The Father of a Pacific Post Partum Support Society client provided the following account:
My general observations of my daughter during her postpartum depression and anxiety included seeing her: fatigued, weepy, irritable, guilty, and experiencing an overwhelming sense of misery. She was generally unwilling to ask for help and would accuse the family of “interfering” when we tried to help her. I witnessed extreme negativity and an inability to focus on any of the joys in her life.
I felt uncertainty and helplessness in the downward spiral my daughter was engaged, caught, and trapped in. My only daughter has always been full of optimism and joy. She possesses a high intellect, and has always approached everything with confidence and determination. She works to ensure a “safe landing” in whatever it is that she is engaged in. It was incredibly hard to witness what she was going through.
During this time, I made many attempts to be there for her, to act as her “sounding board” for whatever she wanted to discuss. It was a difficult, trying period due to the physical distance between us, as well as the severity of her PPD/A. Due to her insight, medical treatment, and the immense support she received from family, friends and Pacific Post Partum Support Society, she slowly started to emerge from her darkest days. It was a daily struggle, but I am happy to say that she is now feeling much better and seems to be even stronger in spite of her PPD/A. She tells me that the experience helped her to learn how to take better care of herself, and she hopes to continue helping others who find themselves experiencing PPD/A.
This father notices a large number of very common PPD/A symptoms in his daughter but struggles to find a way to help her. Many women don’t want to ask for help when they are suffering from PPD/A. It’s common to want to deny the presence of mental illness and it’s also common to be afraid of the repercussions of admitting to having PPD/A. Being present and continuing to listen, as this father did, can be a huge help, even if it seems like a small gesture. PPD/A can be very difficult for the family members of those suffering. It’s important that close family members find support for themselves as they work to help their loved one through PPD/A. If family members are aware of the signs and symptoms of PPD/A it can make a huge difference in the timeliness of treatment and eventual recovery.
For more information about how to help the new mom in your life, whether you’re a partner, friend, or family member, please visit our Supporters page on the PPPSS website. The page includes information on how to help a mother with PPD/A, what to do if she is refusing help, and how to take care of yourself during a very challenging time.