone. Ideally, a group of people/friends could come alongside her during this time. Also, there’s going to be some items on the list that the Mom will want to have a say in who she is comfortable allowing them to do it (like watching her children). Don’t take it personally if there is only certain people that she is comfortable with.
Here is the list:
Helping Moms Checklist
How to use this list:
After you have the mom complete it, get together with some of the people she feels close to and decide who is able to do what. It would be awesome to organize something being done every day or every other day for her. This also works as a way to be checking on her regularly to make sure she’s okay.
I would recommend picking one or two things that you could help with weekly or every other week. If five people are doing one item a week that is a LOT more help than she was previously receiving.
Realize that PPD has no clear ending time. It could take her just a few weeks to feel better or a few months. Or even longer. Take that into consideration when you decide what you can help with.
Let me know if there are things I missed! I’m always looking to make the list better and more usable!