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5 Ways to Support a Single Mom With Postpartum Depression

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Being a single mom is hard, but being a single mom suffering from postpartum depression (PPD) is especially difficult. You might feel hopeless, guilty and helpless. You might experience terrifying feelings towards yourself and your baby, but you’re scared of being judged for them, so you don’t ask for help even though you know you need it.

If you know a single mother suffering from PPD, I encourage you to help her in the following ways:

1. Hold her baby.

PPD can cause a new mother to feel an aversion toward her baby, which in turn causes immense stress when she is the only one who can hold her baby all the time. Offer to hold her baby so she can take a break, and take a breath.

2. Let her nap.

Sleep deprivation can be a cruel contributor to PPD, as most new mothers know. But for a single mom who has nobody to help her rest, lack of sleep can be detrimental to her mental health. Take the baby for a few hours here and there and let mom catch up on rest so she can refresh her body and her mind.

3. Stock her fridge.

The stressors a single mom feels after having a baby can result in her losing sight of her priorities, like eating healthy. Cook one, two or three dinners a week for her so all she has to do is heat them up and eat. This will encourage her to eat, and take a little weight off of her already heavy shoulders.

4. Play with her older children.

When you have PPD, it is hard to take care of yourself — let alone a family. Offer to take her older children for the day, so she can focus on taking care herself and her new baby without feeling like she is neglecting her other children due to the feelings of guilt PPD brings.

5. Remind her she isn’t alone.

Keep her close, spend time with her and listen to her. Remind her she isn’t the only one feeling what she’s feeling, and that you are there for her. Remind her she loves her baby, and her baby loves her, and you will do what you can to help her until she beats the PPD.

Single moms with PPD may struggle to function, take care of their families and themselves. Having a little extra help from family and friends can mean a lot to a single mom suffering from PPD, and help her cope through her debilitating symptoms. She may feel too ashamed of her feelings to reach out to you, so please, reach out to her and let her know she is really, truly not alone. 

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Originally published: June 6, 2016
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