What do you say to a new mom struggling?

Answered by Jeremy Urbaniak

When speaking to a new mom struggling with postpartum depression (PPD), it’s important to be compassionate, understanding, and supportive. Here are 10 things you can say to offer comfort and encouragement:

1. “This will pass.” The lie that depression tells us is that the pain will last a lifetime. Assure her that with time, support, and treatment, she will start to feel better.

2. “You’re a good mother.” This will be hard for her to believe, as PPD often brings feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt. Remind her of her strengths and reassure her that she is doing her best.

3. “You’ve got this.” Encourage her to trust in her own abilities and remind her that she has the strength to overcome this challenge. Let her know that you believe in her.

4. “Fear is love.” PPD can be accompanied by intense fear and anxiety, which may make her question her love for her baby. Explain that these feelings are a part of the illness and do not diminish her love for her child.

5. “You’re not alone.” PPD can make her feel isolated and alone. Let her know that you are there for her, and remind her that many other moms have gone through this and come out stronger on the other side.

6. “I’ll be right there.” Offer your physical presence and support. Let her know that you are available to help with practical tasks, such as cooking, cleaning, or taking care of the baby, so she can focus on her recovery.

7. “I’m right here.” Be emotionally present for her as well. Listen without judgment, offer a shoulder to cry on, and provide a safe space for her to express her fears and emotions.

8. “What can I do?” Sometimes, a new mom may not know what she needs or how to ask for help. Offer specific suggestions or ask her directly what you can do to support her during this time.

9. “Have you considered seeking professional help?” Encourage her to reach out to healthcare professionals, such as therapists or doctors specializing in postpartum mental health. Offer to help her find resources or accompany her to appointments if she feels comfortable.

10. “You are not alone in this journey.” Share stories of other moms who have experienced PPD and have successfully recovered. Let her know that there is hope and that she can get through this with the right support.

Remember, everyone’s experience with PPD is unique, so it’s important to tailor your words to the individual mom. Be patient, kind, and understanding, and let her know that she is not alone in this battle.