In the month of May, most Americans take time to honor the woman (or women) who raised them. Mother’s Day is a time to celebrate the moms in our lives, but anyone who has ever been a new mom knows that daily support is key to success during those first few years of parenthood.
In celebration of mothers around the world, May has been designated as National Maternal Depression Awareness Month. With as many as 1 in 9 women experiencing a mood disorder before, during, or after pregnancy (according to the Centers for Disease Control), the best way to support yourself or a new mom is to arm yourself with the right questions to ask during this vulnerable time.
The “Ask Her” movement for new moms started a few years ago out of the National Maternal Depression Awareness Month programming. The goal of the “Ask Her” campaign was to encourage friends and family members to ask new moms how they were doing and to encourage real answers that could point to potential mental health challenges.
If you are the partner of a new mom, a friend, a medical professional or a loved one, here are a few questions to consider asking a new mom:
- How are you feeling, really?
- Being a new mom is hard, isn’t it?
- What weren’t you expecting about motherhood so far?
- When have you slept last?
- What can I do to give you some time alone?
- What can I do for you?
- Would you like to sit outside for a bit?
- Are you in any pain?
- Do you feel worried about anything?
- Do you feel safe?
- Have you talked to your doctor about those feelings?
Encourage the new mom in your life to open up to you about how they are feeling by sharing your own stories of worry or anxiety during that challenging first year. You can also validate their feelings of worry or sadness, and offer to help with