I need to help my friend with PPD - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 4 Old 02-08-2010, 11:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have a friend who I've been friends with since we were babies, and she now has a 2.5-year-old son.
She has PPD and severe anxiety ever since he was born, and she tells me all the time how she's "not the same anymore". She had a really fast period of adjustment. Went from breaking up with her ex to dating a guy, pregnant within a month, married within 3 months, dropped out of school, quit working - all when she was barely 21 years old. And her DH's family is really overbearing and controlling and borderline scary. (Her MIL made them move into her house and kept giving my friend anxiety meds so she would sleep, and then taking the baby away from her. She would only wake her up to breastfeed him). Creepy stuff!
So my friend and I were talking and she is still struggling with this. She says she never wants to have a baby again because she feels like she can barely get by with her 2.5 year old son. He still breastfeeds and cosleeps, and it isn't something they still want to be doing, but he won't sleep in his own bed and won't stop breastfeeding - he just cries and freaks out if she refuses. He is their only kid, so they baby him a lot, understandably.
She is coming to spend the day with me in a couple weeks (and bringing her son) and I want to do something to help her. She lives a couple hours away from me now, but she talks about how I'm the only one who understands her and how hard it is to adjust to being a parent and to have a separate identity after having a baby.
What can I do to help her???? Sometimes I feel like her situation is really critical. She is very unhappy. She has kind of thrown herself full-force into religion, and she has changed a lot since doing that. She used to be really carefree and fun, loud, and exciting. Now she is so timid and has constant conflict with all the friends she had before she was a mother. She always feels like they are judging her and feels inferior to everybody. It's ironic because she is probably the most beautiful girl I've ever seen in my life, lost every bit of her baby weight immediately, and she has literally no confidence anymore.
Any advice you can give me would be greatly appreciated! Seriously, any suggestions at all!

Kaiti, in heartbeat.gif with Shane, astrological mama to spitdrink.gif Sophie *12.27.05*, praying.gif Maya *09.25.07*, sleepytime.gif Phoenix *08.23.09* & 3rdtri.gif due *12.04.11*  Having a hbac.gif waterbirth.jpg lotbirth.gif after 3 cesareans!

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#2 of 4 Old 02-10-2010, 02:51 PM
 
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I wonder if the MIL's actions are partly because it appeared to her that your friend was unable to take care of her child. Not that I think it was a good idea....but maybe she thinks she's helping, rather than hurting the situation, with her controlling actions.

I wouldn't assume that she has ppd, necessarily. Since she is still doing so poorly, it might be that her other problems are greater factors in her depression than the post partum hormone changes. Just something to think about.

If I were you, I would do all the research I could about depression, ppd, and various treatments and see if you can convince her to get some treatment. The book "Women's Moods" was extremely helpful to me when I first had ppd and was trying to understand what was going on.

It sounds like she needs to take charge of her life. I know what it is like to be overwhelmed with problems and difficult relationships but not have the motivation or creative thinking skills to tackle anything. It is really hard to change anything on your own when you're depressed, you just feel so stuck. If you could encourage her feel hopeful that the situation will get better if she gets some treatment, that could really help. I would think that some meds (or possibly supplements) would help her have a little bit more initiative so that she can then be capable of self care measures, and then be able to work on parenting skills, confidence, improving her marriage relationship, setting boundaries with in-laws, etc.

Could you schedule a daily or weekly phone call with her? One of my SILs does this--a daily phone call with another mom so she can vent, get some validation, some positive, supportive adult conversation every day, talk through parenting problems with a friend. She calls it her "sanity" phone call. You could also use this phone call to help monitor her treatment--ask if she's taking her meds or supplements, find out if they are helping, how she's feeling.

It is really hard in these situations to know when you're crossing boundaries. I had a friend with depression a few years ago and once told her that if she didn't do something about it, it might not get better. My friend was pretty shocked at how pessimistic that sounded. I was finally able to convince her that she had an illness and that it COULD get better if she got some treatment. And she finally did. She saw a doctor who wrote her a prescription but gave her no other advice or information. I was kind of annoyed at the doctor. BUT, at least she did get better.
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#3 of 4 Old 02-12-2010, 12:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, K-Mom. She's had treatment though, and nothing has helped. She got PPD very quickly after her son was born, and she has never really seemed to improve. I mean, she's improved to the point where she can function from day-to-day. But she still calls me in tears about how anxious she feels and how she doesn't feel like herself and hasn't since her son was born.

She was put on antidepressants and anxiety medication immediately after the birth. She didn't want to take them because she wasn't on board with the medicate-depression-away concept, and she was breastfeeding and didn't want any possible transmission of those medications to her son. Because of her MIL, she was pretty much forced to take them.

I have no doubt that she's having a hard to adjusting to her new life as a mom. She's married to a guy who is a work-a-holic and is quite controlling. For about 3 months after their son's birth, he would monitor her breastfeeding to make sure she was getting the baby latched correctly and stuff - it was totally weird. She told me she was weirded out by that, that she could breastfeed just fine, but her husband wouldn't stop interfering with it. The family he comes from values appearances a lot. His mom is Betty Homemaker, and she wakes up at 5am to start canning applesauce, wearing her frilly apron and with her hair curled and perfect. I mean, this lady LOOKS so perfect (she's really quite a mean a-hole once you get to know her a little, but she APPEARS perfect). And she's very pretty. So I think my friend feels like she has to live up to her MIL and that her husband expects that from her, as his mom was that way. It's really sad.

Kaiti, in heartbeat.gif with Shane, astrological mama to spitdrink.gif Sophie *12.27.05*, praying.gif Maya *09.25.07*, sleepytime.gif Phoenix *08.23.09* & 3rdtri.gif due *12.04.11*  Having a hbac.gif waterbirth.jpg lotbirth.gif after 3 cesareans!

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#4 of 4 Old 02-17-2010, 11:13 PM
 
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I think that you could consider encouraging her to find other treatment methods. If she's controlled by others and can't live up to the high expectations placed on her I think a therapist would especially be helpful.

But mostly, I think the best way to be her friend is just be there to listen. If she has a little more of a life outside of this negative home environment, even just through phone and occasional visits, it might help her.

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