RESPONSE FROM ADVISORY BOARD PSYCHOLOGIST AMANDA BRYEN:
Thank you for your question – it is a good one.
The first thing to ask your friend is: “How long have you been feeling like this?”
Let her know that the Baby blues occurs a few days after the baby’s birth, and then will go away after 3 or 4 days (maximum one week). The Baby blues are very common, it is said to be caused by the big hormonal adjustment happening in the woman’s body.
However, if the new mum continues to feel very emotional and ‘out of sorts’, ‘not myself’, extreme fatigue, irritable, irrational thinking, sad, down, angry, anxious, and/or has mood swings, and it has been going on for more than two weeks and is affecting her life, then it is definitely not the ‘babyblues’, it is more likely to be PND.
See the BeyondBlue website for information and facts about perinatal disorders – weblink:
What to do and say to encourage her to seek help:
- Do keep listening to your friend and being emotionally available.
- Offer to help in practical ways (eg, making meals, housework, babysitting so mum can sleep).
- See the BeyondBlue website about how to help others – see weblink:
- “I’ve noticed that you seem really down at the moment”.
- “You are looking very tired and run down and I’m concerned about you.”
- “I see that you are finding things really hard right now”.
- “I notice that you are really stressed-out lately”.
- “I am worried about how little sleep you are getting”.
- “I notice that you are crying (or yelling/upset/angry) a lot more than usual”.
- “It seems to be really hard for you right now and I just want to help”.
“I think it would be a good idea to get some extra support. Have you thought about talking to your GP about things? The doctor may refer you to a counsellor. There’s also a quick 10-question mood assessment online at BeyondBlue”.
Weblink to online assessment:
All the best in your endeavours to help a new mum – you are doing the whole family and community a wonderful service!
Clinical Psychologist, Brisbane.
My focus is to provide mums and their families with an approachable, sensitive, and professional service and my home-visit service provides a truly convenient option for new parents.