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Asking For Help - It’s Harder Than It Sounds

posted Oct 27, 2014, 9:25 PM by AndrewandSarah Witzel
Baby care books and websites usually advise asking for help with household tasks such as cooking and cleaning after your baby comes. While this is good advice, especially for women dealing with (or at risk of) perinatal mood disorders, I believe that it is easier said than done.

After my daughter was born, I felt that if I could complete a household chore, then I should. I had many reasons for not asking for help. I felt bad inconveniencing others. I was afraid that answer would be no. I didn't have a lot of family or friends in town, so I didn't feel that I had many people to ask, even if I felt comfortable doing so.

When I have my second baby eventually, I hope I will realize that these excuses stem largely from my insecurity, rather than rationality. I gladly help friends and family who have had babies - why would I assume that my friends and family wcouldn'ttruly want to help me?

Western society values independence and self-sufficiency to a fault. Humans have always lived as communities, and we will continue to always need support in our lives. Asking for help after having a baby is not a sign of laziness or weakness - it is a natural part of new motherhood.

Because perinatal mood disorders are a mental, rather than physical, illness it can be hard to feel justified in needing extra help, even though this is important for recovery. A woman wouldn't be expected to care for an infant all alone while healing from a broken leg or gallbladder surgery. Likewise, asking for and receiving adequate support while recovering from a perinatal mood disorder is being smart, not selfish.