The storm shall pass but it is nice to have someone with you while it rages.
This can be so true and helpful for many mothers, particularly those struggling with a Postpartum disorder such as depression, anxiety or OCD. Just having another adult around. Someone to make them feel less alone. Someone who talks back when spoken to. Someone who can make decisions when they don’t feel capable to do so. Someone to tell them they are doing things right.
Imagine preparing for 6-9 months for a baby only to feel completely unprepared when you are blindsided by a Postpartum Mental Health issue. So much preparation is focused on the baby…preparing for delivery, preparing for going home, sleep schedule, breastfeeding or bottle feeding, changing, reading cues…
The most advice many mother’s get about self care is “sleep when the baby sleeps”. This is useless advice when given in a vacuum. If you are also not discussing how to plan to get things done around the house. If you are not also discussing how to relax their mind and body so they can rest. If you are not discussing the idea of being “off duty”; or discussing the benefits of rest, then telling them to simply sleep when baby sleeps is futile and can be more harmful than helpful.
The greatest fear of a woman experiencing a PMAD is that she will feel this way forever. That her dream of being a mother is really a nightmare. That she is broken, or that she is alone and unique in her feelings. Whether you can identify with her or not, be there to help her weather the storm. Tell her it will get better and point out when things improve. Encourage her to get help and stand by her while she does.