When you’re feeling stressed and sad, the last thing you need is people congratulating you about how wonderful life must be for you. Their comments trigger guilt that you’re not be over-the-moon happy. Nearly 20% of women experience this emotional tightrope during or just after a pregnancy (American Academy of Pediatrics).

Perinatal depression ranges from mild feelings of lethargy to full on psychosis requiring hospitalization. For most women, it presents as feelings of sadness, depression, fatigue, and/or anxiety.

Self-care during and after pregnancy improves wellness for both mom and baby. Women who experience stress during pregnancy are more likely to deliver prematurely, putting their infant at risk of developmental delays.

If someone you love is pregnant, help her take care of herself. Remind her nobody expects her to be a “perfect” mom. She will appreciate hearing you tell her that she doesn’t need to decorate the nursery in the latest look, eat only organic foods until baby is weaned, or snap her body back to pre-pregnancy shape. Offer tangible help, and then follow through. Bring a meal, or run an errand. Listen carefully to what she says is worrying her.

Here are some resources: