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Not sure where to put this but how do I help my friend - PND?

(4 Posts)
SuperBunny Sat 13-Sep-08 19:14:14

She had her second baby 8 weeks ago and I see her every week or so.

We run a parenting group together. There are about 300 local families on the email list and my friend is posting something almost every day. Most people only post once every few weeks or months.

She's asked all sorts:
How do we co-sleep?
I can't put my baby down.
He's a noisy sleeper.
Should I pump yet?
Tell me about your birth experience (hers wasn't bad but I know she doesn't feel satisfied with it. People rather unhelpfully posted all about their wonderful births and how happy they are)

She is generally quite anxious and frets about things but won't necessarily do it openly. When I've seen her, she's been quiet but ok. Not lively and bubbly, which I wouldn't expect with a 3 yr old and a newborn, but she says she's alright. Yet she doesn't smile.

After her DS was born, I took them some dinner and cake on another day and took her and her DC to the park. But I really think she is struggling and I am not sure what to do.

I don't want to barge in and say, 'You seem depressed...'

Should I just keep descending on her with food? Or tell her I am worried. Or invite her out again? I don't want to keep pestering her if she wants to be left alone but I don't want her to think no-one has noticed or that we don't care.

I had very severe depression in the not too distant past so I know how awful it can be. Yet I have no idea how to help someone else.

Philpot Sat 13-Sep-08 20:42:36

I know exactly what it's like (having had PND) and just how you must feel and I've been sitting here for ages trying to come up with some useful advice.
Endless questions to try and get her to open up - that's all I can suggest. Not about the child husbandry side of things but along the lines of 'Have your hormones settled down? My PMT seemed to get 1000 times worse after I had mine', that kind of thing.
Don't tell her how well she is doing as a precursor to any discussion along those lines though - it bolsters all of those 'They all think I'm fine, I'm fooling them, it's working, musn't let them down, musn't let them see how much of a mess I am' feelings you get with PND.
Best of luck, you obviously care and must be a great friend to have nearby. Just sorry I can't be more constructive.

SuperBunny Sat 13-Sep-08 21:08:08

Thanks Philpot. That was helpful to read.

I think I'll invite her over later this week and just chat a bit. She often talks more in email so will gently probe. I've noticed no-one actually asks how a mum is. They always ask how the baby is, how the toddler is coping, if everyone is sleeping (or not) etc.

Philpot Tue 16-Sep-08 11:07:36

I know, and if they do ask, they are generally a bit taken aback if you start telling them the truth. All I felt was a huge amount of shame and still feel funny talking about it, especially as I ended up on prozac for a few months, there is still a bit of a stigma.
If you are not the kind of person who talks openly about your feelings at the best of times you are really unlikely to open up unless confronted or you have a tipping point. For me that was a panic attack in sainsburys because my 4m old DD had woken up when she should have been asleep. Dreadful. Also, the more serious symptoms are publicised more widely and you think that if you don't tick all the boxes that you are just 'a bit down' and it will pass. It does pass, but if you can get some help while you get back to feeling yourself then so much the better.
Sorry, rambling, good luck!

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