If you feel that someone might have pre or postnatal depression they might not realise or want to acknowledge that they’re not behaving as they usually do. Depression can develop slowly.
Do try to give her as much practical help as possible. Depression makes a sufferer feel extremely tired and small tasks feel like huge ones.
Do try to let the mother express her own feelings of anxiety and fear, even if she repeats herself.
Do allow the mother to talk freely and express her innermost fears without showing shock or amazement.
Do show consideration and sympathy for her in her predicament. Reassure her that she will recover, repeat this reassurance as often as you can.
Do encourage her to have as much rest as possible.
Do encourage and praise when the mother makes an effort.
Do encourage her to seek professional help, if she has not already done so.
Do try to get out together, but never force the mother to do anything she doesn’t feel up to doing.
Don’t nag. Try to keep your patience even though it may be taxing.
Don’t point out shortcomings, unfinished jobs, unkempt appearance. Don’t say ‘Pull yourself together. You don’t know how lucky you are. There are lots worse off than you.’
Don’t leave her alone with baby if you feel there is the slightest possibility of her doing harm to the child or herself.
Don’t expect the sufferer to have fears and worries that you feel are reasonable. When you are depressed quite small things can worry or upset you greatly.
Don’t try to cope alone. You may find the present situation exhausting and stressful. Do talk about your own feelings as much as possible but not to your partner, and accept any offers of help from others.