Physical Symptoms of Postpartum Depression That Will Surprise You

Despite being considered a mental illness, there are several physical symptoms of postpartum depression that can also plague mothers. 

The physical symptoms of postpartum depression aren’t discussed as often as the mental or emotional ones.  And sometimes, the physical symptoms are mistaken as a condition of something else, both by mothers themselves and by health care providers. 

Therefore, many mothers with postpartum depression report feeling like hypochondriacs and find themselves constantly googling their symptoms online to find out what is causing them to feel so physically ill.  While it’s important to rule out anything else, it’s just as important to make mothers aware that postpartum depression can also cause physical pain.

Here is a breakdown of some of the physical symptoms of postpartum depression.
Physical Symptoms of 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.
Physical Symptoms of Postpartum Depression Physical Symptoms of Postpartum Depression

Common Physical Symptoms of Postpartum Depression

There are a few physical symptoms of postpartum depression that are common knowledge and almost all sufferers will experience at some point.

Exhaustion and Fatigue

Many mothers will say they didn’t notice they were experiencing fatigue because, well… they’re moms.  And if you’re not exhausted 99% of the day, are you even a mother? But the exhaustion and fatigue caused by postpartum depression goes far beyond the normal tiredness that all mothers experience.

Try tracking how much sleep you’re getting each night.  If it’s a decent amount but you’re still exhausted all day, then you could be experiencing fatigue.

Appetite Changes

This is another one that is commonly missed by mothers.  We are often too busy taking care of the kids to eat or sometimes just forget.  And then we binge eat after the kids go to bed because we haven’t eaten anything all day.  Those aren’t appetite changes…

Appetite changes due to postpartum depression are much more extreme.  An aversion to food altogether is common, but so is non-stop eating.  And this all depends on our personalities.  For some people, it’s hard to eat when they feel sad or stressed.  For others, eating is comforting and makes them feel better.

One way to stay on top of the appetite changes is to watch for weight fluctuations.  A sudden and drastic increase or decrease in weight can signal that postpartum depression has taken a toll on a person’s appetite.

Sleep Problems

This is a physical symptom that can go either way.  Many women cannot sleep at all (insomnia) and others want to sleep all day long (hypersomnia).  This also depends on the individual personality but if a woman has anxiety as well as depression, they are more likely to experience insomnia.

Sleeping pills can help, but there are natural sleep options as well.  Or, try switching to a better mattress.  There are some that you can test one out for a full year to see if it makes a difference.

Postpartum Anxiety Insomnia 1
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Physical Symptoms Caused By Stress

In addition to the more common physical symptoms of postpartum depression, many women experience pain caused by stress.  Stress is a big trigger for symptoms of depression, and as long as stress is a factor in your life, you can expect to have constant mental and physical pain.

Back/Neck/Joint Pain

Tension caused by stress puts a lot of extra pressure on the bones and joints in the body.  When stressed out we tend to tighten up, raise our shoulders, hunch our backs and hang our heads, which isn’t the way our bones and muscles are supposed to work.  In addition to tension-related pain, many sufferers of postpartum depression experience bodily pains due to the large amount of time spent in bed plus a lack of exercise. 

Massage therapy, thermotherapy or a low-impact exercise such as yoga can help to relieve some of the pain.

Headaches/Migraines

Chronic headaches and migraines are also a result of stress and the overall drop in healthy habits.  Without the right diet, exercise or fresh air intake, they are almost unavoidable.  Tension headaches caused by stress can be a regular occurrence.  Certain medications can also cause headaches (or withdrawals from medications)

Essential oil blends that are specially developed for migraines are a better alternative to taking medication on a regular basis.

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Nausea and Digestion Problems

Stress can have quite an impact on the digestive system.  That feeling of knots in the stomach is not just in the head – it’s literal.  Stress and anxiety can cause nausea and constipation or diarrhea.  A poor diet, different medications and a lack of exercise can also result in slower digestion. 

It can take a while to get your digestive system back on track with everything going on, so it’s a good idea to supplement with a digestive enzyme and use essential oil blends for nausea.

Teeth Grinding/Jaw Pain

Stress, anxiety and insomnia can cause severe jaw pain (TMD) from teeth grinding or clenching at night.  Teeth grinding can also contribute to headaches and even cause dental problems.

Using a dental guard can help protect your teeth and reduce jaw pain from clenching and grinding while you sleep.

Chest Pain

Any type of chest pain should always be checked out by a doctor –  don’t automatically assume that your chest pain is a symptom of postpartum depression or anxiety. 

However, if you’ve ruled out the chance of any other condition, it’s very possible that your chest pain is caused by stress from postpartum depression or anxiety.  Chest pain can be a sign of a panic attack, muscle atrophy, dehydration or malnutrition.

A Mother's Guide to Postpartum Rage
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Physical Symptoms Caused By Hormonal Imbalances

Hormonal imbalances can cause a lot of physical symptoms in women with postpartum depression.  It’s important to get your hormone levels checked and make sure that there isn’t another underlying problem that is causing your hormone levels to be out of balance (such as a thyroid problem).  Pregnancy and breastfeeding can cause significant changes in hormone levels.  It may take a long time after giving birth for the hormones to regulate, and during that time you can expect several different physical symptoms.

Hair Loss

Postpartum hair loss is extremely common with the change of hormone levels after birth.  If you’re experiencing hair loss long after the postpartum period is over, then it could be a sign of a hormonal imbalance. 

There are specially formulated hair growth supplements for women with hormonal imbalances that can help your hair stay healthy during the battle with postpartum depression.

Acne

Having hormones that are out of balance is like being a teenager all over again.  Adult acne is a symptom of sudden changes in hormone levels and is a common complaint of pregnant and postpartum women. 

You may need to consider adding an oil free cleanser or blemish treatment to your self-care routine.

Dryness

Dry skin, dry eyes and vaginal dryness are symptoms of an estrogen, progesterone or testosterone deficiency.  While not a big problem on their own, in combination with some of the other physical symptoms of postpartum depression, it can become a nuisance.

Self Care Routine for a Stay at Home Mom
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Dizziness/Lightheadedness

Changes in hormone levels can cause women to experience bouts of dizziness and lightheadedness.  This can also be a symptom of a poor diet and lack of fresh air caused by depression.

Menstrual Changes

This can be a difficult symptom to track for postpartum women.  It’s not unusual for women to experience irregular periods after giving birth, especially while breastfeeding.  But even exclusive breastfeeding isn’t a guarantee of avoiding periods and ovulation.

With a hormonal imbalance, women with postpartum depression may experience drastic changes in their menstrual cycle, such as painful periods or ovulation and severe PMS.  Specialty essential oil blends can help treat the symptoms of PMS naturally.  

Alternatively, some may experience symptoms similar to menopause such as hot flashes, infertility, irregular or missed periods and spotting.  It’s still important to report these changes to  your doctor, though, as you could be suffering from something more severe – such as fibroids or endometriosis

Regardless of what is causing the irregular menstrual cycles, there are natural supplements available to help regulate them.

Reduced or non-existent sex drive

Low or fluctuating testosterone levels can result in a low libido for women with postpartum depression.  But even with balanced hormone levels, sex is normally the last thing on the mind of an exhausted and struggling mother. 

There are different homeopathic libido boosters available that can help despite the imbalanced hormones.

Battling Endometriosis While Suffering From Postpartum Depression
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One of the most surprising physical symptoms of postpartum depression…

A Weakened Immune System

It’s surprising but also it’s not.  A woman with postpartum depression isn’t eating right, exercising or sleeping enough.  They’re unlikely to get out of the house very often so they’re deprived of fresh air and sunshine.  They wouldn’t be exposed to enough of the world’s bacteria to build up an immunity to it (even worse if they suffer from postpartum OCD).

It should actually be no surprise that a woman with postpartum depression will get sick more often due to a weakened immune system.  Being prone to illness can, in turn, increase a woman’s anxiety and tendency to believe that something else is wrong with them.

It can take months or even years before the signs of a weakened immune system start to show, and even longer to build it back up.  There are natural ways to boost your immune system despite all the side effects of postpartum depression.

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Mental illness can have an effect on all parts of a person’s life.  A lot of the time, the illness is invisible and therefore, women with postpartum depression fly under the radar because they aren’t “sick enough.”  In fact, many of the physical symptoms listed here are often blamed on something else, rather than recognized as an actual symptom of postpartum depression.  By treating the mental aspects of postpartum depression, which includes (but is not limited to) online therapy, eliminating stress, eating right and exercising – a lot of the physical symptoms will also get better.


Interview with a Postpartum Doula

A postpartum doula is a newer trend in postpartum care but offers many benefits for new mothers.

The term doula seems to be synonymous with labor and childbirth.  But what many mothers don’t realize is that the first few months in the postpartum period can be even tougher than childbirth itself.  These are the times when mothers need the most support.  A postpartum doula is not just for first time mothers either.  Those with other children at home often need even MORE support to get the rest they so desperately need.

Having help in the first few months after having a baby can greatly reduce the risk of mothers developing postpartum depression.

In an effort to learn more about what a postpartum doula does, I interviewed Lenamarie Gorski, a birth and postpartum doula from Birth With a Voice Doula Service and fellow postpartum depression survivor.  
Postpartum Doula
*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.  *This is a collaborative post and therefore not all of the opinions and statements made are necessarily those of Running in Triangles.
Interview with A Postpartum Doula

1. What is a doula?

A doula is a person that assists a woman in labor. We support the women emotionally, spiritually and through the pain. A doula also assists women in the postpartum period because “it takes a village” to care for a newborn.

2. What is the difference between a birth doula and a postpartum doula?

A birth doula usually ends after the birth.  There is typically one follow up appointment but then the contract ends. The focus is on the birth, pain management and supporting the birthing mom and her partner.

A postpartum doula is strictly for the period after the birth. The focus is on helping with caring for the infant AND mom! I personally try to keep life as normal as possible during my time with a client.

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3. What kind of training do postpartum doulas have?

We typically do workshops. You also are trained in infant CPR as well as breastfeeding for help with the new mom. Certification follows up after the training with work to complete from the accrediting company.

4. What tasks does a postpartum doula do?

A postpartum doula typically does light housework, laundry, preps meals and helps with the infant care as well as breastfeeding. Sometimes we go shopping for the client, anything to keep life moving while the new mom is recovering and adjusting to life with a newborn.

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5. What type of shifts does a postpartum doula work?

It really depends on the client. The typical shift is nighttime form 7pm-7am. I have had clients change me from night to day as the baby grew/slept longer at night. I sometimes help them until they can find a nanny (I also have trained nannies to the everyday happenings in the home) or it is time for the baby to start daycare.

6. How many months after birth does a postpartum doula provide service for?

Its typically 12 weeks but we can be there up to 6 months with a client depending on the baby’s sleep patterns. The four month sleep regression can sometimes have clients call us back since it can be rough, especially for two parents expected to be at work or when there are older children in the home.

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7. Approximately how much does a postpartum doula cost?

It varies. It can be anywhere from $20.00 an hour to $45.00 an hour. You just need to shop around.

8. Are doula services ever covered by private health insurance?

Currently, no. Unfortunately, this has not yet caught on. In NYC they are going to be covering birth doulas with insurance so I’m hoping this is the beginning of an important trend. However, you can always try! You can submit the bill of the doula to your insurance company and see if they will reimburse.

9. What is the best way to find a postpartum doula where I live?

DoulaMatch.net is a great way! Also, word of mouth! Postpartum, birth groups of your area on Facebook or going to a local birth center. Also, Facebook! You can search “doulas” and Facebook pages of local doulas should come up.

Benefits of Doulas
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10. How can a postpartum doula help a mother with postpartum depression?

Doulas are not medical professionals but we have resources for moms with PPD. We also help them by listening and supporting them through that time to tell them that they are not alone! Whenever I start with a client I always share my story of PPD, to tell them that I am a safe place and I am not here to judge the. Motherhood is hard, sometimes you just need a safe and understanding place to go to and often times doulas provide that safe place.

Any additional information you would like to provide about postpartum doulas?

A postpartum doula is not a nanny, we often get confused by that. We are infant specialists; this covers swaddling, sleeping, nursing, bottle feeding, etc. We are a valuable resource for moms and I really encourage everyone to spread the word and get some help in the postpartum period.


Birth With a Voice

Lenamarie Gorski is a birth/postpartum doula and mother of five from Philadelphia, PA. Before finding her passion as a doula, she finished her degree in biology with a minor in chemistry, while raising her first two children. Feeling like she was pushed into c-sections, as well as her struggle with postpartum depression, encouraged her to begin her training to help other women.

“When you have a baby you need support, love and guidance no matter if it is your first or your fifth child. Never be ashamed to ask for help, it is a sign of strength not weakness.”

If you’re interested in hiring a postpartum doula in the Philadelphia, NJ, or Delaware area – you can contact Lenamarie via her website: www.birthwithavoicedoulaservice.com

You can also purchase her New Mommy Box & Breastfeeding Box online.

And don’t forget to follow Birth With a Voice on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter

Do you have a question about postpartum doulas?  Leave it in the comments!

How To Find the Courage to Talk About Postpartum Depression

Most women with postpartum depression know two things – that they should talk about it, and that they don’t want to.

New mothers are bombarded with information telling them that they need to speak up if they just aren’t feeling right.  But they don’t – and for several good reasons.  So how do we bridge the gap between the terrified mothers living silently in darkness and the concerned support system who can only help if they know what’s wrong?

Ending the stigma surrounding mental illness would break down so many barriers.  And more women talking about postpartum depression would help to do that.

The women who DO speak up, are courageous for doing so.  They have decided to ask for help and tell their stories, despite the barriers presented by the medical system and society in general.

Here are some tips for women who want to know how to talk about postpartum depression.
How to Talk 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.

Read About It

Reading the stories of other mothers can help you figure out how to talk about postpartum depression.  Try to read as many stories as you can, because each mother’s experience is different.  You never know which ones will relate to you specifically.  And if you find a story that feels like the author took the words right out of your mouth – then save it and read it over and over again.  Share it on social media or with someone you love.  Let the courage of other woman inspire you to want to share your own story.

Find some stories to read in The Ultimate Collection of Postpartum Depression Stories

The Ultimate Collection of Postpartum Depression Stories Online
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More of a visual person?  You can find hundreds of videos of women telling their postpartum depression stories on YouTube


Write About It

If you want to know how to talk about postpartum depression, then you need to practice what you’re going to say.  Writing it out is a great first step.  You don’t need to be a professional writer nor feel any obligation to share your story with anyone.  Write it just for you.

Write it out on paper, in pen, so that you can’t erase or delete anything.  You can scribble words out but they will still be there like an everlasting reminder that running away from your thoughts doesn’t help.

Write about the bad stuff that you’re too afraid to say out loud.  Write about the sad stuff and keep writing even when your tears soak through the paper.  Write about all the hopes and dreams that haven’t come true for you yet.

When you’re done writing it out – you will want to burn it or tear it up into a million pieces and flush it.  But instead of doing that, find the courage to keep it.  It will help you greatly when you are ready to talk about postpartum depression.

Bonus:  Download and print this free PDF workbook to write about your thoughts in.

How to Start Blogging about Postpartum Depression
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Help Someone Else

Helping someone else who is in the same situation as you are is a great way to learn how to talk about postpartum depression.  One way to do this by joining a private online support group where you can talk more freely with strangers.  Mothers are usually quite honest and open in these groups and ask questions about everything from medications to marriage problems.  If you don’t feel quite ready to ask your own questions, then start by answering one for another mother.

Supporting someone else is incredibly empowering and can give you the courage to talk about your own struggle with postpartum depression.

Here are some online support groups you can join: (I am a member of all these groups as well)

Momma’s Postpartum Depression Support

Postpartum Support International

Postpartum Anxiety Support Group

Postpartum Depression & Anxiety Support Group 

Intrusive Thoughts
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Talk to a Survivor

No one knows how to talk about postpartum depression better than a survivor.  I should mention that, when it comes to maternal mental illness, there are no REAL survivors because there is no REAL cure.

What I mean by a survivor is:
  • A woman who has lived through the worst of it in the first year postpartum.
  • A woman who decided she needed help and asked for it.
  • A woman who spoke up about what she was going through.
  • A woman who made changes in her life to avoid the chances of a relapse.
  • A woman who has established a treatment plan.
  • A woman who’s mind told her to end it all but she didn’t.

Survivors are still battling the pain of postpartum depression and/or are at risk for a relapse.  But survivors have one thing that you don’t… they have spoken up about postpartum depression and lived to tell the tale.  So find a survivor and ask them how to talk about postpartum depression.

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Don’t Do It Alone

Fighting a battle alone is never a good plan, no matter how much courage you have.  It is much easier to talk about postpartum depression when you have someone holding your hand.  Asking for help with postpartum depression doesn’t always mean asking for medication or therapy.  Asking for help can mean something as simple as helping you talk to someone about what you’re going through.

Who do you want to talk to about postpartum depression?  Your spouse?  Your doctor? Your family or friends?  Find a person or group to stand with you as you do it (physically or virtually).  Having someone else there for “emotional support” can give you the courage you need to speak up, and also hold you accountable so you can’t back out at the last minute.

6 Ways to Get Online Help for Postpartum Depression
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One option to consider if you’d like help to speak openly about your postpartum depression to your family and friends is to access an online psychiatrist.  Thanks to the privacy and anonymity that it offers, you can speak to a licensed professional, on your own time, without anyone needing to know until you are ready.  Find out more at Online-Therapy.com.

Consider the Worst Case Scenario

Make a list of all the things keeping you silent.  Which one do you fear the most?  Are you afraid you will be treated like a criminal or child abuser?  That your children will be taken away from you, or that your spouse will leave you?  Maybe you’re worried that someone will judge you, say insensitive things to you or avoid you altogether?

Now make a list of all the reasons why you want to speak up.  Are you struggling and don’t know how to cope?  Do you want to be a better mother and wife?  Do you want others to know why you’ve been acting strange?  Do you feel alone?  Are you scared of what you might do?  Contemplating suicide?

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Which list is your worst case scenario?

Don’t wait for something bad to happen before you decide to talk about postpartum depression.  Think carefully about the consequences of staying silent when you should be speaking up.  Talking about it won’t be easy, and neither is battling in silence – but wouldn’t you rather have an army by your side to fight the war raging inside of you?
10 Mothers Who Lost the Battle to Postpartum Depression

Make Plans For the Future

Thinking about the future can help you decide how to talk about postpartum depression.  It’s easy to get wrapped up in all the darkness happening right now, but the future is that light at the end of the tunnel.  Without help or a plan to get better, the future seems bleak.  It seems like a never-ending life of sadness and despair.

Imagine what you want your future to look like.  Do you want to have more children?  Think about watching your children grow up, helping them with homework and taking family vacations.  Aim to achieve it instead of mourn what would be.  So make a 1, 5, and 10 year plan for your life.  Having a future will give you something to fight for.

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The simple act of talking about postpartum depression can feel like an insurmountable task for many mothers. 

The hundreds of reasons for staying silent are completely valid and understandable.  Postpartum depression is a private matter and there is no need for the entire world to know about a mother’s inner most thoughts and feelings.

But the hundreds of reasons for speaking up are also valid.  It will take a lot of courage, and make a person feel exposed and vulnerable.  But it means that you won’t have to fight this battle alone.  And if you don’t have to fight it alone, you have a much better chance of winning.

Don’t wait for someone to ask you how you’re feeling, take matters into your own hands and find the courage to speak up.


Ready to talk about postpartum depression?  I can help you share your story!

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A Mother’s Guide to Postpartum Rage

Are you even a mother if you’re not constantly yelling at your kids for something?  Getting mad at your kids or spouse is one thing, but postpartum rage is something entirely different.

Mothers who find themselves suffering from episodes of postpartum rage may feel like they are just unable to handle the everyday challenges of motherhood.  Or perhaps they believe it’s a sign of trouble in their marriage and relationships.  Maternal mental health disorders can have a tricky way of making mothers feel like they are failing.  And postpartum rage is one of the scariest tricks yet.

Here’s what moms need to know about postpartum rage.
A Mother's Guide to Postpartum Rage
*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.
A Mother's Guide to Postpartum Rage
Postpartum Rage Info Graphic Postpartum Rage

What is Postpartum Rage?

As the term suggests, it is classified as feelings of uncontrollable anger in a mother who has recently given birth.  Usually set off by something insignificant (but also triggered by valid reasons), episodes of postpartum rage come on very suddenly and escalate quickly.  They are generally out-of-character for most women and can be especially frightening to those around her.

In most cases, women do not get violent, but because postpartum rage is uncontrollable, it can manifest in violent ways such as throwing or breaking things, swearing, screaming or threatening to do something worse.

Postpartum rage is usually a by-product of a maternal mental health disorder such as postpartum depression, anxiety or OCD.  Similar to anger management problems, postpartum rage is caused by an underlying issue that makes it difficult to control feelings of anger.

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Rage vs. Anger

It’s called postpartum RAGE for a reason.  It’s more than just anger or getting upset over something valid.  It’s not deep-sighs of frustration or disappointment.  It’s not “mom’s upset because we didn’t put our toys away.”  It’s full-blown, blood-boiling, fist-clenching rage.  How do you know if you’re suffering from postpartum rage and not just a hot temper?

Symptoms of Postpartum Rage

  • Reacting quickly and passionately over small things (like a spilled drink)
  • Heart races and blood pressure rises when you start to get upset
  • You cannot stop thinking bad thoughts about someone who wronged you
  • Feeling violent urges or imagining doing something violent to yourself or someone else
  • Screaming or swearing
  • Punching or throwing things
  • Unable to “snap out of it” and needing someone else to intervene
  • Inability to remember everything that happened during the outburst of rage
  • Immediately feeling regret or a flood of emotions afterwards

Postpartum Rage + Postpartum Depression (PPD)

If you’ve ever heard the expression “depression is anger turned inwards” then a link between postpartum depression and postpartum rage makes perfect sense.  Sufferers of postpartum depression are usually seen as having very little energy, lethargic, sad and quiet.  In many ways, the opposite of what we imagine when we hear the word “rage.”

Anger is actually a very common symptom of depression.  Postpartum depression brings with it a lot of guilt and feelings of self-loathing or worthlessness.  Mothers with postpartum depression tend to bottle up a lot of these unpleasant feelings.  All of those bottled up emotions can, and will, eventually come out, often in the form of anger and rage.

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Postpartum Rage + Postpartum Anxiety (PPA)

This is perhaps the most common combination of postpartum rage.  Postpartum anxiety causes a mother to be worried, overwhelmed, and feel out of control, which easily opens the door to postpartum rage.

Postpartum anxiety can create situations of distrust and paranoia, which feeds the postpartum rage.  The more situations a mother is placed in where she feels out of control or overwhelmed, the more opportunities postpartum rage has to prey on her soul.  What’s worse is that simply knowing she is prone to episodes of rage can make her mental state much worse.

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Postpartum Rage + Postpartum Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (PPOCD)

Postpartum Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is similar to postpartum anxiety in that it leads a new mother to worry quite regularly.  The difference is that with postpartum OCD, mothers become obsessed about doing something to the point where they can barely function if it isn’t done.  For some women, it’s obsessively cleaning the house, washing their hands or bathing baby, but it can be any kind of obsessive behavior.

If a mother is unable to perform these tasks, it can lead her into a state of postpartum rage due to a loss of control.  She may also be easily irritated and annoyed if she is interrupted while performing obsessive routines and will lash out in fits of rage.

Intrusive Thoughts
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Postpartum Rage + Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Stress is known to have all kinds of detrimental effects on the mind and body.  Many mothers who suffered from PTSD after a traumatic pregnancy or delivery can develop postpartum rage. 

This can stem from any resentment they may hold toward their experience.  They may feel sorry for themselves and be unable to move past the traumatic events.  Or, mothers with PTSD may feel hostile towards the doctors, nurses or anyone else who she believes may have contributed to her bad experience.

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How to Manage It

Step 1: Remove yourself from the situation

As soon as you realize that you’ve lost control – walk away.  It’s important to tell your spouse or partner what you’re going through so that they can intervene if necessary.  Find or create a safe space in your home that you can escape to.

Step 2: Calm down

Take deep breaths, do some yoga stretches, have a drink of water, get some fresh air.  Do whatever you need to do in order to calm yourself down and regain control again.  Sniffing some calming essential oils are a great way to calm yourself down quickly.

Step 3: Find another outlet for your anger

Anger is an important emotion and while you want to keep the postpartum rage under control, it’s imperative that you find another way to express it.  Exercise is a great way to burn off all the pent up energy, as well as getting outdoors or you could focus it towards something creative.

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How to Prevent It

Ask for help

Postpartum rage can get out of control very quickly.  Don’t wait for someone to ask you if you’re alright. Make sure that your spouse or partner knows to get involved if you lose control, even if it makes the rage worse.  There are also counselors, online therapists and support groups available for you to talk to.

National Crisis Support Lines for Postpartum Moms
Get this FREE printable PDF Quick Reference Guide of National Crisis Support Numbers in the Running in Triangles Free Resource Library, available exclusively to subscribers of the Postpartum Depression Survival Guide. Click here to subscribe.
Treat the underlying cause

Since postpartum rage is a symptom of a bigger issue, it’s important to establish a treatment plan to get your maternal mental health back in good shape.  Supplement your existing treatment plan with a proper self care routine that includes stress-relieving practices like yoga, acupressure or aromatherapy.

Track your moods

Keeping track of your moods can help you to avoid an episode of postpartum rage.  By tracking the fluctuations in your mood on a regular basis, you can start to notice any specific patterns or triggers that cause you additional stress.  Download a printable monthly mood tracker and keep it somewhere easily accessible so that you remember to track your mood each day.

Let it go

Stop holding grudges against people who have hurt or offended you.  Let things that have happened in the past remain there.  Dwelling on a bad situation will only encourage that rage, so learn to just let it all go.  Practicing yoga or meditation, or writing things out can be a great way to release those feelings and let them go.

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Replace rage with laughter

Anytime you feel like bursting out in a fit of rage, just start laughing instead.  Yes, you will look like a crazy person – white walls, straight-jacket, insane asylum crazy person.  Laughter can release that built up energy in the same way that rage can, but it’s less frightening and makes you feel something positive instead.  Laughter really is the best medicine.

Avoid stressful situations

Stress is a big trigger for episodes of postpartum rage.  Try to avoid being put into stressful situations. If it’s the bedtime routine that stresses you out, then maybe it’s time to start sleep training – or have someone else put the kids to bed.  Stay away from online mom groups that discuss controversial topics and choose a support group instead.  You may need to re-evaluate your job, financial situation and/or relationships to see what is causing your stress and find ways to make it better.

How to Avoid the Stress of Sleep Training
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Postpartum rage can be a terrifying thing to deal with.  It’s often misdirected towards spouses or children and can have an effect on those relationships.  It’s important to understand that postpartum rage is a symptom of something bigger and make sure that your loved ones know that as well.  The more everyone understands about maternal mental health issues, the easier it will be to recover from them and the less damage it will do to our lives.

If you find yourself suffering from regular outbursts of postpartum rage, make sure to speak to your doctor about them, even if you are already taking anti-depressants or some other form of treatment.  Certain medications can make postpartum rage worse, so you may need to experiment with what works for you.

Additional Resources

Books:

Body Full of Stars: Female Rage and My Passage into Motherhood by Molly Caro May.  [Purchase it at Chapters or Amazon]

Articles:

The Scariest Symptom of Postpartum Depression – The Seleni Institute

Postpartum Rage: When You Start to Lose Control – Mothering.com

We Need to Talk About Postpartum Rage – And Why it Happens – Mother.ly

Anger Management: 10 Tips to Tame Your Temper – Mayo Clinic

Mental Health and Anger Management – WebMD

8 Helpful Postpartum Depression Resources in Canada

Oh Canada – the land of free healthcare!

While healthcare in Canada is free for citizens – and I wouldn’t want it any other way – it can be a challenge for mothers to find and access proper postpartum depression resources.

Obviously, speaking to a doctor would be the first step.

But often, our family doctors, obstetricians or gynecologists were not our first choice, but rather, the ones with the shortest waiting list.  It’s difficult to speak to someone about something as personal as postpartum depression when a strong relationship doesn’t exist.

For mothers in Canada, it’s important to have a list of postpartum depression resources we can access when we don’t get the answers we were looking for from our primary healthcare providers.  Free healthcare doesn’t have to mean that our options are limited.

Here are a few different postpartum depression resources available to Canadians…

Postpartum Depression Resources in Canada *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.


Postpartum Support International

PSI (postpartum.net) is perhaps one of the best postpartum depression resources available to women regardless of where you live.  View their list of postpartum depression resources in Canada for contacts you can reach out to in each province.  At the bottom of the page, you can get information for different support groups available in cities across Canada.

The PSI helpline is available to Canadians (and internationally).  If you’re not sure where to begin on your journey to recovery, but simply know that you need help, calling this number is a great first step.

PSI Toll Free Helpline: 1-800-944-4773 (4PPD)


Postpartum Doulas

A postpartum doula is a fairly newer trend in postpartum support.  While many women hire doulas to help them through labor and delivery, a postpartum doula is specifically there to help you in the postpartum period.

They will do anything that you need – from helping with the baby to cleaning the house and running errands.  Even if you have the support of a spouse or family members, a trained doula comes with a ton of knowledge, both about newborn baby care and maternal mental health.

So if you’re struggling, or worried about getting through the postpartum period on your own – consider hiring a postpartum doula to help.

Where to Find a Postpartum Doula

The best places to find a postpartum doula near you is by searching the member directories on professional certification websites. 

Doula Canadadoulatraining.ca

A Canadian organization that trains doulas and childbirth educators.  They offer listings of doula practices by province.

CAPPA (Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association) | www.cappa.net

An international organization for doula training and certification.  Check out their list of CAPPA certified postpartum doulas in Canada.

ICEA (International Childbirth Education Association)icea.org

A non-profit organization that supports doulas and other professional childbirth educators.  Their list includes both certified and non-certified doulas in Canada.

DONA Internationalwww.dona.org

One of the most widely recognized doula certification organizations – you can search their database for a postpartum doula near you!

Postpartum Doula
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Online Support Groups

An online support group is a great resource for mothers suffering from postpartum depression and other maternal mental health disorders.  There is something so freeing about chatting with a stranger, commenting on posts from women who feel exactly the same as you do, and being able to share any knowledge you’ve come across or support another mother who is struggling.

The Canadian Postpartum Depression Support Network on Facebook has over 600 members and is a very active group with extremely supportive members who comment on nearly every post almost immediately.  There is a benefit to joining a specifically Canadian group, as the members can relate to the healthcare system and treatment options available.  Join this group here.

Postpartum Depression & Anxiety Support Group  is a Facebook group run by Patricia Tomasi – maternal mental health writer for Huffington Post Canada.  With over 1700 members, you’ll find great discussions and a very supportive group.  Join this group here.  You can also follow her Facebook page for lots of great information and articles about maternal mental health.

Postpartum Support International has their own Facebook group as well and it has well over 8,000 members.  You are sure to get a response and lots of support from women all over the world who are struggling with maternal mental health issues.  Join this group here.

Mother Matters is an 8 week online support group open to residents of Ontario.  It is run by the Mental Health Program at Women’s College Hospital, and registration must be done in advance.  Find out more here.

If you’re looking for a more specific group, simply search on Facebook groups for one.  Once you find a group that’s the right fit, it can easily become one of your most treasured postpartum depression resources.

50 Reasons Why Moms Don't Talk About Postpartum Depression


Provincial Crisis Hotlines

In addition to Postpartum Support International’s Helpline, there are several local crisis hotlines available throughout Canada.

A crisis hotline is available 24 hours a day in the event of an emergency or if you are contemplating suicide, hurting yourself or hurting someone else.  The hotline operators are trained to handle emergency situations, especially those pertaining to mental health, so you can rest assured that they will understand what you are going through.

A local crisis hotline is one of the most important postpartum depression resources to keep nearby in case your mental health worsens suddenly.  In the event that you need physical intervention or support, help can be dispatched immediately.

Visit the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention to locate the crisis centers in your province – suicideprevention.ca/need-help

A list of different crisis hotline numbers available by province can also be found on the Your Life Counts website –www.yourlifecounts.org

A Mother's Guide to Postpartum Rage
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Online Counseling

Counseling is an excellent treatment option for women with postpartum depression, however, there are many barriers to meeting with a counselor in person.

Some things that may discourage mothers from seeking face-to-face counseling:

  • Difficulty finding a counselor that you feel comfortable talking to
  • Unable to arrange childcare while attending sessions
  • Unmotivated to leave the house for appointments
  • Scheduling conflicts or a lack of extra time
  • Fear of others finding out that you need counseling

Online counseling is a much better option for mothers with postpartum depression.  Through sites such as Online Therapy and  BetterHelp, mothers will be matched with a counselor based on their needs, and the sessions conveniently take place from the privacy of their own home.

6 Ways to Get Online Help for Postpartum Depression
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Genetic Research Study

The Pact For The Cure is a research study being conducted in Canada by the Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, Ontario.  (It’s also being run in several other countries by their own sponsors).  They are currently trying to collect information from women who have postpartum depression or postpartum psychosis.  With this information, they will hopefully be able to find out the cause of postpartum depression as well as develop better programs and treatment options.

To take part in the study is very simple – it just requires downloading a free app and answering a few questions.  In addition to contributing to this important study, the app provides postpartum depression resources, such as a tip of the week and important phone numbers.

By answering the questionnaire, you will also be given a score on the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) which is a tool most health professionals use to diagnose postpartum depression.  You can take a version of the test here.

If you score high on the test, you may be asked to give a genetic sample to provide even more information.  It’s completely optional and confidential, but a great opportunity to do your part in finding a solution.

Join the PPD ACT Genetic Research Study here.


Health & Wellness Products

Aside from anti-depressants, there are many all-natural and herbal supplements available that can help with the symptoms of postpartum depression.

If you’re not sure of how and where to begin researching which natural treatment options are best for you, I suggest you start with the End Your Depression Treatment PlanYou can read my full review of the e-book here for more information.

In addition to vitamins and supplements, self-care plays a big role in women’s mental health.  Trying to find the right products to help with relaxation and self care can also be difficult and expensive.

[Read: Self-Care Tips for Battling Postpartum Depression]

Postpartum Depression Self Care
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A few popular products known to improve the overall mood and well-being of mothers with postpartum depression includes:

One of the best online sites to purchase health and wellness products in Canada is Well.ca.  Whatever natural products you need for your own self-care routine and to help improve your mental health can be found here.  Check out Well.ca’s Women’s Health Section to find all the products you’re currently using. 

Aromatherapy has amazing health and mood-boosting benefits. There are so many different blends and oils available to treat specific symptoms and create a more positive environment. Learn more about how aromatherapy can benefit you.

Decent, Canadian, online shopping sites are surprisingly good postpartum depression resources because it’s difficult to find the motivation to leave the house to find the products we need for our own health.


Platforms to Spread Awareness

Postpartum depression is dark and ugly.  It’s shocking and harsh and evil and all the bad things in the world.

But it’s also something beautiful.

It’s powerful and real and truthful.  A postpartum depression story, when shared with the world, can change lives.

To see what I mean, check out some of the stories from brave sufferers and survivors of postpartum depression in The Ultimate Collection of Postpartum Depression Stories.


Are you ready to turn your postpartum depression story into something beautiful? Answer these 10 common questions to show other women that they are not alone.
Mothers Answer 10 Questions About Postpartum Depression
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Here are some other platforms where you can share your postpartum depression story:

Or, consider starting your own blog!  Mental health bloggers are doing some incredible things to help spread awareness and end the stigma by speaking up and sharing their stories.  If you’re interested in learning how to start your own mental health blog, check out this tutorial: How to Start Blogging About Postpartum Depression.


It’s unfortunate that there isn’t enough awareness about postpartum depression resources in Canada.

There are a few groups on Facebook that are working hard towards spreading awareness, including Maternal Mental Health Progress in Canada and Postpartum Depression Awareness and they’re definitely worth a follow.

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Get this FREE printable PDF Quick Reference Guide of National Crisis Support Numbers in the Running in Triangles Free Resource Library, available exclusively to subscribers of the Postpartum Depression Survival Guide. Click here to subscribe.


Know of a Canadian postpartum depression resource that’s not on this list? Let me know!

Battling Endometriosis while Suffering From Postpartum Depression

Endometriosis is a condition that plagues nearly 10% of women but is often misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all.

Like postpartum depression, endometriosis is something that isn’t talked about enough.  It causes a considerable amount of pain but so many women learn to live with it and don’t seek the proper treatment.  And those who do seek help, are often told it’s nothing, because endometriosis doesn’t show up on ultrasounds or x-rays or ct scans.

While there is no link between endometriosis and postpartum depression, they do have a lot in common:
  • They are affected by hormones
  • They affect women in their childbearing years
  • They are under-diagnosed conditions
  • They are invisible diseases
  • They are stigmatized and need more awareness
Every women’s struggle with endometriosis is different, just like postpartum depression.  Here is MY story…
Battling Endometriosis While Suffering From 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.

Battling Endometriosis While Suffering from Postpartum Depression Battling Endometriosis While Suffering from Postpartum Depression Battling Endometriosis While Suffering from Postpartum Depression

Battling Endometriosis While Suffering from Postpartum Depression


It was a mere coincidence that both my endometriosis and postpartum depression were diagnosed at the same time, because the two conditions are not exactly linked to each other.  But ever since that diagnosis, they have been intertwined throughout my journey of highs and lows.

It all began when my daughter was 5 months old.  Actually, the postpartum depression symptoms had been going on for a few months already but I was still in denial. 

We took a family trip to Disney World (both kids were still free to get in, so we thought we’d take advantage)!  Despite exclusively breastfeeding, I got my first postpartum period – right there in the Magic Kingdom.  

I was disappointed and annoyed but what else could I do, on this trip of a lifetime, but suck it up and waddle around in blood-soaked pants for the rest of the day?

The next day, we planned to go to Cocoa Beach.  When you’re from the Canadian Prairies, trips to the ocean are few and far between, so I was definitely NOT missing out on it.  I bought the biggest box of tampons I could find and tried my best to enjoy the day.

But the cramping was worse than labor pains and the bleeding was relentless.

I made it through that vacation but the following month was even worse.  I probably wouldn’t have said anything to my doctor, except that it happened to fall on the same day as my daughter’s 6 month checkup.

I was lucky enough to have a great doctor with whom I already had a close relationship, and it was in that appointment that I broke down crying – overcome by the pain of the menstrual cramps and the dark place my mind had been in for the last 6 months.

Based solely on my symptoms, he figured it was endometriosis that was causing the pain and heavy bleeding.  It was the first time I had ever heard the word.  When he told me that it can cause infertility, I actually felt relieved because I had zero desire to have another baby.  He gave me some samples of birth control pills and advised me to take them continuously in an effort to “skip” my periods.

Then we discussed the postpartum depression and came up with a treatment plan.

Prenatal & Postpartum Depression - Vanessa's Story
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I was supposed to follow up with him in a few months to see how things were going.  But by then, we had relocated for my husband’s job – a 9 hour drive away.

For a while, things were alright…

My mind was distracted by the move and I remembered to take my birth control pills everyday, avoiding the painful cramping that accompanied my periods.

Until I ran out of samples.

Trying to find a good doctor in a new town where I didn’t know anyone was tougher than I thought.  So I chose to suffer instead.  I loaded up on painkillers and wore adult diapers to soak up the extreme amounts of blood and just dealt with it.

With each month that passed, the pain got worse and worse.  The cramping started earlier and lasted longer until I was only pain-free for one week each month.  I turned to essential oils for help with the pain, but even their magic wasn’t strong enough.

9 Reasons Why Mothers Don't Speak Up About Chronic Pain
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The chronic pelvic pain exacerbated my postpartum depression symptoms.

I felt defeated by the pain.  I didn’t feel like being strong or fighting through the pain – I hoped and prayed it would just kill me.  I thought about how my daughter might someday experience this kind of pain, and I felt responsible for that.  I felt like all I did was inflict pain on those around me, because I was also in pain.  And I was certain that everyone would be happier, myself included, if I was just gone.

When my year of maternity leave was over, things got better.

I found a job that I loved and began to make friends.  The daycare we chose for the kids was wonderful and they settled into it without any problems.  I appreciated my children more because I cherished the short amount of time we had together each day instead of dreading the long hours of nothingness.

Finally, I was happy!  I pushed through the endometriosis pain every month because I didn’t want anything to destroy my happiness.

But after a year of being happy and ignoring the pain – the pain pushed back.

I couldn’t ignore it anymore and eventually wound up in the emergency room.  Much to everyone’s surprise – I was pregnant!  I guess endometriosis doesn’t always cause infertility…

The anxiety began almost immediately.  I didn’t want to go through another HG pregnancy and I definitely worried about dealing with the postpartum depression all over again.  Plus we had just moved again, and hadn’t even bought a house yet.

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Despite the exciting news, the pain was still there… worse even.

The doctors suspected a possible ectopic pregnancy and rushed me into emergency surgery.

When I woke up, I had mixed feelings about losing the baby.  Part of me was relieved to avoid another tough pregnancy, but another part of me felt disappointed that I didn’t get another chance to make things right.

The next day, I found out I was still pregnant.  The pregnancy was a healthy one, and there was nothing they could tell me about the endometriosis because they didn’t want to do anything to disturb the pregnancy.

And so I had my third child.  I suffered from the worst case of hyperemesis gravidarum of all three pregnancies, but for a while, I didn’t have to worry about the menstrual pain.  This time I did everything in my power to prepare myself for postpartum depression again but thankfully was spared from it.  I was given a second chance!  I immediately felt a bond with this baby and she made our family complete.

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I had a good, solid 8 months of bliss with my happy baby before my first postpartum period arrived.

And, in true dream-crushing fashion, it came back on Christmas Eve so I spent most of that night hopped up on painkillers and hovering around the bathroom door in order to change my tampon every 30 minutes.

After another steady 8 months of pill popping, I missed another period.  Oh no, not another pregnancy.  It can’t be.  I can’t do it again.  But the tests were all negative…

My menstrual cycle finally had a nervous breakdown.

It would skip months for no reason and then come every other week.  The pelvic pain got worse and it was no longer limited to my menstrual cycle – it was there 24/7.  I ended up in the emergency room regularly looking for something to help with the pain.  Nothing ever showed up on any of the tests, and I’m certain everyone thought I was a hypochondriac.  Even though I was in an intense amount of pain, I started to wonder if they were right.

The pain triggered the postpartum depression again.

It didn’t help that I was now a stay-at-home-mom, living in a city with no friends or relatives to help me out.  Between the darkness of postpartum depression and the pain of endometriosis, life was very bleak for nearly a full year.

The Tormented Life of a Mother Suffering with Endometriosis
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I finally met with a specialist.

He instantly validated everything I was feeling and scheduled me for a diagnostic laparoscopy to find out what was going on inside of me.  Since he wasn’t sure what he would find, he asked me to sign a form that stated he could perform a hysterectomy if he deemed it medically necessary.  This way, I wouldn’t have to undergo two separate surgeries if I did need one.

We discussed the fact that a hysterectomy would be the worst-case scenario, and I signed the form without hesitation.

In the 6 weeks leading up to my surgery date, I bled continuously.  I should have known then, that more was wrong under the surface than I wanted to admit.  If I had, perhaps I would have been more prepared for what was ahead.

The surgery was supposed to be a laparoscopic day surgery on a Friday.  My husband, kids and I made the 2 hour drive into the city, expecting to stay with family for the weekend and be back home by Monday.

But when I woke up from the surgery, I was told I would not be going home that day.

My doctor came in to see me, head hung, disappointment in his eyes.  He rested his hand on mine and told me that this was the first time he’s ever had to convert from a laparoscopic surgery to an abdominal incision (minimally invasive surgery was his specialty).

And then he filled me in on what happened in surgery.

He had to remove my uterus, cervix, fallopian tubes, and left ovary.  He left the right ovary so that I would not go into menopause but everything else was stuck together with adhesions and needed to go.  My reproductive organs were attached to the pelvic wall, bladder and bowels which he successfully separated, but there would be scar tissue remaining.  The adhesions had re-routed my blood vessels and so he cut into one while attempting to perform the hysterectomy, causing me to lose nearly 4 units of blood and require a transfusion.

Hysterectomy: A Chance at Freedom from Endometriosis
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It was the “worst case scenario,” and I felt completely blindsided by what had just happened.  

I ended up staying in the hospital for 5 days.  Losing so much blood left me feeling weak and dizzy and moving around was almost impossible.  Once I did get home to my own bed, I couldn’t leave.  Walking up and down stairs was difficult and living in a 4 level split meant I was practically bedridden.  Long after the scar healed, the pain inside my pelvis was excruciating.  I was told to expect to be out of commission for a full 6 weeks but it took more like 8.

Dealing with the sudden loss of my uterus was difficult.  Although I knew I didn’t want to have more children, I liked knowing that it was an option.  I spent a lot of time thinking about my pregnancies and how the place where I grew my children and felt them move and kick was no longer there.

But once I recovered from the surgery, the constant pelvic pain that plagued me for years was finally gone.  It was hard to believe that it was no longer there, I kept poking at it to see if it hurt but no – no more pain!  And I never had to wear another giant tampon or adult diaper ever again.

Most days I forget that I no longer have a uterus.  I still get some symptoms of PMS when my lonely ovary ovulates but it’s nearly impossible to track it without a menstrual cycle.  The fluctuating hormones do still affect my postpartum depression symptoms and I have to take extra care of myself on those days, but otherwise, it’s no longer triggered by constant pain.

I’ve been told that a hysterectomy is not a cure for endometriosis and there is still a chance that the endometrial tissue could grow back.
Postpartum Depression Resources in Canada
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So while my battle with endometriosis, as well as my battle with postpartum depression, is over for now – they have changed who I am as a person.

They have both taken things away from me that I can never get back.  They have killed a part of me inside and remain there, dormant, waiting for another opportunity to strike. I will do my best to take care of myself,  to help others who are suffering, and to raise awareness about these two important issues, so that if and when they ever do decide to rear their ugly heads again – I will be ready to fight back.


Endometriosis Resources

Endometriosis.org
WebMD Endometriosis Health Center
Nancy’s Nook Endometriosis Education Facebook Group
Endometriosis Support Group on Facebook
Hystersisters.com

10 Things Mothers with Postpartum Depression Want You To Know

Postpartum depression, as common as it might be, is widely misunderstood. 

No one knows for certain exactly why mothers get postpartum depression and many aren’t even aware of the symptoms.  If there was less stigma and more mothers felt comfortable enough to speak up about their postpartum depression, perhaps the rest of the world would know about it and find ways to help.

Here’s a list of 10 things that mothers with postpartum depression want you to know.
10 Things Mothers with Postpartum Depression Want You 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.
A List of 10 Things a Mother with Postpartum Depression Wants You to Know

1. We Are Not Bad Mothers

Mothers with postpartum depression are not prone to hurting their babies.  While there have been cases that ended in tragedy – many of those mothers were suffering from postpartum psychosis, which is a much more serious condition.

We might be seen as “bad” mothers because we didn’t bond with our babies right away, or we seem withdrawn from them or avoid holding them.  These are common symptoms of postpartum depression but it does not mean that we want to harm our child or that we don’t love them as much.

If anything, postpartum depression makes us stronger mothers because we have to fight harder to build a mother-child relationship.

You don’t need to take our babies away from us or be concerned about leaving us alone with them.  If we come to you for help and admit what we are feeling – that makes us a better mother, not a bad one. 
10 Mothers Who Lost the Battle to Postpartum Depression

2. It’s Not In Our Head

Postpartum depression is not just a psychological issue – it’s physical pain, it’s chemical imbalances, it’s uncontrollable hormones.  It’s a total body experience and not just something we imagine.

Positive thinking alone will not get rid of postpartum depression.  It’s important to stay positive to help reduce stress which is a big trigger for symptoms, but there is so much more to it than that.  Many women suffer from disruptions in sleep and appetite, headaches and back pains from stress and tension, nausea and debilitating fatigue. 

It might be called a mental illness, but the pain is never just “in our head.”

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3. Nothing We Did Caused This

Postpartum depression is NOT our fault.  A traumatic laborbreastfeeding problems or lack of support are out of our control and not something that we did wrong or could have avoided.  It’s natural to want to find an explanation for what we’re going through and it’s easy to look back on our pregnancies and deliveries and find something to blame for the mess.

While there are several different risk factors that can increase your chances of having postpartum depression, the truth is – even a women with the happiest of pregnancies, easiest of deliveries and biggest support system could still be diagnosed with postpartum depression.  It does not discriminate.

There are studies being conducted to try to determine the cause of postpartum depression but for now – it’s still a mystery as to why some women get it and others do not.

Breastfeeding and Postpartum Depression - What is the Connection?
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4. There Is No Cure

There are plenty of treatment options and ways to control the symptoms but we will never be the same person we were before postpartum depression.

Anti-depressants, therapy, self-care, yoga and meditation, etc., are all important for helping with the symptoms but they will not make postpartum depression go away permanently.  Some women can control their symptoms better than others, but no matter what, we will all have to live with the darkness inside of us for the rest of our lives.

If we’re not careful about following our treatment plans, we could suffer a relapse.

The Postpartum Depression Drug | Brexanolone (Zulresso)
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5. It Can Be Invisible

Just because we don’t seem depressed doesn’t mean we’re not suffering inside. Postpartum depression can be an invisible disease, which means we don’t have a giant scar or walk with a limp but we are in just as much pain.  Mothers with postpartum depression have gotten very good at putting on a smile to hide the pain and avoid the awkward questions.

Thanks to the stigma around postpartum depression, many mothers won’t even admit to having it for fear of what the world will think of them.

Organizations like 2020Mom and The Blue Dot Project are helping to break down the stigma through campaigns like Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week but they will only be successful if mothers with postpartum depression are willing to let the world know that they exist.

9 Reasons Why Mothers Don't Talk About Postpartum Depression
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6. It’s Not The Same As Postpartum Psychosis

Anytime I hear a story about a new mother taking her life and/or her child’s life, the question arises as to whether or not it’s postpartum psychosis.  While postpartum depression can cause mothers to feel suicidal, postpartum psychosis can cause hallucinations during which a mother isn’t even herself. They are two different diseases and psychosis is a severe medical emergency.

Postpartum psychosis leads a mother to have hallucinations and hear voices in their heads.  They are often a danger to themselves and those around them, including their children, because of their unpredictable behavior.  They are not aware of what they are doing, and if left untreated – can end in tragedy.

It’s important to be aware of the symptoms of postpartum psychosis and know the difference.  This article from Postpartum Progress does the best job at explaining it.

Intrusive Thoughts
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7. Don’t Take Things Personally

Postpartum depression can manifest itself in different ways.  Fits of uncontrollable rage is a lesser known symptom and can cause a lot of strain on relationships.

When we are riding the emotional roller coaster that is postpartum depression, it’s easy to lose control and lash out.  But until our symptoms are under control with a proper treatment plan, it’s best not to take the things we say and do personally.

The urge to push people away and withdraw into ourselves is strong with postpartum depression, but that doesn’t mean it’s what we actually want.

A Mother's Guide to Postpartum Rage
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8. It’s easier to talk to strangers

Please don’t feel offended if we don’t want to talk to you about what we’re going through.  It’s much easier to talk to strangers who have been through it before, such as a therapist or online support group.

They understand what we mean and won’t judge us.  We know you don’t mean to judge us, but unless you know what it feels like to be inside the head of a crazy person, you couldn’t possibly understand.

Find a list of numbers you can call to get help for postpartum depression here.

How To Know if Online Therapy Is The Right Choice for Moms
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9. We Need Your Help

Even if we don’t want to talk to you, we still need your help to get through this. Postpartum depression is a tough fight and it’s even harder to fight alone.  There are so many ways that you can help us, but it’s very hard for us to tell you what they are.  The biggest way that you can help us is by trying to understand what we’re going through. 

And even if you don’t understand, stand by us and support us no matter what.

14 Ways to Help A Mother with Postpartum Depression
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10. Please Don’t Abandon Us

Mothers with postpartum depression make for some of the worst company.  We’re weepy and emotional.  We rarely smile or laugh.  We’re tired all the time, or angry and annoyed.  We dodge your phone calls and cancel dinner plans.  We don’t blame you for not wanting to hang out with us…

Withdrawing from society is a major symptom of postpartum depression and it’s out of our control.

But we hope that, when we do finally feel better, you will still be there waiting for us on the other side of the darkness.


10 Things Moms with Postpartum Depression Want You to Know
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The Best Gifts for Mothers with Postpartum Depression

Holidays can be difficult to celebrate for a woman suffering from postpartum depression. 

What should be a happy time spent making memories, instead reminds her of the pain and shortcomings she’s felt since becoming a mother.  When shopping for a gift for a mother with postpartum depression, look for something that is considerate of her condition.  Not all gifts are appropriate for a woman who feels guilty or unworthy of being a mother and can make her feel worse than she already does.

Here are some ideas for gifts for mothers with postpartum depression.
Gifts for Mothers with 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.

Personalized Jewelry

GracePersonalized on Etsy

Don’t just buy her a generic diamond necklace.  Look for a piece that includes her children and family so that when she wears it, she will be reminded of who she’s fighting for in the first place. 

A beautiful option is this fingerprint necklace from GracePersonalized on Etsy.  Having a necklace that contains her child’s fingerprint, hand or footprints will remind her that she created an entire unique person.  But the kids aren’t the only things keeping her going.  I like this lovebirds necklace from MenuetDesigns on Etsy because it speaks volumes of how important a strong support system is.  Sincerely Silver is another great site to find a unique, personalized piece that’s extra meaningful. 

[For more ways to offer support, read: 14 Ways to Help a Mother with Postpartum Depression]


Something That Won’t Die

Teardrop Terrarium DIY Kit image 2
PlanetPlanters on Etsy

Cut flowers wilt and die and there’s nothing she can do about it.  Get her something that she can watch grow and blossom.  Growing something will bring her a sense of pride. 

So instead of a bouquet of flowers, get her a potted plant or a DIY terrarium kit.  Gardening or growing indoor plants is an excellent form of self-care as well and can become something that not only keeps her mind distracted, but brightens up her living area as well.  If she doesn’t have a green-thumb, get her a book about gardening instead. 

[For more information on the benefits of gardening, read: 16 Ways Ecotherapy is Good for Moms]


Matching Mommy & Me Outfits

ByMissSally on Etsy

Bonding with baby can be tough for a mother with postpartum depression.  Matching t-shirts, outfits or hats might seem cheesy, but it can make her feel more connected to baby and remind her of the special connection they share.


A Monthly Subscription Box

BumpBoxes

In the category of gifts for a mother with postpartum depression, monthly subscription boxes should be at the top the list!  Chances are, she doesn’t want to go out and shop for herself.  Even some of the basic necessities she needs become less of a priority for her.  Having something delivered to her door is a wonderful surprise that she can look forward to each month.

Here are a few that I would recommend for a mother with postpartum depression:

Bump BoxesIf she’s expecting or just had a baby, then definitely sign her up for a Bump Box!  They’re monthly boxes tailored for each trimester of pregnancy.  You can also order a breastfeeding box, a new mommy to be box and a variety of newborn boxes.

The Mommy Mailbox – a box full of things designed specifically to brighten up a mom’s day!

Blume Formerly known as Ellebox. This is the ultimate self-care subscription box!  Mothers with postpartum depression can dread “that time of the month” especially because they haven’t had to deal with it during their pregnancy (and possibly longer if they were breastfeeding) so it becomes just one more thing they need to handle.  The addition of the mood swings and cramping can become overbearing for someone who’s already suffering so much.  Take the stress out of it with this monthly subscription box that includes organic pads and tampons, specially formulated cramp oil, acne and face washes and more!

InstaCandy – who doesn’t love candy?  Getting a box of candy delivered to your door every month is sure to brighten up the darkest of days.

Like the idea of a delivered box full of goodies but not ready to commit to a monthly subscription?  Check out the Pampered Mommy Box! Their “Best of” Box is full of surprise goodies valued over $100! 


A Customized Photo Book

Mixbook.com

Photos can have a lot of meaning for a woman with postpartum depression.  Looking back at pictures of happier times can be an excellent way to relieve stress and help keep her connected to those memories.  Creating a photo book filled with pictures of baby can also help to connect her to her child and reduce some of the guilt that often comes along with missing out on those first few months.  A photo book is sure to be something she will cherish long after she has recovered from the darkness of postpartum depression.

You can create fully customized photo books and/or prints at Mixbook.com


Self-Care Products

Zulily.com

It goes without saying that self-care is SO important for moms to keep up good mental health.  This category of gifts offers such a wide variety of choices, depending on what’s most important to the mother in your life.  A robe, bath bombs, spa sets, or a massage unit are all great gifts for her to use on a daily basis to make sure that she’s getting in regular self-care.

The best self-care gifts for a mother with postpartum depression are things that she can use regularly, don’t consume too much of her precious time, and can help her relax and take care of herself.

If you want to really want to give her the gift of self-care, then splurge on a spa day!  Click here to purchase a Spa Finder Gift Card  that she can use at thousands of different locations.  It’s available to print or e-mail so it makes a great last-minute gift too!

[Related Reading: Self Care Tips for Battling Postpartum Depression]


Aromatherapy

Essential oils and aromatherapy can have a big impact on a mother with postpartum depression.  This starter kit from Rocky Mountain Oils has everything a mother needs to incorporate essential oils into her life.   It includes a diffuser and six popular oils.


A Personal Assistant

Amazon.com

You know what mothers with postpartum depression REALLY want?  A personal assistant…

The Amazon Echo smart speaker connects to “Alexa” a voice-based personal assistant.  The best part is that Alexa will respond to anyone’s voice, as long as they call her by name.  So older kids who ask a million questions a day or want to hear their favorite song over and over again – can now ask Alexa instead of Mom.

Alexa can also look things up online, tell jokes, keep notes, make lists and reminders, play music and make phone calls – all completely hands free!  It’s one of the best gifts for a mother with postpartum depression who is suffering from a severe case of foggy brain!


Journaling Equipment

Indigo.ca

Writing about postpartum depression is one of the best therapies available.  It’s a great way to get all those dark feelings out of the brain and onto paper.  A journal is a great gift option for a mother who needs to express her feelings.  Bullet journals are the latest trend right now.  You can eve find printable bullet journal kits on Etsy to create a one of a kind personalized gift.


Coloring Books

Indigo.ca

There’s a huge difference between coloring with the kids, and coloring by yourself.  I, myself, have recently jumped on the adult coloring book train, and it’s an incredible way to release stress and shut off the brain for a few moments.

There are adult coloring books everywhere these days so you’re sure to find one that suits the mom you’re shopping for.  My favorite ones are the patterns or the inspirational quotes, but there are also ones with swears for the moms who really need to let it all out.


Remember: One of the best gifts for mothers with postpartum depression is your love, support and understanding…

Gifts for Mothers with Postpartum Depression

Gifts for Mothers with Postpartum Depression

How to Ensure Successful Breastfeeding with Postpartum Depression

Many women with postpartum depression report struggling to breastfeed, or at least feeling that extra pressure to do so.

It’s hard to know for certain whether breastfeeding problems cause postpartum depression symptoms or if symptoms of postpartum depression are making it difficult to breastfeed.  It could be a combination of both.

Either way, breastfeeding takes some work.  For a mother with postpartum depression, it’s just another aspect of motherhood that can contribute to more stress, added pressure, and self-doubt.

Here are some tips for mothers who are, or who might be, concerned about breastfeeding with postpartum depression.
How to Ensure Successful breastfeeding with 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.

Do Your Research

Don’t expect breastfeeding to come naturally to you and baby.  Sometimes it does, but don’t expect it to.  Breastfeeding may have come naturally to our ancestors hundreds of years ago when life was simpler, but if we want to be successful at it now, then we need to do some research.

The best time to do that research is while still pregnant, since the first few days of breastfeeding are the toughest.  If you’ve enrolled in a birthing class, it’s likely they will cover breastfeeding as well.  Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you can think of and take detailed notes.  You never know which aspect of breastfeeding you might struggle with.

Being prepared for any breastfeeding setbacks can help you handle problems better if you end up suffering from postpartum depression.

If you’re already breastfeeding with postpartum depression, it’s never too late to research ways to improve your experience.  There are plenty of resources available to help you.

A postpartum doula is a great option to consider if you’re worried about breastfeeding.  They are trained to help mothers breastfeed successfully and can help you get enough rest and proper nutrition after giving birth, which is important for milk production.

Benefits of Doulas
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Recommended Resources:

Milkologyan online breastfeeding class that offers tons of information for all the different stages of breastfeeding. 

Mom Smart Not Hard this site has some really specific breastfeeding articles.  I also recommend taking their Free 5 Day Breastfeeding Course and downloading the Breastfeeding Handbook to use as a reference when you’re offline.

KellyMomthe ultimate online breastfeeding resource.  You can find articles about basically every single breastfeeding situation and/or question you could possibly have.

ABCKidsinc– a great collection of articles about all things breastfeeding.  Includes common questions about health, diet, medications and products.

The Womanly Art of BreastfeedingThis book from the La Leche League is a breastfeeding bestseller for a reason.  You can read it while pregnant and keep it on hand as a quick resource when and if situations arise.

For more resources, check out this post from The Merry Momma – An Epic List of Breastfeeding Tips and Resources


Learn About D-MER

Also known as Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex.  D-MER is a newer breastfeeding condition that often gets confused as a symptom of postpartum depression.  It is characterized by feelings of anxiety, sadness, panic, dread or loneliness that are brought on during letdown.

It is important to note that D-MER is NOT a symptom of postpartum depression, although it is triggered by a change in hormone levels.  The “dysphoric” state that it causes is purely a physiological response to the sudden drop in dopamine levels required to increase milk-producing prolactin.  In other words – a chemical imbalance.

Women with D-MER can also suffer from postpartum depression, which can add to the confusion and increase aversion to breastfeeding.  Simply recognizing the unpleasant feelings as a physiological response, as opposed to a psychological condition, can make a huge difference.

D-MER: When Breastfeeding Makes You Feel Sad
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Start Off Right

There is one epic moment after you have a baby that opens the door for breastfeeding success.  What you do in this moment will set the pace for your breastfeeding journey.  I’m talking about when your milk comes in.

Up until your milk comes in, baby has just been “suckling” and they haven’t really been “feeding” on much other than colustrum (still super important, though).  And then one morning, you wake up with boulders on your chest, pain up to your armpits and a soaked t-shirt and have more milk than you know what to do with.

The most important things to focus on when your milk comes in are:

Proper Latching

It will be difficult to latch a baby onto an extremely full breast.  The nipple can flatten or invert, and squeezing the breast to get it into baby’s mouth can be incredibly painful.  Using breast shells was a lifesaver for me during engorgement.

Here’s a helpful infographic about getting the right latch from The Milk Memoirs.

Hind Milk

With extremely full breasts, there is a lot of watery fore milk at the front, and the rich, fattier hind milk at the back of the breast.  You want to make sure that baby is getting enough of the fattier hind milk before they get full.  Otherwise, you can end up with greenish poops and red bums, along with other problems.  The breast compression technique is the best way to ensure baby is getting the good stuff.

How, When & Why to Do Breast Compression
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Clogged Milk Ducts

The name says it all and the last thing you want to end up with is a swollen, red clogged milk duct.  If left untreated, it can lead to mastitis.  Thankfully there are lots of easy remedies to help loosen up a blocked duct.

Regulating Milk Supply

It might be tempting to pump out all that extra milk, but the best thing you can do is just feed, feed, feed.  Baby may go through a cluster feeding phase when your milk comes in so just lay in bed and feed baby all day long if you need to.  Feeding on demand will help to regulate your milk supply so that your body will learn to produce exactly the right amount of milk for your baby’s needs.

Nursing Positions

Once you have an adequate supply of milk, you should start experimenting with different nursing positions.  A football hold is great for managing those XL sized engorged breasts.  Lying back can be helpful if you have a forceful letdown.  Side-Lying is always a popular option for night feedings or to get through cluster feeding sessions.  You can even try nursing with baby in a baby carrier.

[Related Reading: The Ultimate Guide to Breastfeeding Positions]


Reduce Stress While Nursing

Stress is the number one killer of a good milk supply.  Stressing out about whether or not you’re producing enough milk is the last thing you should do.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression or anxiety and feel like it is impacting your milk supply, try to find ways to calm yourself down during feedings.

For more advice on handling and reducing stress, you can find a variety of articles on Better Help – https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/stress/

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Some Suggestions:

Listen to musicput on your favorite playlist.

Aromatherapydiffuse some essential oils, check out the mood collection from Rocky Mountain Oils.

Practice Deep Breathingyoga and meditation can help you to clear your mind completely.  Try to use slow, deep breaths while you feed baby.

Nurse while in the bathnursing your baby (or pumping) while sitting in a warm bath can help your body and mind relax enough to let the milk flow effortlessly.

Watch TVdistract yourself with a good show or movie.

Read a Book or Magazineor use an e-reader or tablet.

Look at old picturesMake an album filled with pictures of happier times and loved ones. (I love these customizable photo albums from Mixbook)

Get Comfortablefind the most comfortable spot in your home to nurse baby and make sure everything you need are within arms reach.  If you’re out in public, do whatever makes you most comfortable – whether it’s nursing with or without a nursing cover.  

Cry it Outcrying is a way to release stress and built-up tension, not always a sign of despair.

Postpartum Depression Self Care
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Support vs. Pressure

Women with postpartum depression are extra sensitive to criticism, because they already feel like failures themselves.  They often mistake breastfeeding support as pressure to breastfeed.  I have heard many women with postpartum depression say they felt they would let their partner down if they could not breastfeed.

The truth is, your partner likely doesn’t care as much about breastfeeding as you do.  They want what’s best for the baby, and if they’ve done as much research as you have, they also feel the pressure for breastfeeding to succeed.  But they don’t feel the emotional urge like you do.  They don’t understand what a total body experience it is.

What they do care about most, is you.  They don’t want you to be miserable and in pain simply to breastfeeding.  They will never think of you as a failure for not being able to breastfeed.

If they truly support you, then they will stand by you no matter what decision you make.  And if your partner’s opinions about breastfeeding are causing you unwanted stress, it’s important to tell them, because they may not realize how much it’s affecting you.

14 Ways to Help A Mother with Postpartum Depression
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Treatment Options While Breastfeeding

Talk to your doctor about your treatment options.  I wasn’t given the option to take anti-depressants while I was breastfeeding, but I’ve heard that there are several safe options now.  Prescription anti-depressants are not the only option, either.

Therapy is a great option for breastfeeding with postpartum depression.  There are different types of therapy available, including cognitive behavior therapy, support groups or couples therapy.

There are several different herbs, supplements, vitamins, and minerals that have been known to improve symptoms of depression.  If you’re not sure where to begin, I recommend this e-book and treatment plan to learn more about which ones are best for you.

Acupuncture has also been known to help with symptoms of postpartum depression, but make sure to indicate that you are also breastfeeding.

Don’t feel like treatment is out of the question for you if you are breastfeeding with postpartum depression, it’s important to know all your options. 

How To Know if Online Therapy Is The Right Choice for Moms
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Giving Up IS An Option

Choosing to stop breastfeeding will NOT make you a bad mother.  Yes, we know that breast is best, and that there are so many benefits to breastfeeding.  But at what cost?

When we weigh out the risks vs. the benefits, your mental health is one hundred times more important than the benefits of breastfeeding. 

There are so many advanced options for formula feeding that your baby will never be at a disadvantage.  In fact, they’ll grow up into junk food addicts just like every other kid.  One day, you will watch your toddler eat dirt in the backyard and wonder why you ever stressed out about breastfeeding.

It’s alright to feel guilty for not breastfeeding, but there are so many other ways to bond with, and provide for, your baby. You will only be able to do those things if you focus on your mental health so that you can be there for them completely.

5 Things New Moms Fear about Breastfeeding
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My own personal experience of breastfeeding with postpartum depression was actually a pleasant one.  Knowing that my daughter needed me for her survival was what kept me going.  As much as I despised doing it at the time, especially the night time feedings, I realize now that it’s what saved me from detaching from her completely.

No matter what your experience is like, or what choices you make for your baby, remember that your mental health and physical well-being are just as important as theirs.

How to Ensure Successful Breastfeeding with Postpartum Depression

How to Ensure Successful Breastfeeding with Postpartum Depression

How to Ensure Successful Breastfeeding with Postpartum Depression

How to Ensure Successful Breastfeeding with Postpartum Depression

How to Ensure Successful Breastfeeding with Postpartum Depression