10 Mothers Who Lost The Battle to Postpartum Depression

Everyday, mothers battle against postpartum depression.  And like with any war, there will be some casualties along the way.

It’s hard to ignore the tragic stories we see in headlines of women who have hurt themselves and/or their children.  They are the stories that tend to hit us the hardest.

How could a mother – known for characteristics of loving and protecting her children – do such unimaginable things to them?  We hug our own children close, unable to even think of doing something like that.  She must be a monster, we exclaim!

And we’re not wrong, only a monster would do such a thing.  Mothers with postpartum depression battle against the monster inside their own minds everyday.  But they don’t always win.

These 10 women made headlines when they lost the battle to postpartum depression.

***WARNING*** This post contains graphic details about true stories pertaining to suicide and infanticide, which some may find particularly disturbing.  If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, please click here to find a list of support numbers.

10 Mothers Who Lost the Battle to Postpartum Depression
This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.

10 Mothers Who Lost the Battle to Postpartum Depression

10 Mothers Who Lost the Battle to Postpartum Depression

10 Mothers Who Lost the Battle to Postpartum Depression


Andrea Yates

She is perhaps the most infamous mother who lost the battle to postpartum depression.  Andrea Yates’s battle against postpartum depression was a lengthy one with a tragic ending.  Not only did she have a history of depression and eating disorders as a teen, but she also attempted suicide a few times in the early stages of her postpartum depression.

Unlike many cases of postpartum depression, she received plenty of care, including various different drugs, several hospitalizations and regular appointments with a psychiatrist.  Despite all of the interventions, she continued to suffer from postpartum depression, psychosis and schizophrenia, which worsened after the birth of her fifth child.

Andrea lost the battle to postpartum depression the day that she drowned all five of her children in the bathtub.

It was clear to everyone, including the courts, that she suffered from a mental illness, but maternal mental health was not as widely understood at the time and the law could not protect her.  Initially she was sentenced to prison in 2001.  But after five years, she was moved to a high security mental hospital, and then a year later, into a low security mental hospital where she now remains.

13 Things About Postpartum Depression All New Moms Need to Know
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Lisa Gibson

This story strikes home for me…  literally.  Lisa Gibson was a woman from my own hometown of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.  Her story is what inspired me to speak up about my own postpartum depression battle.

I remember watching the news on that Wednesday morning when the children were found dead and their mother was missing.  I hoped and prayed that she would be found alive as reports came in of a woman in pajamas wandering around near the river.

The Saturday morning that her body was found, part of me felt relieved.  I was truly hoping that she would be found alive, but I also knew that her nightmare was now over.  Lisa Gibson lost the battle to postpartum depression and took her children down with her.  But her struggle inspired me, and hopefully many others, to fight even harder to win.


Jenny Gibbs Bankston

Jenny’s Light is a non-profit postpartum depression foundation that was built after the tragic deaths of Jenny and Graham Gibbs Bankston in 2007.

Jenny’s closest support system had no idea that she was suffering from any type of mood disorder in the 6 weeks following the birth of her son.  It wasn’t until she, very suddenly and without warning, purchased a gun and shot both herself and her newborn son in her own backyard, that they realized something had gone very wrong.

Her family now runs the foundation to help provide women with support, resources and information about postpartum depression and other perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, in an effort to help save others from experiencing the same tragedy.

9 Reasons Why Mothers Don't Talk About Postpartum Depression
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Charlene Ventanilla

It was a short couple of months after the birth of her son when Charlene Ventanilla lost the battle to postpartum depression.  She was found by her husband on her two year old’s toddler bed shortly after stabbing her 8 week baby and herself to death in 2016.

In Charlene’s case, it’s stated that prescription contraceptive pills played a part in her extreme behavior and mood changes.  And since no one knows the exact cause of postpartum depression, it’s entirely possible.  Those who knew her said they had no idea how badly she was struggling, which made it much harder to accept the loss.

You can help support Charlene’s husband, Ken and their older son, Vincent on GoFundMe.


Erin Sutherland

When a tragedy occurs to a mother and baby in the first few weeks or months postpartum, it’s easy to accept postpartum depression as the cause.  However, we know that postpartum depression does not just go away, especially when left untreated.

In the 2015 case of Erin Sutherland from Scotland, she suffocated her baby when she was 10 months old.  She apparently tried to get help when her daughter was 8 months old but was told that support was not available after the first 6 months.

Erin also suffered from postpartum depression following the birth of an older child, so the fact that she had a history of it should have been even more cause for concern.  Instead, she was sentenced to 3 years in prison following a stay in a mental hospital.


Deasia Watkins

The 2015 story of Deasia Watkins is one of the most disturbing ones out there.  While suffering from postpartum psychosis, Deasia stabbed and cut off the head of her 3 month old baby girl.

Before the tragic event took place, many measures had already been taken to help protect Deasia and the baby.  She was prescribed medication and her baby was taken away from her by family services and placed in the care of her aunt.

It is said that her behavior was clearly that of a woman suffering from a mental illness.  She spoke of demons and was often seen talking to herself.  But the psychiatric evaluation she had before her trial found her competent and she was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison.

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Lisette Bamenga

This is another mother who also suffered badly from postpartum psychosis.  The 2016 story of Lisette Bamenga gives us a good idea of just how twisted postpartum psychosis can make someone.

Lisette did not just try to kill her children, she poisoned them, drowned them and then also left them in a room full of carbon monoxide.  After all of this, she tried to commit suicide herself.  She was saved but her children were not.

It’s a truly heartbreaking story of a mother who was obviously tormented by pain.  There was mention of some relationship problems, which likely exacerbated her symptoms.  She was given 8 years in prison.


Florence Leung

Running away from home.  It’s a thing I fantasized about on some of my really bad days, so I can empathize with Florence Leung, a mother from New Westminster, B.C.

On October 25 2016, she left without a trace and it took nearly 3 weeks before her body was found.  

As a registered nurse, Florence knew about postpartum depression and anxiety and had sought treatment for it.  But none of that seemed to matter in the end, and Florence tragically lost the battle to postpartum depression.

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Jennifer Mudd Houghtaling

The story of Jennifer Mudd Houghtaling is an important one to include in this list because it was not only one woman fighting the battle against postpartum depression, but an entire family.

Unlike many women who struggle in silence, Jennifer was open about her postpartum depression.  She spoke about her struggles with her siblings and mother, sought help from her doctors and was honest and open about how she was feeling with her therapists.  She tried all different kinds of medications and when her condition worsened, her sister and mother came to her aid.

Jennifer’s support system tried everything they could to help her.  They had her committed to a psychiatric ward, set up appointments with different psychiatrists and helped manage her medications.  They made sure to never leave her alone.  But despite all of their help, support and interventions, Jennifer managed to jump in front of a train and end her life.

Although Jennifer lost the battle to postpartum depression, her family continues to fight. They established the Jennifer Mudd Houghtaling Postpartum Depression Foundation in Chicago where they offer a 24 hour postpartum depression hotline (866-364-MOMS).


Naomi Knoles

One of the longest battles against postpartum depression was fought by Naomi Knoles.  Her story teaches us never to stop fighting, even when we think the battle is over.

Naomi experienced postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis after the birth of her daughter in 2003.  She suffered so badly that she attempted to take her own life, but was unsuccessful.  Still struggling, Naomi ended her daughter’s life, claiming she was trying to save her from having to grow up and deal with this horrible pain herself.

Naomi served 10 years in prison and upon her release she immediately became an advocate for postpartum depression and maternal mental health.  She volunteered with Postpartum Support International and shared her story in the popular postpartum depression documentary “When The Bough Breaks.”

It seemed as though things were looking up for Naomi.  And then, 12 years after the birth of her daughter, and two years after her release from prison, she committed suicide. 

Mental illness is not something that just disappears.  It can be managed with treatment, but for many mothers, it’s a battle they will fight their entire lives.

6 Ways to Get Online Help for Postpartum Depression
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If there’s one takeaway from these tragic stories, it’s that maternal mental illness is not something that should ever be taken lightly.

Mothers with postpartum depression are often told that what they are feeling is “normal” or their symptoms are brushed off.  This enables the dangerous idea that mothers have to be in much worse condition before they will be taken seriously.  But yet, postpartum depression affects nearly 600,000 women in the US each year.  This is definitely not something that we can continue to ignore.

13 Things About Postpartum Depression All New Moms Need to Know

With more and more information about postpartum depression readily available to new moms, will they take the time to read it?

When I was an expectant first time mom, I knew very little about postpartum depression.  It was surprising because, as a researcher by nature, I wanted to know about every possible complication I could get.  But I scoffed at the thought of getting postpartum depression.  In my mind, mental illness was for the weak.  And even if I did get it, I would never let it get the best of me – I was a strong, positive, confident person.

I horrifically underestimated the power of postpartum depression.  

Ultimately, it did get the best of me and it’s a battle that I still fight to this very day.  I sadly regret not taking the time to learn more about maternal mental health and postpartum depression 10 years ago when I had the chance.  So now I  urge all new mothers, expectant mothers, first, second, third time mothers, to read as much information about postpartum depression as they can find, even if you doubt that you’ll get it.

Here are some specific things that I wish I had known.
13 Things About Postpartum Depression All New Moms Need to Know
*This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.
13 Things About Postpartum Depression All New Moms Need to Know 13 Things About Postpartum Depression All New Moms Need to Know

1. You don’t need to have a history of mental illness in order to get it.

One of the biggest misconceptions about postpartum depression is that it can only occur if you have a history of mental illness.  But because there is no clear reason why women get postpartum depression, this is not a fact we can rely heavily on.  This means that you could get postpartum depression even if you’ve never dealt with mental illness before and have no family history of it.

Another thing to take into consideration is the silent struggle of mental illness.  It’s likely you DO have a family history of mental illness but it was never, ever spoken of.  If we think the stigma of mental illness is an epidemic now, imagine what it was like 40 years ago, or more.

Ruling out postpartum depression based solely on the fact that you have no history of mental illness is not a guarantee that you will not get it.

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2. You can get it even if you have zero risk factors.

Some of the risk factors for postpartum depression are:
  • A personal history of mental illness (depression, anxiety, bi-polar)
  • A family history of mental illness
  • An unplanned pregnancy
  • A difficult pregnancy
  • An emotional experience with pregnancy or childbirth (infertility, miscarriage, premature labor, complications, special needs baby)
  • A traumatic labor and delivery
  • Childhood trauma
  • A history of domestic violence or sexual abuse
  • Stress (including financial or marital stress)
  • Lack of a proper support system
  • Difficulties caring for baby (postpartum complications, breastfeeding problems, colic, etc.)

The list is long but basically it says that if you experience anything other than a “perfect” journey into motherhood, you’re at risk of getting postpartum depression.  So let’s take a long shot and say that everything, from the moment you conceived until your child’s first birthday, went exactly as you imagined and nothing terrible happened along the way…

You could still get it!

Again, no one knows exactly why women get postpartum depression.  Some theories say it has to do with a shift in the hormones – which would mean the risk factors actually have nothing to do with it at all.

10 Mothers Who Lost the Battle to Postpartum Depression

3. It is not always triggered by trauma.

Trauma is a recurring theme on the list of risk factors because it plays a huge role in mental illness.  In fact, our first response when faced with postpartum depression is to think back to what traumatic experience could have caused this.

It’s important to know that trauma is not the only trigger of postpartum depression.  Mental illness tends to prey on the weak, and we are often at our weakest shortly after experiencing a life changing event such as becoming a mother.  Sleep deprivation, physical pain from labor, fears and anxiety and even the simple act of change can all trigger feelings of depression.

Cognitive behavior therapy is a great method to help figure out what is triggering the postpartum depression so that you can learn how to manage it.

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4. It doesn’t necessarily start right after birth.

Making it through the first six weeks unscathed does not mean that you’re in the clear.  Symptoms of postpartum depression can show up anytime within the first year after giving birth.

Some women experience the highest of highs after giving birth and can ride it out for months.  This can make the drastic fall into postpartum depression that much more difficult.

Care for new mothers normally ends around six weeks postpartum.  So it’s not uncommon for symptoms of postpartum depression to show up after this point, when all the help and attention suddenly comes to a grinding halt.


5. It’s likely you will experience some form of the baby blues.

It’s reported that 80% of new mothers suffer from the baby blues.  The fact that it IS so common can actually make postpartum depression harder to diagnose because many women and medical professionals have trouble telling the two apart.

The rule of thumb is that if the symptoms don’t go away after a couple weeks, then it’s probably postpartum depression.  This usually results in mothers being brushed off if they express any kind of concern about their mental health in the first few weeks postpartum.

While there’s no need to worry excessively that the baby blues will turn into something more – there are a few differences that you should keep an eye out for.

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6. The most common symptoms are not the only ones.

When we think of the word “depression” we often associate it with sadness.  But postpartum depression doesn’t always manifest as sadness.  It usually manifests as a feeling of “nothingness.”

Feeling nothing, empty, or numb, is one of the most significant symptoms of postpartum depression because it’s what drives all the other symptoms. Being numb makes us feel fatigued and unable to do the most basic of tasks.  We don’t want to go out anywhere or do anything.  We don’t feel the urge to eat or sleep or laugh.  We may not feel happy, but neither do we feel sad.

Postpartum depression can also cause a variety of different physical symptoms.  Normally we don’t associate physical symptoms with mental illness and so we turn into hypochondriacs trying to find the cause of our physical pain.

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7. It can show up as anxiety, or a combination of depression and anxiety.

Now here’s the real tricky part that always seems to confuse new mothers.  Anxiety.  When looking at a list of postpartum depression symptoms, the symptoms of anxiety and those of depression tend to be lumped together, making it even harder to know what it is you’re dealing with.

A new mother can experience anxiety in combination with postpartum depression, which means that all of that emptiness is replaced with a constant state of fear and worry.  It’s the kind of worry that keeps you up at night.  Things that never seemed to bother you much before now feel like the biggest threats.  You imagine horrible scenarios in your head and do things to prevent them from happening, as far-fetched as they might seem.

Some new mothers deal with anxiety without the depression, in which case, they are not numb to all the normal emotions of motherhood but worry just the same.  Anxiety is a dangerous mental health disorder that can open the door to intrusive thoughts, rage and obsessive compulsive disorder.

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8. Your spouse or partner may be the first to notice that something is wrong.

The people who know you best will notice a change in you before you realize it yourself.  They may not tell you that they notice it, depending on your relationship, but they’ll know.  It’s kind of hard to live that closely with someone and not be able to spot that something just isn’t right.

Part of the responsibility of your spouse, partner, baby’s father, etc., is to help you through this postpartum period and recognizing the signs of postpartum depression falls into that category.  Even if they don’t know exactly what’s wrong, they should speak up if they think you’re acting differently.

Try not to be offended or act defensively when someone you love says you might have postpartum depression.  Approaching the subject of mental health is a hard task and the fact that they’ve said anything at all means they’re truly trying to help.

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9. There is no shame in admitting that you have it.

Mental illness is so stigmatized that women who are suffering from a valid, medical, postpartum complication are afraid to tell anyone.  They believe that battling a mental illness makes them look weak, when in fact, the opposite is true.

Warriors are working hard to end the stigma around maternal mental health, but until then, all we can do is educate others.  The more people know about postpartum depression, the less shame there will be for those who carry the burden.

9 Reasons Why Mothers Don't Talk About Postpartum Depression
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10. While there is no cure,  it is treatable.

Once it’s triggered, postpartum depression lingers around like the annoying friend who’s overstayed their welcome.  With treatment, and a little extra work, it is entirely manageable.

First off, mothers with postpartum depression need to proactively take care of themselves.  They need to maintain their health and keep their stress level down.  Mental illness thrives in a toxic environment, so it’s important to stay positive, eat right, sleep well and be mindful.

Secondly, a form of professional treatment is a must.  This could be anti-depressant medication, cognitive behavior therapy, acupuncture, massage therapy, or hypnosis, to name a few.  There are treatment options that are all-natural and safe for breastfeeding, so that is not an excuse not to seek treatment.

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11. The best place to get help is from someone who understands maternal mental health.

When we hear of stories like Jessica Porten and Andrea Yates, the thought of talking to someone about postpartum depression is terrifying.  These women are being treated like criminals by supposed professionals.  And the public reaction to their “crimes” is even more disturbing.

That’s why it’s important to seek help from someone that you trust, and someone who understands the reality of postpartum depression.  A great place to start is Postpartum Support International.  You can call a helpline to get all kinds of information and support.

If you’re looking for more hands on help, talk to a postpartum doula who are trained specifically to help new mothers and recognize the symptoms of postpartum depression in it’s earliest stages.

6 Ways to Get Online Help for Postpartum Depression
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12. If left untreated, you will likely struggle with symptoms for the rest of your life.

Untreated depression is the number one cause of suicide in the world.  Postpartum depression has claimed many lives and while it is a worst case scenario, it CAN happen to anyone.

Even if the symptoms go away for a while, there is always the risk of a relapse.  The only way to stay on top of the symptoms and win the battle against postpartum depression is by sticking to a treatment plan.

What to Do When Postpartum Depression Makes You Suicidal
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13. It’s entirely possible that you may not get it all, but it’s better to be prepared.

I had three all-natural, drug free births, but that didn’t stop me from researching epidurals and c-sections.  I was thankful that I didn’t have either of them but I wanted to be prepared in the event that I did.

So why is postpartum depression any different?  It’s the most common complication of childbirth and yet no one seems to know anything about it.

There is no harm in researching postpartum depression prior to becoming a mother.  My hope is that you don’t get it, because I wouldn’t wish it upon my worst enemy.  But if you do, at least you’ll be prepared.


For access to even more information, sign up for The Postpartum Depression Survival Guide.
Running in Triangles Postpartum Depression Survival Guide
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12 Ways to Improve Your Mental Health This Year

Our mental health struggles evolve with the seasons.

Throughout the year, our mental health will go through a series of highs and lows.  Whether you’ve been struggling with seasonal affective disorder, depression, anxiety or another mental illness, you may find that it’s worse at different times throughout the year.  In order to improve your mental health, you must consider all the different factors that each season brings.

Here are some ways that you can improve your mental health this year, broken down by months.
12 Ways to Improve Your Mental Health This Year
*This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.

January

The first step to improve your mental health throughout the entire year is to start with a plan.  You only have to plan out as much or as little of your year as you’re comfortable with.  The simplest way to do this is with a calendar of the full year.  You can choose a large desk calendar, a smaller personal calendar, an agenda or a bullet journal.

Start by filling in all your important dates.  Write down everyone’s birthdays, anniversaries, work schedules and appointments.  If you have a vacation coming up this summer, write it on the calendar in great big bold letters!  Don’t forget to schedule in your self-care time!

Then, make a list of goals you hope to achieve and put the dates you want to reach them on your calendar.  Think outside the box when it comes to your goals, don’t be afraid to celebrate the small wins.   For example, if insomnia is a problem for you, then set a goal to get one straight week of decent sleep.  Keep your calendar somewhere you can see it every single day, and don’t forget to update it each month with new tasks and goals.

Having a plan in place, with attainable goals, will help you feel more organized and confident and ultimately improve your mental health.

Download a free printable PDF calendar in the Postpartum Depression Survival Guide Free Resource LibraryClick here to subscribe for instant access!

12 Ways to Improve Your Mental Health This Year, Download a Free Calendar!
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February

Finally, the last of the winter months!  Take some time this month to embrace the cold weather before it’s gone and enjoy all things warm and cozy.  The Scandinavians refer to this practice as “hygge” (pronounced hoo-gah).

The cold and darkness of the winter months can have a strong effect on our mental health, especially if you suffer from seasonal affective disorder.  But knowing that spring is right around the corner can bring a glimmer of hope and actually improve our mental health.

So celebrate the end of winter by getting in one last fire in the fireplace, drink all the hot cocoa and stay in bed as long as you want.

March

It’s time for some spring cleaning! But I’m not talking about dishes and laundry and other everyday tasks.  One of the best ways to improve your mental health is to get rid of all the junk piling up in your living space.  Decluttering your environment is a great way to declutter your mind as well.

Take a few tips from Marie Kondo and organize your spaces.  Clean out your closets, drawers and cupboards.  Get rid of anything that doesn’t have a purpose or bring you joy.  Sort through your paperwork and try to go digital wherever possible.

You don’t need to go full minimalist, but having clean, organized spaces can do wonders for your overall mental health.

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder and How to Treat It
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April

With the arrival of spring, it’s the perfect time to try out your green thumb.  Gardening is a form of eco-therapy that can help to improve your mental health.  Escaping to your garden can be a form of self care, and there are many indoor plants that offer great health benefits.

Gardening is also an activity you can opt to do with the kids.  Not only do they love playing in the dirt, but they can learn so much about the environment and where food comes from.  If you have picky eaters, they’ll be more likely to eat vegetables that they’ve watched grow in their garden.

Plant some seeds this month and you’ll have something to occupy your mind all summer.  Watching your seedlings grow will give you a sense of pride and accomplishment that will boost your mood and self confidence.

May

Warm weather is just around the corner, so it’s time to pamper that dry winter skin.  Our skin and sense of touch has a big impact on our mental health.  That’s why we can feel so overwhelmed and frazzled when we’ve been over-touched all day by our kids.

For months, our skin has been exposed to harsh temperatures, covered up and neglected.  It’s time to book a spa day or massage and facial or even just plan some DIY pampering at home.  Try out a new summer hairstyle, get a pedicure before breaking out the flip flops and switch to a lighter makeup routine for summer.

Focusing on your outward appearance can boost your confidence and improve your mental health.

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June

Finally, the world is bright and green again.  Spend as much time outdoors as possible this month.  Your body has been deprived of Vitamin D, sunshine and fresh air for months, so get as much of it in as possible.

Go for a walk, run, hike or bike ride.  Outdoor activities often feel less like exercise than going to the gym, and exercise is so important for maintaining your mental health.

Don’t put pressure on yourself to get your bikini body ready, either.  Hang up a hammock, dust off your patio chairs or lie right on the grass and relax, completely guilt free. Even having your lunch or morning coffee outside will do wonders to improve your mental health.

You made it through the winter so sit back and enjoy the warmth and sunshine while you can.

July

Do you remember summer vacation as a kid?  If you have fond memories of summer camp, beach days, camping trips or playing from sun up to sun down, then embrace that and be a kid again this month.

Plan some camping trips or beach days.  Swim as often as you can, no matter what you look like in your bathing suit.  Head to the splash parks and let loose.  Take up a new sport that you’ve always to try.  Channel your inner child and just have some good old-fashioned summer fun.  Don’t forget to take a ton of pictures and maybe even put it together in an album to look at each year.

When you’re battling a mental illness, it’s probably been a long time since you had any real fun.  Remembering a happy time from your childhood can help to improve your mental health in the simplest way.

August

This month, it’s time to focus on something that’s so important for our mental health, but often neglected.  Our support system A.K.A. our friends.  It’s not unusual to withdraw from society while battling a mental illness but what we don’t realize at the time is how important it is to have a strong support system around us.  So focus on those friends this month.

Host a backyard BBQ or plan a group camping trip.  Only invite the people you want to spend time with and don’t feel obligated to invite anyone who brings negativity into your life.  If you’re not ready to be that social yet, then aim for a night out with a couple friends that you’ve been meaning to connect with.

Get out of your comfort zone a little bit this month, dust off your social skills and strengthen your social circle.

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September

Back to school season means that everyone is learning something new, so why shouldn’t you?  September is a great month to take up a new hobby or learn a new skill.

Think of something that you’ve always wanted to do.  You could start making sushi, learn calligraphy or take a photography class.  The possibilities are truly endless.  Check Pinterest, a local hobby store or your bucket list for more inspiration.

Distracting the mind with learning something new can improve your mental health by working your brain in a different way.   Doing something artistic, such as painting, is a great way of expressing any bottled up emotions you may be harboring.  And choosing something physical, like a new sport, can help to burn off any pent up energy.

Our minds love a challenge, so put your brain to work this month.

October

Just like that, the warmer weather is coming to an end.  This can bring a sense of doom and gloom, even if you don’t suffer from seasonal affective disorder.  The thought of winter coming back again, plus the added stress of the holidays can have a severe effect on anyone’s mental health.

Be proactive this month in order to improve your mental health.  Sign up for some online therapy sessions that you can do at your own pace in preparation for the stress that lies ahead.  Stock up on aromatherapy supplies and enroll in a yoga class.

Being prepared for the most stressful season ahead can help you feel less overwhelmed.

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November

Whether you start your Christmas shopping early or leave it to the last minute, there should be someone who is at the very top of the list.  You.

This is the month to indulge.  Buy that special something you’ve always wanted but felt guilty splurging on.  Or sign up for a monthly self care box.  I mean, sure, Christmas is coming and you could always add it to your wish list – but there is something so meaningful and significant about buying something yourself.

It’s a way to remind yourself that you are in control of your own happiness.

Prioritizing yourself doesn’t make you a selfish person.  You need to take care of yourself so that you can take care of others.  With the holiday season coming up, your focus is going to shift to your family and friends and making the holidays memorable.

So take the time now to refill your heart and mind.

December

This can be a stressful month for many different reasons:  the financial strain, the stress of Christmas shopping, the long list of events, and anyone who has lost a loved one will miss them especially around the holidays.

One of the best ways to improve your mental health this month is to scale things down.  There is a lot of pressure, especially on mothers, to make Christmas memorable.  Mostly because, when we look back at our happiest memories – they are at Christmastime and we want that for our children as well.

But it’s not about the size of the tree or the gifts.  It’s not about how many crafts or activities or advent calendars there are.  The things we remember most about the holidays is getting together with everyone.

If you want to improve your mental health, scale back the holiday decorations and festivities and focus more on enjoying time with family.


Free Mental Health Calendar

Get this FREE printable 12 Month Mental Health Calendar in the Running in Triangles Free Resource Library, available exclusively to subscribers of the Postpartum Depression Survival Guide. Click here to subscribe.

12 Ways to Improve Your Mental Health This Year
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12 Ways to Improve Your Mental Health This Year

A Year in Review and What’s Happening in 2019

Running in Triangles Year in Review


Happy New Year!

I’m not normally the type of person to make New Year’s resolutions but there is just something about a new year that makes me feel inspired.  It’s a great place to start if you’re looking to change your life and that’s exactly what the Running in Triangles blog has been for me.

This month marks the two year anniversary of Running in Triangles and it has been quite a journey.  When I first started, I knew that I wanted to talk openly about postpartum depression and help raise awareness about maternal mental health.  But I had no idea what an impact it would make on my life and the lives of others.

In 2017, I wrote about all kinds of things I learned while raising my three kids, from sleep training and breastfeeding to party planning.  But it was my posts about postpartum depression that gained the most popularity, and the ones I felt most inspired to publish.

9 Reasons Why Mothers Don't Speak Up About Having Postpartum Depression
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Posts like 9 Reasons Why Mothers Don’t Speak Up About Postpartum Depression and 14 Ways to Help a Mother with Postpartum Depression were easy to write because they were the things that I’ve always wanted to say.  Two years later, they are still some of the most popular posts on the blog and have inspired many women to speak up and seek help.

I didn’t know it at the time, but those two posts have become the cornerstone content of Running in Triangles.   The fact that women don’t talk about postpartum depression was something that needed to change and a big part of the problem is the lack of support.

Their popularity confirmed what I already knew: women with postpartum depression wanted to speak up and their loved ones wanted to help them, but no one knew how or where to begin.

This discovery led to last year’s Postpartum Depression Guest Post Series It was my way of giving these women a safe space to tell their stories without worrying about being judged or criticized.  I accepted and published every single guest post that was submitted, no matter who it was from.

Of course, I led by example and shared my own postpartum depression story, which was not at all easy to do.  I also tackled tougher topics such as intrusive thoughts, postpartum rage and feeling suicidal.  As difficult as it was to research and write about these topics, I knew that mothers needed to be better informed about them.


This past year, I spent a lot of time reading postpartum depression stories, participating in online support groups and watching YouTube videos of women trying to explain what it’s like, and their stories were all so unique.

I read about women who spent thousands of dollars on fertility treatments to conceive, and others who ended up pregnant unexpectedly. 

I heard from women who had incredibly supportive spouses, and those who suffered from divorce and separation at the hand of postpartum depression.

I watched some women struggle openly and others do everything in their power to hide what they were feeling.

But one thing was the same… their pain.

Knowing that thousands of other women, from all around the world, were dealing with the same pain, no matter their backgrounds, made me feel incredibly empowered;  as if I had an army of women behind me who could  validate my feelings.


To help put it into perspective, I chose ten questions about postpartum depression and decided to ask as many women as possible to answer them.

I am excited to see how the answers will compare and my hope is that they will prove to other women who might feel isolated and afraid of speaking up that they are not, in fact, alone.

My goal for 2019 is to get at least 200 women with postpartum depression to answer these 10 questions.

If you, or someone you know, has postpartum depression, please click below to submit your answers and help me share this questionnaire so that it can reach women from all around the world.

Mothers Answer 10 Questions About Postpartum Depression
Please note that by submitting this form and providing your e-mail address, you will be subscribed to the Postpartum Depression Survival Guide Newsletter and agree to be contacted via e-mail.  Your e-mail address will never be published on Running in Triangles and you may unsubscribe at any time.

In addition to this exciting challenge,  I hope to continue providing more information about postpartum depression and maternal mental health this year.  They say knowledge is power and it couldn’t be more true when it comes to mental health.  Being misunderstood, judged and stigmatized are some of the biggest barriers for a woman with postpartum depression and it’s my mission to change that.

Thank you so much to all of my supporters, readers, contributors and of course, to my fellow postpartum depression survivors who inspire me to keep going.

What Happens When Someone Incredible Gets Postpartum Depression?

We are all incredible people, no matter what our journey is with postpartum depression.

Some women who end up with postpartum depression have battled mental illness their whole lives.  Some may have gone through a depressed period as a teenager or following some tragedy in their lives.  Maybe they’ve witnessed a family member deal with it, or experienced some kind of childhood trauma.  PTSD can contribute significantly to depression and other postpartum mental health disorders.

But others, like myself, have never faced a childhood trauma or battle with mental illness prior to becoming a mother. 

To go from living the “perfect” life to experiencing the darkness that is depression in such a sudden way feels like being buried alive.  While I no longer struggle with depression on a daily basis, it’s effects remain permanently.  I will forever mourn the loss of the incredible person that I was before postpartum depression took it all away from me.

What Happens When Someone Incredible Gets Postpartum Depression

What Happens When Someone Incredible Gets Postpartum Depression What Happens When Someone Incredible Gets Postpartum Depression

*This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.


I used to be an incredible person.

I had a really great childhood, with parents who loved me and loved each other.

My sister was my best friend and confidant.

Even as an awkward, mixed-race, home-schooled teenager, I never felt depressed or self-conscious.

I embraced my differences, stood up for others and voiced my opinions.

I loved to take care of people and when I started working, I delivered the type of customer service that got rave reviews.

I worked jobs that I loved and was successful at them.

I almost married the wrong man, but then met and fell in love with the right one and had a fairy tale wedding, just like a cliché romantic movie.

We renovated a house in the perfect neighborhood and got a couple of dogs before a baby soon followed.

Life wasn’t always perfect but it was pretty darn close to what I imagined “happily ever after” would be.
Prenatal & Postpartum Depression - Vanessa's Story
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Most of these things haven’t changed.

I still have an amazing husband and a family who love and support me.

I still have the perfect house with the two dogs and three kids.

I still have success doing work that I find rewarding.

Except that now, I have postpartum depression.

It’s been 6  years so I doubt it’s even considered “postpartum” anymore, but I will always refer to it as that. Because until I got pregnant with my second child, I was anything but depressed.

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For the past 6 years, I’ve had to fight every single day to be the happy, incredible person I was my entire life.

Things that came so naturally to me, such as talking to people or taking care of myself – are now things that I avoid at all costs.

Shopping dates and salon appointments were something I looked forward to doing with my friends. I loved fashion and beauty to the point of vanity.  But these days, I feel zero motivation to get dressed in the morning, so I wear the same sweat pants and stained T-shirt all week long.

And when I do dress up, I criticize everything about myself.  I count out grey hairs and wrinkles.  I pinch the rolls of skin on my stomach and make disgusted faces in the mirror.

Instead of styling my hair, I fantasize about shaving it all off.

I can’t look people in the eye anymore, or make small talk with cashiers and servers.

When I talk to someone on the phone I stutter and stumble and forget what I was supposed to say.

I silence my phone when it rings because I need to work up the courage to take the call first.

And if I see someone I know out in public, I duck and hide and hope they don’t notice me.

I’ve never felt as much hatred for myself as I do now and I’ve lost all my confidence to postpartum depression.
What to Do When Postpartum Depression Makes You Suicidal
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I feel sorry for the people who have come into my life only after the postpartum depression because they never got the chance to meet the real me.

The fun me, who was hilarious and clever and the life of the party.

The powerful me, who loved to debate about  controversial topics.

The competitive me, who hosted game nights and Rock Band showdowns.

The inspiring me, who gave the best pep talks and listened to everyone’s problems with empathy.

Those people will say that I’m still like that, but oh, if they only knew. 
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Those who did know me before, walk on eggshells around me now, afraid of what might offend me or set me off.

I make people uncomfortable with my presence, because no one is ever sure what to say to someone with a mental illness.

I’ve forgotten how to break that awkward silence with pleasant conversation.

Friends that used to come to me for advice just feel sorry for me now.

They look at me and think I’ve let myself go… that I’ve given up.

But what they don’t see is that I’m fighting a mental battle every single day just to survive.
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I loved who I was before postpartum depression.

I was happy and fulfilled and determined before postpartum depression. 

I was a people-person, a social butterfly, an extrovert before postpartum depression. 

And now, I am merely a shell. 

I look the same on the outside, but inside I am hollow and empty.  The amazing person that used to live in here is all shriveled up now, unable to move or grow.


Life pushes me along like waves on the ocean, slowly rolling through the days and the months and the years.

I try to stop it, try not to move forward, but there is nothing to hold onto.  I am simply grasping at water.

I want to stay still, I want to press pause.  

Can someone please put me in a glass box so I can watch life happen around me, without having to actually be part of it?

Participating in my own life is exhausting. 

I don’t want it to end because there is a tiny glimmer of hope still inside of me. 

I hope that someday I will feel the desire to live again and then I can come out of my glass box.

I hope that someday, I will be incredible again.

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What is Seasonal Affective Disorder and How to Treat it?

It’s natural to feel like hibernating when cold weather comes along, but it can also be a symptom of something more complex.

Seasonal Affective Disorder, also called SAD, Seasonal Depression or the Winter Blues, can affect anyone during the winter months (and rarely, even in the summer).  It’s a type of depression that is triggered by the change of the seasons and everything that comes with it.  The lack of daylight, colder weather, and the increased amount of time spent indoors can all make a person feel depressed.

It’s important to recognize the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder and seek treatment for them.  Whether you suffer from another type of depression already or this is the only time you experience depressive symptoms, don’t ignore it or brush it off as something minor.  Putting up with it for a few months may be a good enough treatment for a while, but depression can be unpredictable.  Untreated depression is the number one cause of suicide, and while it might sound extreme, seasonal affective disorder can fall into that category.

Here are seven different ways that you can treat seasonal affective disorder this winter.

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder and How to Treat It

*This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.


1. Exposure to Light

The Luxor | Well.ca

The most common treatment for seasonal affective disorder is light therapy.  Since winter is associated with a reduced amount of daylight, it’s believed that this alone can cause seasonal affective disorder in otherwise healthy people.  It also explains why it’s more common in those who live farthest away from the equator.

Regular exposure to bright light is a great way to help ease the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder.  You can purchase one specifically designed for light therapy such as this pyramid shaped one, or this compact travel sized one.  But you don’t need to purchase a special light to reap the benefits of light therapy.  You can simply keep more lights on in the house and switch to LED daylight bulbs instead.

And don’t underestimate the power of pure sunlight.  Since the hours of sunlight during the winter months are limited, make it a point to soak up as much of it as you can.  Get outside in the sunlight as often as possible, even if it’s a cloudy day.  Exposure to natural sunlight can help boost the production of serotonin, which will make you feel a little less depressed.

Check out some of these mood boosting gift ideas!
16 Gifts that will Boost Anyone's Mood
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2. Eat The Right Foods

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

One symptom of seasonal affective disorder is a craving for carbohydrates and sugary, sweet foods which often results in weight gain.  But choosing the right foods can actually help treat seasonal depression.  Complex carbs such as whole grains, fruit, vegetables and beans will still satisfy the craving without the added sugar.

You should also try to eat several foods that contain tryptophan, which can increase serotonin levels. These include foods such as turkey, eggs, salmon, nuts and pineapple.  You can also opt for a synthetic tryptophan supplement such as 5-HTP or L-Tryptophan.

Coffee is something that many people, myself included, depend on to get us through each day.  But too much caffeine can actually stop our bodies from producing enough serotonin.  So while a cup a day is acceptable, try to avoid relying on it too much.

If you’re struggling to eat right, then consider adding an all-natural supplement into your daily routine.  Making a simple change to your overall nutrition can work wonders for your mood and energy levels.


3. Aromatherapy

Photo by Drew L on Unsplash

The use of essential oils and aromatherapy is a popular one for treating depression including seasonal affective disorder.  Our sense of smell has a powerful effect on our brains.  By using the right combinations of scents, we can feel happier and healthier with very little effort.

You can find blends that make you feel energized, relaxed, and reduce tension and stress for a clearer mind.  You can even splurge on an entire set of different scents so that you can choose a different one each day.

Aromatherapy can also help to treat symptoms of insomnia, which can reduce the production of serotonin. By incorporating essential oils into your everyday self-care routine, you can help keep symptoms of seasonal affective disorder under control.


4. Take A Vacation

Photo by Marc Babin on Unsplash

For many regular sufferers of seasonal affective disorder, a winter vacation is an annual tradition.  Having something to look forward to in the winter can help to ease depressive symptoms.  Make sure to choose a location closer to the equator, so that you’re guaranteed plenty of sunshine.

But you don’t have to go somewhere hot and sunny to help treat seasonal affective disorder.  A spa vacation is another way to beat the winter blues.  You can find a spa close to home and still experience a get-away.  Relaxing at a spa and getting massaged and pampered can give you the boost you need to make it through the winter.   Check out Spa Finder for some awesome spa packages!

The only downside to a vacation is that it doesn’t last forever.  The idea of coming back to the dreary winter after a vacation can cause seasonal affective disorder to hit an all time high.  So make the most of your time away, take plenty of pictures and soak in enough sunshine to get you through to the spring.


5. Get Physical Indoors

Photo by Bruce Mars on Unsplash

In the summer time, we’re almost always outdoors doing something.  But in winter, it becomes much more of a chore and can even be dangerous to spend an extended period of time outside.  This sudden drop in our activity levels and the lack of fresh air can contribute to seasonal affective disorder.

Put some extra effort into getting physical indoors.  You can join a gym or sign up for fitness classes.  Swim laps at a local indoor pool or simply walk around the mall.  Try out a dance class or start taking yoga.  There are several things that you can do indoors when the weather isn’t great outside, it just takes a little bit more effort.

Being more (or just as) physical during the winter months as you are in the summer can help eliminate that sudden mood drop when the seasons change.  Plus, exercise is a great way to boost endorphin levels, which is an important mood booster!


6. Practice Hygge

7 Ways to Make Your Space a Self Care Sanctuary
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Hygge, pronounced ‘HOO-gah’ is a Danish way of life that’s recently become popular in Western culture.  It basically refers to anything that makes you feel cozy and comfortable.  It’s a simple concept that you’ve probably done before without even realizing.  The Danish people have incorporated it into all aspects of their lifestyle and make it a priority, especially in the cooler months.

The nice thing about Hygge is that there is no exact science to it.  The main goal is to find things that make you feel comfortable, warm and happy and make them a priority in your life.  Imagine sitting by a warm fire, cuddled up in a soft blanket with a hot cup of tea.  That’s Hygge.  Or what about binge-watching Netflix and eating popcorn in your pajamas with your best friend?  Also Hygge.

Making time to practice Hygge during the cold, winter months could drastically boost your mood and actually give you something to look forward to.  For more information about how to start living a Hygge lifestyle – check out this post from Dominee at Blessing Manifesting.

7. Speak to a Professional

Online Therapy
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Just like any other mental illness, seasonal affective disorder can have a big impact on your life.  Just because it goes away for part of the year doesn’t mean that it’s not a problem.  If you’re struggling hard, then consider speaking to a therapist or another health care professional.

Cognitive behavior therapy and anti-depressant medications are available specifically to treat seasonal affective disorder.  You can find a therapist online to help you get through this winter and all the future ones.

It’s never too late to start seeking help for seasonal affective disorder.  If you realize that this happens to you every year, then be proactive at the end of the summer and take steps to prepare for the grey months ahead.


Treating seasonal affective disorder can feel like we’re fighting our very nature.  Like bears who sense the call to hibernate, we stock up on snacks, crawl into bed and dream of sleeping until the snow melts.  But if we did that, we’d miss out on a lot of life.  Don’t let seasonal affective disorder keep you from enjoying life, especially around the holidays.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder

16 Gifts That Will Boost Anyone’s Mood

The holidays can be exciting.  But what about when they’re not?

For many people, the holidays can be stressful and offer more to dread than look forward to.  Mothers suffering from a mood disorder can feel an added amount of pressure to make things special when they really don’t feel up to it and anxiety can worsen with all of the extra socializing.  And anyone who has lost a loved one may miss them more than usual around the holidays.

Between the cold weather, long stretches of darkness and the financial strain of the holidays, it’s no wonder that up to 20% of people report suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder.

If someone you love is feeling down around the holidays, then consider one of these gifts from Etsy that are sure to boost anyone’s mood.

16 Gifts that will Boost Anyone's Mood

*This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust.


Light Therapy

Warm, soft lighting is a great mood booster.  One thing that often makes us feel down during the winter is the lack of sunshine.  Anything that simulates natural light will help to boost our mood naturally.

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NewMoonBeginnings on Etsy

This lamp from NewMoonBeginnings is made from raw, natural Selenite, which is a crystal used for cleansing negative energy.

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SaltBay on Etsy

A lamp made from Himalayan Rock Salt is another great option.  It diffuses the light and also has cleansing abilities.  This one from SaltBay is a beautiful pyramid shape, however you can also get them in more natural designs.

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mixcrafts on Etsy

A lettered light box is a fun gift that’s right on trend.  Not only does it provide an additional light source for those dark winter days, but it comes with the ability to customize a message each day.  This one from mixcrafts comes with 85 characters and can be plugged in or battery operated.


Inspirational Messages

Quotes and sayings that inspire us have a way of boosting our mood, both directly and subconsciously.  Being surrounded by inspirational messages, whether it’s a framed print in our designated self care sanctuary, or worn on clothing and accessories, is a great way to remind someone of how strong they really are.

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RaincityPrints on Etsy

RaincityPrints does some beautiful work on famous inspirational quotes including everything from Buddha to the Gilmore Girls.  You can have it professionally printed in different sizes, or get it in a digital file and print it yourself (a great last-minute gift idea)!

JessieGirlJewelry on Etsy

These gorgeous minimal cuff bracelets from JessieGirlJewelry have a secret hidden message engraved on the inside of them.  Not only will you look stylish, but you’ll have a little mood boost with you wherever you go.

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TattooMoments on Etsy

Believe it or not, these are temporary tattoos!  This collection from TattooMoments includes 14 tattoos that can last up to 7 days.  This is a great way to show off a motivational message without the commitment of a permanent tattoo.  


Download these 4 FREE 8 x 10 Inspirational Prints in the Running in Triangles Free Resource Library, available exclusively to subscribers of the Postpartum Depression Survival Guide. Click here to subscribe.


The Gift of Comfort

Perhaps it’s our natural instinct to want to hibernate come cold weather, but nothing makes us feel happier than being warm and cozy.  Comfort gifts are a great mood booster, not only because they make us feel good, but also because receiving one is like getting permission to be lazy all day.

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LittleMimis on Etsy

If you’re gonna give a blanket as a gift this year, then you have to go with a weighted blanket.  There are so many benefits of a weighted blanket for someone suffering from depression, anxiety or insomnia.  Even those without a mental health condition will still benefit from the comfort of a weighted blanket.  It’s like being wrapped in a giant hug.  This one from LittleMimis comes in different weights, colors and patterns and can even be custom embroidered.  

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WineALittleGifts on Etsy

These socks are a great way of telling your loved one to put their feet up and relax.  Don’t worry if they’re not a wine drinker because WineALittleGifts sells over 100 different designs, so you’re sure to find the right pair!

LaAquarelle on Etsy

Sleep deprivation can have a negative effect on a person’s mood.  Help your loved one get better night’s sleep with this sleep mask set from LaAquarelle.  It comes in a choice of organic fabrics and includes a lavender satchet you can put under your pillow to help you sleep.


Meditation Tools

Meditation and mindfulness are great ways to improve your mood.  Even for a beginner, the practice of meditation can be easily incorporated into anyone’s self-care routine.  While actual “tools” aren’t a necessity for meditation, there are several gift ideas that can help to enhance the experience.

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SenseSationCanada on Etsy

Aromatherapy is an excellent mood booster and supplement to meditation.  There are so many options available but this necklace diffuser set from SenseSationCanada makes a perfect gift.  The necklace features the popular “Tree of Life” design and comes with interchangeable colored pads, as well as six different essential oil blends.

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mixcrafts on Etsy

Tibetan singing bowls have been used in meditation for thousands of years.  The tone they produce is designed to help relax the mind and body and drown out background noise to aid in focus and concentration.  This copper bowl from mixcrafts is not only a stunning art piece, but useful for meditation and relaxation as well.

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GlimpseGlass on Etsy

Indoor plants have so many incredible mood boosting benefits.  Being surrounded by lush greenery indoors while everything lays dead and dormant outdoors is one way to keep spirits up during the winter.  Choose a low maintenance option, such as this set of 12 air plants from AURAMORE.   Air plants are a great way to incorporate greenery without needing to worry about pots and soil.  Instead, you can put them inside one of these glass terrariums from GlimpseGlass for a beautiful combination.


Encourage Creativity

Being bored and cooped up inside the house during winter will put anyone in a bad mood.  For the holidays this year, consider giving the gift of creativity.  If your loved one already has a hobby, then you’re off to a good start.  But here are a few suggestions if they’re looking for something new to keep their mind distracted and to help lift their mood.

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KirstenBurkeDesign on Etsy

The art of calligraphy is so modern and popular right now.  It’s also an art form that isn’t time-consuming, tedious or strenuous and offers a lot of different applications.  With this beginner’s set from KirstenBurkeDesign, anyone can learn this fantastic skill, all while keeping busy to beat the winter blues.

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Legacy4LifePlanners on Etsy

Coloring offers a simple way to turn off the brain and soothe the mind.  The array of colors can also work as a mood booster on the dark, grey days of December.  This coloring planner from Legacy4LifePlanners not only offers the benefits of coloring, but also provides a place to jot down notes, goals, passwords and make resolutions for the new year.

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HawthornHandmade on Etsy

There are so many different ways to encourage creativity.  Crafting of any kind can make a person feel proud and accomplished, but it’s also a way to ban boredom during the winter months.  On Etsy, you’ll be able to find so many different DIY crafting kits, such as this weaving wall hanging kit from HawthornHandmade.  Some other popular favorites include a macrame kit, a beaded embroidery kit and paint by number sets.  


Celebrations
Give the Gift of Etsy

If you didn’t see something specific on this list that appealed to you, or if you just couldn’t decide, then consider giving an Etsy gift card instead.  It can be printed or emailed to the recipient so it makes a great last-minute gift.  And with thousands upon thousands of different things to choose from, it’s a gift that will definitely put a smile on someone’s face.


I know, firsthand, how difficult winter can be – no matter how much you love the holidays.  The extreme high of celebrating with family and friends ends so abruptly, that it’s common for people to feel depressed shortly after the holidays are over.  By giving a gift specifically to help boost their mood, you’re encouraging long-term happiness.

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16 Gifts that will Boost Anyone's Mood 16 Gifts that will Boost Anyone's Mood

Postpartum Anxiety Insomnia: 15 Ways to Get Better Sleep

The postpartum period is often synonymous with sleep deprivation…

But it’s usually caused by a hungry newborn. 

If that baby isn’t causing all kinds of sleep disturbances and mom still isn’t sleeping, then it could be a case of postpartum anxiety insomnia.  Many mothers find themselves unable to sleep due to racing thoughts, unreasonable worries, and the inability to calm their body and mind at night.

Postpartum anxiety is a common condition that can affect a mother’s life in several different ways.  She may experience social anxiety and avoid leaving the house or interacting with others.  Anxiety can also manifest as anger and cause postpartum rage.  Often, mothers experience a combination of postpartum depression and anxiety.  But sleep deprivation can exacerbate all of these symptoms and cause even worse ones.  There are several ways to treat postpartum anxiety insomnia naturally and stop things from getting out of control.

Here are 15 ways to get a better night’s sleep for moms who are suffering from postpartum anxiety insomnia.

Postpartum Anxiety Insomnia: 15 Ways to Get Better Sleep *This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust.  Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.


1. Create a Routine

Just like sleep training children, a bedtime routine is important for encouraging proper sleep.  Going to bed at the same time each night and performing a few routine tasks will help train your brain and body to know when it’s time to go to sleep.  Rewiring the brain altogether is one of the best ways to help fight off postpartum anxiety insomnia.

Keep in mind that it may take a while for your body to adjust to the routine.  Depending on how bad your postpartum anxiety is, it could take months before you can regularly get a good night’s sleep.  And since postpartum anxiety can be a life-long battle, you should be prepared to make your bedtime routine permanent.

How to Create a Self-Care Routine as a Stay-At-Home Mom
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2. Unplug

Social media is a huge contributor to postpartum anxiety insomnia.  Scrolling through Facebook or watching Netflix before bed will only fuel your racing brain with more needless worries and thoughts.  Make a plan to unplug from technology at least 1 hour before bed.  Turn off the TV and switch your phone to Do Not Disturb mode so that notifications aren’t disturbing you in the middle of the night.


3. Do Some Light Exercise

Don’t freak out – you don’t really have to exercise… I know it sounds exhausting.  The last thing I want to do after taking care of kids all day is exercise.  However, exercise has been known to have a ton of sleep-inducing properties.  So, if you feel like going for a run on the treadmill or doing some yoga, go for it, because it will definitely help fight off postpartum anxiety insomnia.

But if the thought of “working out” is causing you even more anxiety, then save it for the morning instead.  You can still get a serotonin boost by doing a few simple stretches.  Stretch your neck and shoulders, bend over and touch your toes or sit against a wall for a few seconds.  Postpartum anxiety causes a lot of tension in the muscles and stretching those out before bed will help you feel more relaxed.

5 Things to Do When You're Feeling Over Touched
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4. Take a Hot Shower

A hot shower is a great way to calm down before bed.  The steam and heat combined with the gentle massage of the water beating down will relax the muscles and help open up the lungs.  A massaging shower head is a bonus but not necessary.  This can be especially welcome if you’re feeling over touched at the end of the day.

Don’t feel obligated to do anything else except just stand under the water and enjoy it.  A hot bath can work in the same way, if you have the time.  Throw in some Epsom salts for an added boost of magnesium to help relax sore muscles, fight off depression and induce sleep.


5. Sip Some Tea

There are several herbal teas that can help fight postpartum anxiety insomnia.  Chamomile and Valerian Root are the most popular bedtime teas and for good reason.  Green tea, ginger tea and other blends are all great too!  Experiment with different flavors and combinations to find out what works.  Even some plain hot water with a slice of lemon will help you detox before bed.  As long as it’s hot and caffeine-free, it will help to calm and soothe your body from the inside.

7 Ways to Make Your Space a Self Care Sanctuary
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6. Meditate

Meditation is not for everyone.  But if you’re dealing with a case of postpartum anxiety insomnia, it might help to try to cleanse your brain of the millions of thoughts floating around in there.

There are actually a few different ways to meditate. You can try using a guided meditation app to help you get started.  It’s also easy to practice self-guided meditation by setting a timer for a few minutes and sitting quietly as you work on eliminating all the thoughts from your brain.  Meditating before bed is a way to manage your anxiety before your head hits the pillow, so that once it does – you will actually be able to sleep.


7. Invest in a Good Mattress

Sometimes it’s not the postpartum anxiety alone that is causing insomnia.  A good night’s sleep begins with comfort and your mattress has a lot to do with it.  But mattress shopping can be really tricky (I know this because I used to sell them for a living!)  Lying down on a mattress in a showroom for a few minutes is very different than sleeping on it all night long.  You can try several different ones but eventually they all start to feel the same.  And then, once you get that mattress home with you – what happens if you don’t like it after a few nights – or worse, after a few months?

The key to making an important purchase such as a mattress is to look for one that will guarantee you a good night’s sleep.  Unlike big box stores, mattress companies that sell their products directly will offer a better satisfaction guarantee and stand behind their product.   The Nectar mattress, for example, offers a lifetime warranty, free shipping and is the only one I have seen that offers a free trial for an entire year!

If you’re not sure of whether or not your mattress is contributing to your postpartum anxiety insomnia, it’s worth trying out a new mattress to see if anything changes.  Try a Nectar mattress for an entire year plus get $125 off using my affiliate link.

How to Avoid the Stress of Sleep Training
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8. Use a Weighted Blanket

Weighted blankets are all the rage right now.  They have proven benefits to reduce symptoms of anxiety and help improve sleep.  The best part is, they’re a simple tool that doesn’t require anything other than just cuddling up and getting comfortable.

The simple science behind a weighted blanket is that it creates a sensation of safety, similar to being hugged or held.  The heavier the blanket, the more it stimulates your skin and sends messages to your brain that you are safe and protected.  This allows the brain to stop worrying and rest for a while.

Consider purchasing one through Weighted Comforts.  Not only do they offer a wide variety at competitive prices, but they’re also sewn by refugees living in the U.S.


9. Grow a potted plant

There are several plants that encourage a proper sleep environment.  Having a potted plant on your nightstand or anywhere in your bedroom can purify the air and rid it of any toxins or negative energy.  Some plants with scented flowers, such as lavender and jasmine, can actually induce sleep.  This is a beautiful and easy way to encourage your mind to feel at ease enough to sleep.

Don’t feel intimidated if you don’t have much of a green thumb.  Start with one plant and research it to find out how to take care of it.  Many houseplants are low maintenance, so as long as you don’t completely neglect them, they will thrive.  Be warned though, growing houseplants can become a very addicting hobby…

15 Soothing Bedroom Plants to Help You Sleep


10. Start sniffing

Using scents is an easy way to transition the brain into a relaxed state.  The National Sleep Foundation even suggests using scents to help you get a better night’s sleep.  In order to battle a case of postpartum anxiety insomnia, you should consider everything that you are inhaling in your bedroom – from dust and allergens that could be trapped in your carpet or mattress, to the fabric softener you use on your sheets.

There are several different ways to incorporate scents to help your mind and body relax so that you can not only fall asleep… but stay asleep!  Scents that are good for relaxation and inducing sleep include Lavender, Vetiver, Cedarwood, Valerian and Frankincense, but the list goes on.  You can try these in an essential oil (either a roll-on or in a diffuser), a linen spray, candles or scented satchets.  You can even purchase Lavender-scented fabric softener to use on your sheets!


11. Try some background noise

One of the biggest problems with postpartum anxiety insomnia is the brain being unable to stop spiraling at nighttime.  Something worth trying is distracting the brain through the use of background noise, such as gentle instrumental music or white noise like rain sounds.  You could purchase a sound machine, but there are also several white noise playlists on Spotify.  There are even apps that you can download that have a large selection of different sounds as well as other sleep aid features.


12. Don’t be afraid of the dark

Our brains are hardwired to associate sleep with darkness.  With postpartum anxiety insomnia, it’s easy to look around the room and find a hundred other things to worry or think about.  Reduce the amount of outside stimulation by making your bedroom completely dark.  You can install blackout blinds or wear a sleep mask.  Eliminate anything that your eyes can focus on, so cover up the blinking light on the TV and turn your digital clock around.  If you start to feel anxious in the darkness, remind yourself that you can turn on a light whenever you want to, and that you are in complete control.

Online Therapy
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13. Keep a bedside journal

It’s true that we often think of the most important (or completely unimportant) things while we’re lying in bed.  The thought of possibly forgetting about it in the morning can cause a certain level of anxiety and disrupt our sleep.

Writing in a journal or worry workbook before bed can help to eliminate some of the extra thoughts in our heads, but often we have a brainstorm as we’re lying in bed trying to fall asleep.  So keep a journal or notepad and pen beside your bed so that when these seemingly important thoughts come to mind in the middle of the night, we can write them down, go back to sleep and know they will be there in the morning.

14. Increase melatonin levels

Melatonin is a sleep-regulating hormone that is naturally produced by our bodies.  For a woman with postpartum anxiety, those hormone levels could be out of balance causing the insomnia.  While melatonin supplements are readily available, they run the risk of causing side effects, just as with any other drug.  They could also cause problems if a mother is on anti-depressants, anti-anxiety meds or breastfeeding.  If you plan to start a melatonin supplement for postpartum anxiety insomnia, always check with your doctor first.  However, there are ways of increasing your melatonin production naturally.

A lot of it has to do with diet.  Foods that are rich in magnesium can help your body produce more melatonin.  Pineapples, oranges, bananas and tart cherries are also rich in natural melatonin and make great bedtime snacks.

Months of waking up several times in a night to feed the baby or go to the bathroom during pregnancy, etc., can cause your natural melatonin production to slow down.  A change in seasons and increased hours of darkness can also have an effect. You can help correct this by exposing yourself to bright, direct sunlight during the day, and sleeping in complete darkness at night.

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15. Track sleep patterns

The best way to know if you are truly suffering from postpartum anxiety insomnia is to keep track of your sleeping patterns.  Tracking your sleep habits for a week, or a month or longer is a great way to help you identify what is keeping you from getting the best night’s sleep possible.  You can write them down in a sleep tracker log or  download an app that will track your sleeping patterns for you.

Hupnos, The High-Tech, Anti-Snoring Mask
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Sleep deprivation is very dangerous to a mother’s mental health.

If you can’t remember the last time you had a good night’s sleep then you’re at risk for suffering from postpartum rage, intrusive thoughts and a variety of physical symptoms as well.   Consider trying cognitive behavior therapy if something specific is keeping you awake at night.  But if you’ve tried everything you can and still find yourself suffering from insomnia, make sure to speak to your doctor.

For more information about the effects of sleep deprivation, check out this guide from Yoo Health.

Postpartum Anxiety Insomnia: 15 Ways to Get Better Sleep

Postpartum Anxiety Insomnia: 15 Ways to Get Better Sleep

7 Ways to Make Your Space a Self Care Sanctuary

Creating a self care sanctuary in your own home is easier than you might think.

While the term “self care sanctuary” might sound fancy, it’s really just a place filled with things that make you feel comfortable and at ease.  Having a dedicated space to practice regular self care can make doing it seem like less of a chore.  For women battling postpartum depression and anxiety, it can be a place to get away from the everyday mess and chaos that’s associated with motherhood.

Your self care sanctuary can be anywhere you choose.  It doesn’t need to be a separate room in your house – it can be your bedroom, bathroom, or even an outdoor space in your backyard.  You should be able to access it easily and on a regular basis.  Most importantly, it should be a place that you enjoy being and where you feel like you can focus on yourself, regardless of how much time you have.

Here are some tips on how to turn your space into a self care sanctuary.

7 Ways to Make Your Space a Self Care Sanctuar *This post contains affiliate links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust.


Detoxify the Environment

The first thing you need to do to create your self care sanctuary is detoxify the space.  Clean the area thoroughly using non-toxic cleaning products and get rid of any clutter or unnecessary items.  A minimally styled space opens the door to peace and healing and will allow you to focus on yourself without being distracted (and let’s face it, who can relax in a dirty room?).

Once you have a clean, clutter-free space, you can start to incorporate different things to purify the air.
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Your self care sanctuary is a place where you can go to detoxify from the inside out. 

This is why it’s so important for it to be free of toxins and negative energy.  The environment should never feel sterile, but it should feel fresh, clean and pure.  Every mom should have a place where they can avoid dishes, dirty diapers and scattered toys – even if it’s just for a few minutes a day.


Select Comfort Items

When it comes to self care, comfort is essential.  It’s almost impossible to relax when you feel too hot or too cold or if your clothes are restricting and uncomfortable.  Escaping to your self care sanctuary means you get some time away from being climbed on like a jungle gym, or constantly being needed and pulled in different directions.

Consider all the different aspects that make you feel comfortable.
  • Choose furniture that you truly love to curl up in.  It can be a bed, sofa, lounger, hammock, swing or something else.  Try to think outside the conventional idea of comfort.
  • Dress comfortably, whatever that means to youYou can put on pajamas, a robe or even relax completely naked!  Slip on some wooly socks, house shoes or try some toe spreaders.
  • Invest in a weighted blanket.  Weighted blankets have been scientifically proven to help ease stress and anxiety.
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Your self care sanctuary is the ultimate place of comfort and relaxation.

This means different things to different people.  For example, I prefer to be warmer rather than cool and so I love my cozy blankets and fireplace.  But someone living somewhere hot may need a fan or open window to feel comfortable instead.  Try out different things until you find the right combination of comfort.


Surround Yourself in Beauty

Stimulate your brain visually and create a feast for the eyes.  Even if you plan to keep your eyes closed the entire time, your self care sanctuary should still be filled with beautiful views.  The things we look at each day, whether we focus on them or not, form part of our subconscious.

Use positive imagery to help retrain the subconscious mind.
  • Look out the window.  If you have a naturally beautiful view through your window, then make it your focal point.  If you don’t have a great view, install beautiful window coverings or hang plants or sun catchers instead.
  • Cover the walls. Cover the walls in artwork, favorite photos or motivational posters.  Paint the walls a soothing color or make a chalkboard wall where you can write your own inspirational messages.
  • Decorate with intention.  Lighting fixtures, decor, plants and furniture all contribute to the overall feel of your self care sanctuary.  Try to choose pieces that you love or that have special meaning to you.
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Your self care sanctuary is a visually stimulating place that inspires you.

If your self care sanctuary is normally a communal space, then you can still keep it in line with the design of the rest of the house.  Print and frame quotes that inspire you and hang them up in the rest of the house too (Etsy is a great place to find some). Even if you don’t read them everyday, your mind will soak up the beauty, inspiration and positive vibes.

Download these 4 FREE 8 x 10 Inspirational Prints in the Running in Triangles Free Resource Library, available exclusively to subscribers of the Postpartum Depression Survival Guide.  Click here to subscribe.


Soothe the Skin

Our skin has a lot to put up with on a daily basis, and yet, it’s one of our most neglected organs.  We can end up feeling really over touched at the end of a long day of caring for children.  Treating the exterior of our bodies is a great way to feel refreshed and should be an essential part of any self care routine.  As mothers, we tend to keep things low maintenance on a daily basis, sticking to the bare necessities of skin care.

Escaping to a self care sanctuary is the perfect time for a little bit of pampering.
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Your self care sanctuary is where you go to feel renewed and refreshed.

Keep a basket of your favorite skin care products in your self care sanctuary.  This way, you’ll be able to pamper yourself any chance you get.  You don’t need to go all out on skin care every day, but remember to take care of yourself on the outside as well as on the inside.


Cleanse the Body

As important as it is to take care of the outside of our bodies, we also need to remember to take care of what’s inside as well.  Leave any thoughts of  dieting or weight loss outside the self-care sanctuary.  Eating healthy food is something we should be doing all day long and not just during our self care time.

There are still things we can do routinely while in our self care sanctuary that help to cleanse the entire body.
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Your self care sanctuary is where you can reset your mind and body.

Create a routine for yourself that includes daily trips to your self care sanctuary.  Then incorporate all the things you should be doing on a daily basis, such as taking vitamins and checking in on your overall health and well being.  Eventually, it will become second nature.


Make Room for Physical Movement

While your self-care sanctuary doesn’t need to be fully stocked with gym equipment, it should have enough space for some physical movement.  You should never feel obligated to “work out” during your self care time, because that can cause added pressure and might make you avoid it altogether.  But physical movement releases happiness-inducing endorphins, which are definitely a good thing.

There are several different ways to incorporate physical movement within your self care sanctuary.
  • Stretch.  Simple stretching can loosen up a stiff neck or back, a common side effect of stress. 
  • Run.  Running on a treadmill can help to burn off extra pent up frustration or anxiety. 
  • Yoga.  This popular option has several benefits for treating depression and anxiety. 
  • Dance. Turn on your favorite music and let it move you.  You can literally dance like no one is watching.
  • Punch.  If you find that you suffer from anger management problems or postpartum rage, install a punching bag.
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Your self care sanctuary is an outlet for releasing emotions in a physical way.

The point is not to burn calories or build muscles.  The point is to connect with your body, get your heart beating and find an outlet to express any negativity.  And if you just don’t feel like doing anything physical that day, it’s perfectly fine. Don’t ever feel pressured to have to do anything at all during your self-care time.


Embrace Your Creative Side

A self care sanctuary should be a safe place for you to express yourself.  Often, it’s hard to communicate what we feel using words alone.  Art is a different outlet for expressing the stress and feelings that often get built up inside of us.

Artistic expression comes in a variety of different forms.

Journaling, drawing, coloring or painting.  You don’t need to be a professional artist, and it doesn’t have to be a masterpiece.  

Crafting, knitting, sewing or macrame. Don’t try to copy something you saw on Pinterest.  Instead, use it as a way to express yourself and only do it if it makes you happy.  Check out some of these DIY craft kits on Etsy.

Woodworking.  This one is a little more extreme but many people use woodworking as a form of therapy.  The art of working with your hands to create something out of nothing can be so rewarding.

Singing or playing a musical instrument. Don’t feel like you need to be a good musician, sing along to your favorite songs or teach yourself how to play a new instrument without any judgement.

Blogging.  This can be a job, but it can also be a hobby that helps you express yourself through writing and graphic design.

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Your self care sanctuary is a place for self-discovery.

It might take some time to find the right creative outlet and it may change regularly.  If there’s something new you wanted to learn how to do, then the serenity of your self care sanctuary could be the perfect place to start.  You never know what you are capable of until you give it a try.  Having some time and space to work on what’s important to you is a great way to practice self-care.


Once you’ve created the ultimate self care sanctuary, schedule some time to use it!

Download this free PDF workbook designed to help you establish a working self care routine, even as a busy mother.

My Self Care Workbook - A Free Printable PDF
Click Here to Download
7 Ways to Make Your Space a Self Care Sanctuar 7 Ways to Make Your Space a Self Care Sanctuar 7 Ways to Make your Space a Self Care Sanctuary
7 Ways to Make Your Space a Self Care Sanctuary

How to Talk to Your Kids about Postpartum Depression

Have you ever thought about having to talk to your kids about postpartum depression?

When I was first diagnosed with postpartum depression 6 years ago, I was glad that my newborn baby would never remember the dark things I said or did during that time. My oldest child was 2 years old at the time, and I did my best to hide my sadness from him.  For years, I put on a fake smile around my children, family, friends and especially around strangers.

I didn’t want anyone to know that I had postpartum depression, most especially my children.

But since then, I’ve realized how harmful hiding my postpartum depression is.  I was lying to myself and everyone around me and there was no way I could get better without first being honest.  Keeping silent about postpartum depression also meant that I was enabling the stigma to continue.  I was upset about how women with postpartum depression were being treated, but I was doing absolutely nothing about it.

As my kids got older, I continued to suffer from postpartum depression relapses.  They were no longer babies who didn’t know what was happening.  They saw me struggle and watched me cry.  They were afraid to talk to me when I was in a bad mood.  They learned how to pour a bowl of cereal and turn on the TV by themselves because there were so many days that mom just couldn’t get out of bed.  The most heart-breaking part is that they thought it was all their fault.

Here are some tips on how to talk to your kids about postpartum depression.

How to Talk to Your Kids about Postpartum Depression *This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust.  Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.


Use Age-Appropriate Language

I first spoke to my older two children a few years ago.  We often joked about how much my daughter cried when she was a baby, and I didn’t want her to grow up with a complex.  I would say that “mommy had a really hard time but it wasn’t your fault.”  At the time, she was 3 and her brother was 5, so I wasn’t sure how much they would actually comprehend.  I used age-appropriate words such as “boo-boos in mommy’s brain” rather than “mental health disorder.”

As they got older, we continued to talk about it and the words changed.  I never shy’d away from the term “postpartum depression” even though it was a big word for them.  It was important for them to understand the word and get used to it.  I even made them repeat it a few times to get the pronunciation right.

One term that has been steadily used over the years is “bad days.”  The kids know that sometimes Mommy has “bad days” but we get to start over again each morning.  We often talk about ways to make more “good days” happen.

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Encourage Questions

The one question my kids wanted to know was “why” (them and thousands of others).  Unfortunately, I didn’t have an answer for them, and they were OK with that.

I explained that doctors and scientists were working very hard to figure out why because if they do that, then maybe they can find a way to stop it from happening.  I also explained about how I spit in a tube and mailed it to those doctors and scientists to help them figure out why.  They were very interested in that, but mostly about how gross mailing my spit was.

I encourage them to ask as many questions as they can think of, and I try my best to find answers for them.  Now that I am a maternal mental health blogger, I have access to a lot of resources and information about postpartum depression.  I make it my mission to share those resources, because once, I was a very lost parent with a lot of questions that I didn’t have the answers to.

If you’re planning to talk to your children about postpartum depression, it might be worth it to invest some time in research.  Kids are excellent at asking questions that you never would have thought of.

6 Ways to Get Online Help for Postpartum Depression
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Don’t Place Blame

It’s normal to blame postpartum depression on pregnancy and childbirth, but that can often lead children to believe that they did this to you.  The last thing you want is for your children to think that any of this is their fault.

Perhaps it was the act of pregnancy and childbirth that triggered the depression, but it also could have been triggered by any traumatic, hormonal or emotional experience.  Postpartum depression is not unlike a general depression or anxiety disorder that many people battle their entire lives.  It can also resemble depression following PTSD.  There are so many different types of mental health disorders, all of which are important to discuss with your children.

Instead of blaming motherhood for postpartum depression, talk about how having your child changed your entire life, and make sure your child knows that they were worth it.

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Keep a Journal

Writing about your struggle is another way to talk to your kids about postpartum depression.  While your child is very young, keep a journal or write letters to them to help you talk to them when they are older.  It can also be a form of therapy to write out your feelings and you can decide which parts of it you would like to share with your children as they grow up.

You could even consider starting your own blog.  I hope that one day, when my kids are older, they will be able to read all the articles on this blog and get some more insight into what being a mother with postpartum depression was truly like.

A firsthand account of your experience with postpartum depression is not only the best way to share your story with your children, but a great keepsake for yourself once you have survived the worst of it.

How to Start Blogging about Postpartum Depression
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Consider the Future

I often wonder if my own daughters might suffer from postpartum depression upon becoming mothers themselves one day.

My own mother never mentioned anything about it to me and therefore I felt greatly unprepared when it hit me.  In fact, one of the questions I was asked upon being diagnosed was whether or not there was a family history of depression, and truth be told – I had no idea!

I also would have loved it if my husband knew how to support me better, though he did the best he could with the information he had.  This is why it is so important for me to raise my son with the knowledge and ability to support the women in his life who end up suffering from postpartum depression.

If we truly believe in breaking down the stigma around postpartum depression then our daughters and sons need to be educated about it for one day, they will be parents of their own.

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Normalize It

It can’t be taboo anymore.  Women are hiding their pain, ashamed of what is happening to them.  They are dying – killing themselves, in fact, because they just can’t cope with it.  And everyone around them ends up shocked because they didn’t see it coming.

Postpartum depression and mental health issues need to be normalized among the next generation.  Children are a blank canvas who only know what we teach them.  And we need to teach them about the symptoms of postpartum depression and how to help someone who is suffering.  We need to raise empathetic children who understand that mothers with postpartum depression are not bad people.

Talking about postpartum depression on a regular basis will eventually make it a normal part of the conversation, and not something dark and scary.

We need to talk openly and comfortably about it, so that our children will also feel comfortable talking about it.

What to Do When Postpartum Depression Makes You Suicidal
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Be Positive

Postpartum depression sucks.  Your children know this already.  What they need you to tell them is that there is hope for the future.  That it WILL get better.

Don’t focus on talking about postpartum depression as a disease.  Talk about it as something that makes you fight to be stronger.

Share your treatment plan with them, and let them know what they can do to help you have more “good days.”  Find ways to do things together to help your postpartum depression, such as yoga or meditation.

Your children need to know that you WANT to get better.  They need to see you trying to heal.  So if it means that you need to take some extra time away from them to take care of yourself, explain that to them.  Don’t wait until you’re overwhelmed and frustrated and scream “I just need 5 minutes alone!!!”  Explain it to them before you get to that point and avoid the frustration altogether.  It will make for a more positive experience.

It’s alright to let your children see you struggle.  They need to know that it’s acceptable to feel down or depressed, as long as you have a plan to get out of the dark place eventually.  

What Happens When Someone Incredible Gets Postpartum Depression
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Next Steps

Before you can talk to your child about postpartum depression, it’s important to get educated first, whether or not you suffer from it yourself.  Thankfully there are more women than ever before choosing to speak up about their personal experiences.

There are several articles, information, books and research studies available to help you learn more about postpartum depression in the hopes of talking about it to your children.

Bear in mind that deciding to talk to your kids about postpartum depression is not going to be a one-time discussion.  It’s a conversation you will likely need to have over and over again as they grow.  Start a journal now, in which you can write out what you want to say and keep track of questions that might come up.

Discussing postpartum depression and mental health openly and comfortably will ensure that you raise children who are empathetic and inclusive, which are amazing qualities the entire future generation should possess.


Here’s a peek at the discussion I had with my own kids about postpartum depression.

 


Download a FREE PDF Postpartum Depression Questionnaire for Kids!

This list of 10 questions will help you talk to your kids about postpartum depression, self care and how to handle our feelings.  It’s designed to be used by anyone, whether you are directly affected by postpartum depression or not.

Kids Postpartum Depression Questionnaire
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This questionnaire is available for download in the:

running in triangles free resource library

available exclusively to subscribers of the Postpartum Depression Survival Guide.

Click here to subscribe and download this free questionnaire, along with other free resources.
How to Talk to Your Kids about Postpartum Depression
How to Talk to Your Kids About Postpartum Depression How to Talk to Your Kids About Postpartum Depression