During pregnancy, there’s so much attention directed at the parent-to-be. Everyone is asking How are you feeling? There are work baby showers, friend showers, and family showers. You’re offered a seat (and sometimes an extra cookie) wherever you go. Once the baby is born, there’s a flood of congratulatory texts and phone calls. Friends and family clamor to visit, to drop off a casserole, and to give the new bundle a snuggle. Then, like a cruel magic trick—poof!—so much of that support disappears…just when you need it the most. If you’re a parent, you likely experienced this phenomenon. And if you have a friend who’s a new parent, they’re likely experiencing it, too.

Research shows that up to 42% of pregnant and new parents feel lonely. What’s more, studies suggest that feeling lonely and isolated as a new parent is associated with postpartum depression. With 1 in 5 birthing parents struggling with perinatal mental health conditions—and many more simply struggling to adjust to this new life—it’s important to remember that all new parents need support. (Learn more about the epidemic of new-parent loneliness.)

But for even those of us with the best intentions, it’s not always easy to find the right words for someone who’s struggling. That’s why we put together some ideas for what to say—and when to speak up—if you suspect your friend is having a tough time. 

Texts to Send a Friend Who Just Had a Baby

There are several ways you can help make a friend who’s struggling with new parenthood feel seen, heard, and loved. Some messages you can send on the regular:

  • “I’ve been thinking of you! I know these early days are no joke! Sending all the good vibes.” 

  • “I dropped ____ on your porch. Love you!”

  • “Checking in to remind you that I love you and you are a rock star!”

  • “Can I swing by tomorrow to give you a break to take a shower, a nap, talk, whatever?”

  • “I’m heading to Target/the grocery store. I’m going to grab you ____ .Tell me what else you need and when I should drop it off.”

  • “I need to get some fresh air! Can I take a walk with you and the baby? / Can I borrow your baby for a stroll tomorrow afternoon?”

  • “I’ll be in your neighborhood around ____ time. What am I bringing you?”

  • “Can I steal your toddler for a few hours this weekend?”

  • “I work from home every Friday. I’d love to set up a standing coffee or lunch date. If you’re game, name a time that works!” 

  • “I read this / saw this and thought of you. XOXO”

  • “I’d love to see you when you’re ready for visitors! Can we make tentative plans for a visit the week of ____?”

  • “I know you’re a fab cook, but I’d love to take dinner off your to-do list. Can I drop off ____ sometime this week. No visit needed!”

  • “Some of us are meeting up on ____ date. If you can make it, we’d love to see you! Can be a day-of decision—and tiny humans are welcome if you want to bring!”

                    Signs Your Friend May Be Struggling

                    Everyone changes after becoming a parent. It’s impossible not to. But sometimes those changes are actually signs that your friend is struggling with postpartum depression, anxiety, or another mental health issue. Here are some signs that your friend might be having a hard time as a new parent:

                    • Your friend isn’t answering your texts or returning your calls.

                    • Your friend suddenly seems uninterested in caring for herself.

                    • Your friend seems angry or hostile.

                    • Your friend says things like, “I feel like a failure.”

                    • Your friend’s worry seems out of proportion.

                    • Your friend appears to be unusually restlessness

                    • Your friend seems disconnected or detached from their baby.

                    • Your friend seems to be obsessing about their baby’s well-being.

                    • Your friend seems more exhausted than expected.

                    • Your friend seems to be withdrawing from conversations with others.

                    For more on the signs of mental stress and mental wellness resources, check out our Postpartum Mental Wellness Toolkit.

                    What to Text a Friend Who’s Struggling With Parenthood

                    It can be scary to start a conversation with a friend about their mental health. But it’s even scarier to stay silent. One key: When asking questions, trade the vague “How’s it going?” types of small talk and texts for something that offers your friend a better opportunity to share. Try: 

                    • “I’ve noticed you’re tearing up when we talk. Can we talk about what’s going on?”

                    • “Hi! I noticed you haven’t answered my last few texts—and that’s fine! I just want to make sure you’re okay. I know you are dealing with a lot right now. Sending love!”

                    • “I stumbled upon this mental wellness resource that I thought was super helpful, so I’m passing it on! I hope you find it helpful, too. Talk soon?”

                    • “You’ve mentioned that things are really hard right now, which I totally get. I’d love to talk with you about whatever is going on.”

                    • “To be honest, I really started to struggle at this point postpartum. How are you doing with all the changes?”

                    • “Whatever thoughts or feelings you’re having, I want you to know that you can tell me. I can handle it. I’d love to be here for you.”

                    • “If you’re interested in going to any kind of postpartum support group, I’d be happy to tag along if you need me.”

                    • “When I was postpartum, I started seeing an amazing therapist who really helped me. I can text you her info if you’re interested. I can even help you make an appointment if you’d like.” 

                    • “If you’re anything like I was after ____ was born, you’re on a rollercoaster of emotions right now! Just know that I feel you and you’re amazing. I’m here for you—all hours!”

                    • “I’m going to check in with you again tomorrow morning…and the next day, too!”

                    • “It sounds like you’re really worried about ____. Talk to me.” 

                    • “I miss you! I'm a bit worried since you cancelled our last few plans together. Can we chat?”

                        Final Thoughts on Supporting New Parents

                        Caring for a baby is hard. It can also be isolating, boring, and exhausting…even if you’re not dealing with postpartum depression! So, please, continue to check in—and offer your support—even after the early days.

                        But, please, press pause on the “If you need anything at all, I’m here” comments, and take action instead. Offer an ear, a shoulder, and a helping hand. Change a diaper. Tidy the kitchen. Bring a coffee. Don’t try to solve problems and don’t dismiss feelings with chipper platitudes. And remember, if your pal doesn’t text you back immediately, or they cancel plans, or otherwise seem to disappear—it’s not you! These can be signs that they need your support more than ever. Keep trying.

                        More Need-to-Know Mental Health Info:

                        View more posts tagged, mental health

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                        Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.