One Year Postpartum and Still Depressed?

How long does postpartum depression last?

Seven years.  That’s how long I have personally battled postpartum depression.  I’ve tried all kinds of different treatment options over the years and it regularly fluctuates between better and worse.  There was a time in my life when I thought I was cured.  But now I know better.  I know that it will never go away.  I have accepted that managing my mental health is going to be a lifelong journey.

Yes, postpartum depression can last longer than a year or more.  Here’s what you need to know.
One Year Postpartum & Still Depressed
*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 depression is a form of a major depressive disorder that happens to women after they give birth. Something along the journey into motherhood triggers the brain to revert into a depressive state.  Sometimes the cause is obvious, such as a difficult labor or a history of trauma, abuse or mental illness.  In other cases, the cause lies much deeper and is harder to pinpoint.  Regardless of the cause, a mental illness has now been triggered and that means it’s here to stay. While similar in symptoms, there are a few differences between depression and postpartum depression.

Hormones have a lot to do with it. 

Creating a life is unlike any other event in the world. Women’s bodies go through immense changes that we can’t even begin to understand.  We’re all too familiar with the hormonal changes that happen during pregnancy, causing an expectant mother to feel everything from uncontrollable weepiness to pure rage.  After giving birth, those hormones now have to work overtime to regulate themselves and it’s not an easy process.

The majority of women will experience some form of the baby blues, which is not a mental health disorder, but rather a normal response to the hormonal and environmental changes.  It’s easy to blame all these new and scary feelings on the baby blues, but those only last for a couple weeks.  Postpartum depression can begin anytime in the year after giving birth, and long after hormone levels have regulated.

6 Warning Signs That it's More Than The Baby Blues
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Depression can be triggered by trauma.

In addition to those 9 months of changes, there is the trauma of childbirth. No matter what your labor and delivery story was like, it was traumatic on your body.  Like a soldier going to war, you will come out of it a changed person.  For some, their body adjusts to the trauma and they are able to move on, at least to some degree.  For others, however, the trauma leaves it’s mark.

Bear in mind that what is considered traumatic to you, may not be considered traumatic to others.  Just because you had a smooth delivery without any major problems doesn’t mean you’ve escaped unscathed.  Birth has a way of uncovering deep feelings and vulnerabilities that we didn’t even know we had.  Speaking to a therapist or using cognitive behavior therapy can help to discover the root cause of your postpartum depression.

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Maternal postpartum care sucks.

There is no elegant way to put this, it just plain sucks.  A lot of emphasis is put on prenatal care, but not nearly enough on postpartum care.  Once a mother becomes pregnant, she is seen by a doctor monthly, then bi-weekly, weekly and sometimes even daily until she gives birth.  Then there is a whole lot of commotion surrounding the birth and the 3 or so days afterwards.  

And then she is sent home with a follow up appointment for 6 weeks later.  She’ll have to haul that baby in to get checked out on the regular, but now that the baby is on the outside, her body doesn’t seem to matter anymore.  Unless there is a physical postpartum complication, then she will get the care and attention she needs.  But mental postpartum complications are never treated with the same sense of urgency.

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What [actually] happens in the 4th Trimester?

Here is a woman who’s physical, mental and emotional state has just gone through the roller coaster ride of it’s life.  She is in pain everywhere as she’s literally just been ripped open and had a part of her removed.  A brand new person is now completely dependent on her for their survival but there is a major communication barrier. 

Despite feeling the highest levels of exhaustion, she’ll be unable to sleep for longer than a 3 hour stretch… for months.  The pressure to breastfeed weighs heavily on her.  She will feel vulnerable, exposed and judged every time her baby is hungry, and that will be a lot.  She will lose all confidence in herself as a woman if she is unable to produce enough milk.

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The first three months postpartum (or 4th trimester) should be the time when a mother rests and gets to know her newborn.  She should have support and help.  She shouldn’t need to worry about anything other than herself and baby.  But this rarely happens.  A lot of people will “visit” but only the odd few will actually be of any real help.  Many mothers even have to return to work before they have time to properly heal.  

How to Ensure Successful breastfeeding with postpartum depression
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Years Later and Still Depressed.

When we take into account the terrible state of maternal mental health care, it’s no wonder that more and more women are battling depression long after giving birth.  Postpartum depression and other perinatal mood and anxiety disorders should be treated with much more respect.  Mothers need time to heal, they need help and proper support.  The level of care for a new mother should be just as important as it is for a newborn baby.

But the blame is not solely on the health care system. Take my story, for example.  I am fortunate that I live in Canada and was able to take an entire year of paid maternity leave.  I also delivered by midwives and the postpartum care that I received from them was far superior to anything I got in the hospital.  They came TO. MY. HOUSE. for days and weeks afterwards just to check up on me and baby.  They stayed for hours and drank tea and helped me breastfeed and changed diapers.  But I still got postpartum depression, despite all of that.

What it comes down to is that mothers need to take better care of themselves.  They need to understand the importance of rest and accepting help from others.  And most importantly, they need to speak up if they feel like something isn’t right.

The Postpartum Depression Drug | Brexanolone (Zulresso)
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There is no cure for postpartum depression.  Treatment will make the symptoms manageable but it will never go away.

This will be my seventh year fighting against postpartum depression, so I can confirm that this is a long term battle.  But I say this not to make you feel even more depressed, but to encourage and inspire you.  Talk to you doctor, fight for your rights, demand better treatment and speak up about postpartum depression to everyone who will listen. 

Most importantly, seek treatment.  With the right treatment, you can live symptom free for the rest of your life.  All it takes is that first step.

One Year Postpartum & Still Depressed One Year Postpartum & Still Depressed


13 Things About Postpartum Depression All New Moms Need to Know

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

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

I horrifically underestimated the power of postpartum depression.  

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Happens When Someone Incredible Gets Postpartum Depression
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2. You can get it even if you have zero risk factors.

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

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

You could still get it!

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

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3. It is not always triggered by trauma.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

One Year Postpartum & Still Depressed
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5. It’s likely you will experience some form of the baby blues.

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

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

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

6 Warning Signs That it's More Than The Baby Blues
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6. The most common symptoms are not the only ones.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

One Year Postpartum & Still Depressed
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13. It’s entirely possible that you may not get it all, but it’s better to be prepared.

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

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

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

How Long Has it Been Since Your Postpartum Depression First Started?

3. How long has it been since your postpartum depression first started?

It’s been 7 years. The first year and a half postpartum was the worst.  – Vanessa

2 years.  – Anonymous

It began in the first few weeks after birth, so nearly 18 months now.  – Alexandra

Five years.  Since then I have had a daughter, my postpartum depression got worse after her birth. It’s a constant struggle but with the help and support of my midwife and family doctor it’s been easy to manage!  – Amber 

If I’m being honest, it started the moment he was born.  – Anonymous

3 years. – Nicole

Three months – Anonymous

13 months – Brittany

Started December 2017.  – Jodi

3 years. – Anonymous

8 years.  I have had 2 more children since my first diagnosis. With my third and final delivery I was diagnosed with PPD/PPA psychosis. – Ashley G.

11 years.  – Anonymous

It’s been 6 months.  – Amanda

Five years.  – Anonymous

Almost two years.   – Katy 

With my first kid it lasted a bit over a year. It got easier as time went on with treatment and therapy. With my second child it came on pretty hard but lasted about 4 months and has gradually gotten better quicker. – Samantha

Eight months.– Anonymous

Baby is 3 months old and I would say it started around him being one month.  – Melissa

Since right after my son was born April 2017.   – Marcella

10 months. – Anonymous

Four months. – Emily

19 months. – Lorena from Motherhood Unfiltered 

With my first son I had it for 4 months. He is 3 1/2.  I was diagnosed at 2 weeks postpartum with my second son, and he is almost one. – Chelsea

It’s been 4 months since I noticed it, but I would say I’ve had it since the day I was released from the hospital. – Kathryn

2 years.  – Anonymous

3 or more years ago.  – Krista

Well my kids are 7 and 5 now… – Karen from Pregnancy and Postpartum Mental Health of Lancaster County

I believe my PPD was in full-effect from day one, but if we are going by the diagnosis date, 7 months.  – Leah Elizabeth from Lottie & Me

About 6 months. It got bad about 2 months BEFORE I gave birth honestly. – Jessica

My PPD started, probably, when I was 3 or 4 weeks postpartum. I’m not 7 months postpartum so it’s been 6 months.  – Amanda from Mom Like Me

2 years and 2 months- when I had my first son…and continued on after the birth of my second son.  – Anonymous

4 years.  – Jacqueline from Planning in the Deep

Only a week . – Haylie

It was bad for about 2.5 years. – Crystal from Heart and Home Doula


Postpartum depression can last long after the postpartum period.

There’s a misconception that postpartum depression is a disorder that only affects moms in the “new baby stage.”  While the first three months are normally when postpartum depression shows the first symptoms, it can last a whole lot longer than many realize.  Postpartum depression can relapse upon the birth of another child, stress, illness, trauma or another trigger.  Without treatment, it can be a lifelong battle.

What can we do to change this?

Seek treatment.  Don’t expect postpartum depression to go away on it’s own, even if your symptoms start to get better.  As your baby gets older, you’ll likely be able to fit in more sleep and better self care, which means the symptoms may ease up.  But there are several different options available that can improve your quality of life now and in the long run.  In addition to anti-depressants, there are different types of therapy available such as cognitive behavior therapy, and video therapy sessions.

One Year Postpartum & Still Depressed
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What Happens When Someone Incredible Gets Postpartum Depression?

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

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

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

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

What Happens When Someone Incredible Gets Postpartum Depression

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

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


I used to be an incredible person.

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

My sister was my best friend and confidant.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I still have success doing work that I find rewarding.

Except that now, I have postpartum depression.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I was happy and fulfilled and determined before postpartum depression. 

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

And now, I am merely a shell. 

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


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

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

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

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

Participating in my own life is exhausting. 

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

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

I hope that someday, I will be incredible again.

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Heather’s Postpartum Depression Story

Continue reading “Heather’s Postpartum Depression Story”

Katey’s Postpartum Depression Story

Continue reading “Katey’s Postpartum Depression Story”

Sara’s Postpartum Depression Story

Continue reading “Sara’s Postpartum Depression Story”

How to Avoid a Postpartum Depression Relapse

Postpartum depression isn’t a matter solely for mothers of newborn babies. 

It’s a lifelong struggle.  Even with treatment, a postpartum depression relapse can happen years after the sleep deprivation and breastfeeding days are over.  The best way to describe it is to imagine that a depression gene is lurking somewhere within you.  In some people, it is never triggered and lays dormant their entire life.  In others, it’s triggered during childhood or puberty, from a traumatic event, or by pregnancy and childbirth.

The problem is, once it’s triggered, it’s more likely to keep happening.

Treatment can manage the symptoms and controlling specific triggers can help to avoid relapses.  But it’s not something that is ever cured, and it will never go away because it was always there to begin with.  It can only be controlled.

[This article from Harvard Health goes into great detail about what causes depression and relapses.]

Here are some tips to help you avoid a postpartum depression relapse.
How to Avoid a Postpartum Depression Relapse
*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.

How to Avoid a Postpartum Depression Relapse

Identify your triggers

Find out what factors tend to make you feel more depressed.  Keeping a journal can help with this.  On days when you are feeling extra sad or anxious – write down things you’ve done recently, how you were feeling, conversations you had, medications you’ve been taking, what the weather was like, and so on.  Postpartum depression triggers can be different for everyone.

10 common triggers:

  1. Pain/Illness
  2. Stress
  3. Guilt
  4. Sleep Deprivation
  5. Hormonal Imbalances
  6. Grief/Loss
  7. Change (including a change in the seasons)
  8. Anniversaries/Birthdays/Special Events
  9. Marriage problems
  10. Bad Memories

You can download this free printable postpartum depression workbook which contains a section to document specific triggers.

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Eliminate the problem

I know, it’s easier said than done.  If we could all get rid of pain and stress, then the world would be a better place.  Try keeping track of your sleep patterns and monthly mood fluctuations to help you notice patterns and triggers.  But once you’ve identified your specific trigger(s), your next goal will be to work at ways to fix that issue in your life.

If you’re uncertain of where to begin to fix the problems affecting your mental health, then speaking to a therapist can help.  Sometimes, it’s difficult to determine the root cause of our symptoms on our own.  Cognitive behavior therapy is a great exercise to help with this.  There are also licensed online psychiatrists available that you can have video chat sessions with.

How To Know if Online Therapy Is The Right Choice for Moms
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Take care of yourself

Mothers are infamous for not taking proper care of themselves.  Self care is not just a suggestion, it plays a huge role in avoiding a postpartum depression relapse.  Taking time to relieve stress, sleep well, eat properly, exercise and meditate will ensure that you stay one step ahead.  You can even create your own, dedicated self-care space to escape to when you start feeling low.

Try this 30 Day Self-Care Challenge from This Mama Needs Chocolate!

How to Create a Self-Care Routine as a Stay-At-Home Mom
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Stick to your treatment plan

Of course you’re going to be feeling great after starting a round of anti-depressants or therapy, but that doesn’t mean it’s done it’s job and now you can stop.  Any changes to your treatment plan should always be discussed with your doctor, don’t assume that you no longer need treatment just because you’ve been free of postpartum depression symptoms for months.

Seeking treatment for postpartum depression is important.  Don’t assume that it will go away on it’s own.  Getting an official diagnosis of postpartum depression can be empowering.  Knowing that you suffer from a mental health condition can validate everything that you  are feeling and help you to accept that this is not your fault.

The Postpartum Depression Drug | Brexanolone (Zulresso)
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Find someone to confide in

If you didn’t tell anyone you had postpartum depression the first time it happened, then it’s likely you will also choose to suffer silently in the event of a relapse.  Find someone that you can talk to about your feelings.  It can be someone close to you, a complete stranger or a support group, as long as they will encourage you to speak up and seek help.

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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.

Be proactive

As much as you might try to eliminate stress and other triggers, life still happens and much of it is out of our control.  Try your best to plan ahead for situations that overwhelm you.  If being locked inside the house during the winter months makes you feel dreary, plan a vacation.  If you’re dreading the stress of juggling all the kids during summer vacation, hire someone to help you.  Being prepared for a postpartum depression relapse may even be enough to make you feel like you can handle it, should it hit.

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder and How to Treat It
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Don’t get discouraged

Sometimes, having a postpartum depression relapse is unavoidable.  It doesn’t mean that you have failed or that you will never get better.  While you may suffer more relapses in the future, each one will be easier to get through as long as you don’t let it get the best of you.  While postpartum depression is a long term battle, it doesn’t mean that you will need to fight it forever.  With the right treatment, you can live symptom free.

One Year Postpartum & Still Depressed
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Take away it’s power

As long as your postpartum depression is a secret – it controls you.  If you’re constantly afraid of a relapse happening, then it has power over you.  The only way to take away it’s power is by accepting and acknowledging it.  Tell everyone that you have postpartum depression and that there’s a chance you could suffer a relapse.  Then you won’t have it hanging over your head, and you won’t have to suffer alone.  Consider becoming an advocate for postpartum depression awareness, joining a maternal mental health movement or blogging about it.

How to Start Blogging about Postpartum Depression
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Remember that it’s not about them

If you didn’t know that a postpartum depression relapse was even possible, then chances are, neither did they.  “They” being your loved ones, your spouse, family or friends – even your own children.  Once you start feeling better, others will assume that you’re cured.  And if you suffer a relapse, you will be reluctant to tell them for fear of disappointing them.  But it’s not about them, it’s about you and your health, and that’s far more important.

So before you even suffer from a relapse, tell your loved ones that it’s possible this could happen.  Ask them to help you eliminate your triggers and watch for symptoms that your postpartum depression is returning.  Don’t feel guilty or selfish because this is your life.  It might be in a mother’s nature to put others before themselves, but when it comes to postpartum depression – you come first.

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Contrary to popular belief, postpartum depression does not go away on it’s own.  And a postpartum depression relapse does not only happen when you have another baby (although that can be a trigger).  Many mothers find themselves battling the symptoms of depression years after giving birth.  It’s discouraging and annoying and definitely unfair, but with the right self care routine and treatment plan, it doesn’t have to ruin your life.  Ultimately, the worst thing you can do about it, is nothing.


How to Avoid a Postpartum Depression Relapse

5 Things to Expect in the Aftermath of Postpartum Depression

It’s been 7 years since my battle with postpartum depression first began.  I consider myself a survivor now but living in the aftermath of postpartum depression is nothing like life was before it.

Postpartum depression treatment options are different for everyone but there are a few things to expect on your journey to recovery.

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


1. Expect it to never go away 100%

I had hyperemesis gravidarum with all three of my pregnancies and it was horrific.  But as soon as I pushed the baby out, the nausea went away instantly.  Postpartum depression is not like that.

With treatment, you will get better.  The days will be brighter and the fits of sadness and rage will become fewer and far between.  But it will always be there, deep down inside.  It will be hard to forget the dark days and there will be reminders of them everywhere.

You may go months, years even, living happily as a postpartum depression survivor and then suffer a relapse during a strenuous week of sleep regression or the flu.  My personal postpartum depression treatment requires a consistent self-care routine and I’ve noticed that symptoms tend to rear their ugly head if I don’t keep up with it.

I think of my postpartum depression like a wound.  It happened and it healed but the scar remains.  Most days I forget all about it but it is always there.
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2. Expect to feel guilty

We know that postpartum depression is NOT OUR FAULT.  But accepting that fact is much harder to swallow.  As moms, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves and we often feel guilty for something – our fault or not; we’re not spending enough time with our kids, we’re not giving them the best clothes, food, toys, education, etc. – you name it and a mom’s felt guilty for it.

But the guilt that a postpartum depression survivor feels is much worse than your average mom guilt.  The things we said or did while we were in the raw days of postpartum depression were not us.  We couldn’t control them, we couldn’t anticipate them and we didn’t mean a word of it.

But we remember all of it. And if there were witnesses around, (i.e. an older child or spouse) it’s likely they remember everything too.

So no matter how many times we tell ourselves that it’s not our fault – we can’t help but feel guilty for all the things we said or did during the battle.
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3. Expect to have different relationships

Postpartum depression changes you.  You can never go back to being the person you were before this.

Your relationship with your spouse or significant other will either be stronger or broken entirely.  They will also be a changed person because you can’t watch someone else go through something like postpartum depression and not feel anything about it afterwards.

You could try this 30 Day Relationship Challenge from To The Altar & After!

But if someone has loved you and stuck with you through the darkest of days then they are a keeper.  If they ran for the hills then you didn’t want them anyway…

The same could be said of your friendships except it’s unlikely they even knew you had postpartum depression.

If you alienated yourself from everyone while you were suffering but did not give an explanation why then you will probably need to do some damage control in the aftermath.
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4. Expect to be a stronger woman than you were before

It goes without saying that postpartum depression survivors are some of the strongest women who exist.  (Ok, all “survivors” are strong – perhaps this one sounds cliché… but being forced to suffer from depression during a time in your life when you should be MOST happy is just plain cruel.) 

Once you’ve doubted every single decision you’ve made, questioned your reason for living and hurt people you love – there is not much left that will scare you.  You will reach a point where you think you just can’t handle it anymore – but then you do.

You learn that the limit to how much you can handle is much further than where you thought it was…
What to Do When Postpartum Depression Makes You Suicidal
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5. Expect to WANT to tell your story

While you may have felt ashamed or embarrassed about your condition at the time – afterwards you will be proud to say “I beat postpartum depression.”

You will recognize the all too familiar pain in other women and want to help them.  Since you are stronger now, you don’t care who judges you for what.

And while writing or talking about your experience will be hard and will likely stir up all the guilt you’ve been working so hard to abolish, the freedom you will gain from it is unlike any other.

Sometime in the aftermath of postpartum depression, you will WANT to tell your story, whether it’s to your closest friends and family or complete strangers.

And when you do, others will sympathize with you and relate to you and perhaps you’ll even save a life…

Want to tell your postpartum depression story but not sure where to start?  Download this FREE printable PDF workbook

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