Lucky Things Wellbeing: Tips for helping a friend who might be suffering from post natal depression (part 2)

Hello, well we’ve approached the end of #PNDAW16. During 5-11 September 2016, the charity PANDAs Foundation have been hosting the UK’s first Pre and Post Natal Depression Awareness Week. If you’re a follower of Lucky Things’ Instagram home, you may have seen the pink Pandas. For each Pandas’ pic on my Instagram you may have noticed how the number of pandas on each pic has grown each day. One thing I know is that the more people talk about perinatal depressions and everyday depression, the more people then open up about they have been affected by this directly (or indirectly as it’s affected their loved ones).

You may have seen the earlier post from this week featuring tips on helping a friend who may be suffering from post natal depression. The earlier post mentioned tips about how you might feel about having PND, opening up and talking about your PND. As my friends and contacts came back with so many tips, I wanted to capture them in a second post. So here they are…

Looking after yourself…  “Take time to have a bath/shower….stay clean and relatively happy with your appearance should you need to pop to the shops or a neighbours or even just answering the door! Just a small thing like having freshly washed hair can make a real difference as it sets you up for the day and goes some way to making you feel that anything is possible!”

“Try to eat well, stay hydrated as often it’s a whirlwind when a person feels down they eat junk (I know I do!) but keep healthy food in the house and prepare some healthy meals.”

“Do your utmost to look after yourself and not forget the basics like eating well, drinking enough water and getting fresh air, as well as trying to regain lost sleep at any and every opportunity.”

“Think about trying something like postnatal yoga. Google your local classes.”

“As a friend, always remember the gift of food! People love that”

Get outside, even for a little bit or somewhere close by… “The thing that really helped me, is striking up a friendship with the waitresses at my local cafe. I struggled to get out of the house, shower, get my eldest to eat anything or stop baby puking on the carpet. Going to my local cafe would force me to get ready, pop some make up on and eat something and have a chat. The waitresses would coo over the babies while I had a cuppa.”

“Walk to the end of the road. Post a letter. Go to the corner shop. Any small journey is a huge achievement and will help you feel connected to the everyday world.”

“Plan something for each day so you don’t get isolated. And going to the baby group and talking to people going through the same thing at the same moment in time did help me a lot! I was not at all prepared for what it actually was like having a baby so just to be able to talk about it made such a huge difference to me.”

“Take some time out away from your baby, be it 10 minutes, an hour or half a day. Ask someone you trust to look after baby while you get some alone time to step back and just be you. And try not to feel bad or guilty. If you are feeling ’empty’ it’s harder to give to others.”

“Don’t forget who you are and when you’re able to leave baby with your partner, a family member or friend, take time to do things for yourself.”

Keeping in touch with others…”Just sending a quick message saying “how’s your day been?” can mean so much. My mom-in-law talked to me about having the baby blues and she was so gentle in her approach when checking in with me nearly every day.”

“As a friend, I would check in every other day and send loving messages that don’t need answering.”

“Utilise your support network for tea and empathy. Also, take time out to spend with your loved ones.”

“Facebook and social media is usually good for keeping in touch with others so maybe there are support groups you can join for free and from the comfort of your own home?”

Being a good ear as a friend…“Give your friend or potential sufferer the opportunity to talk openly and help them to recognise depression is there and not abnormal. We all have a role in keeping the experience of motherhood ‘honest’ in our conversations with each other.”

“It must be hard to say out loud that anyone may have PND. So listen to your friend and gauge whether they want to talk about it at all or just hang out with you. I think it’s OK to ask them about it.”

Think about how else you can bond with your baby…“There are many emotional benefits of baby sling wearing as well as physical and practical ones.”

“When I was feeling a bit low after the traumatic birth of my baby, my husband made sure my baby and me had as much skin to skin as possible as this really relaxes baby and mummy.”

 

Depression is a very normal thing and it’s very rare it doesn’t impact people at some point in varying levels during their busy lives. Parenthood is an unpredictable journey where we also need to look out for ourselves. Let’s continue to support the work of organisations like PANDAs beyond #PNDAW16. Thanks again to my lovely friends and peeps who helped me to write this post.

If you’d like to read about more tips, I wrote about 7 things that may help with the baby blues earlier this year. There’s also my post on Singing my way out of the blues.

Also, thank YOU for reading. Please leave a comment below with your thoughts, if you have any other advice or experiences you’d like to share.

Catch up again soon

x Sunita

P.S. I came across the original pic of the pink Panda when looking at street art on Great Eastern Street in Shoreditch.

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