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
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.
Scary and intrusive thoughts are a common symptom of postpartum depression.
Intrusive thoughts lead many women to believe that they are terrible people, unfit mothers or a danger to their children. While many women experience them in some form, they don’t always recognize that they are intrusive or involuntary. Instead, they believe that the thoughts are how they truly feel, or what they are thinking subconsciously. They don’t talk about them for fear of what others will think of them.
It’s important to speak up about intrusive thoughts, but before a woman can do that – she needs to understand what they are, where they come from and what they mean. This is the only way she will be able to accept that the thoughts she is having are not who she has become, but rather, a side effect of her mental illness.
*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.
What are Intrusive Thoughts?
Intrusive thoughts are an idea or image that come to your mind involuntarily. The thoughts may be extremely out-of-character and can be shocking when they happen. They are almost exactly the same as the thoughts and images that you normally have, except that they are not created nor welcomed by you. Intrusive thoughts are a sign of mental illness and prove that your mind is playing tricks on you.
What are NOT Intrusive Thoughts?
They are not hallucinations.
They are not third party voices in your head.
They are not an indication of postpartum psychosis.
They are not subconscious thoughts or images.
They are not part of your normal train of thought.
They are not how you truly feel deep down inside.
Types of Intrusive Thoughts
The most common type of intrusive thoughts or images are of doing something bad to the baby. They can be “what if…” type of thoughts such as “what if I drop my baby down the stairs” or “what if I stab my baby with a knife.” They can also be images such as watching the baby drown in the bathtub or crashing the car with the baby in the backseat.
Intrusive thoughts can also be about harming yourself. Many women experience suicidal thoughts but have no actual desire to commit suicide. Postpartum depression can cause women to experience thoughts of running away, jumping out of a moving car or falling asleep and never waking up again. Intrusive thoughts often make a woman believe she is unfit to be a mother and that her children would be better off without her.
Another type of intrusive thought includes harming a spouse or another loved one. It’s normal to complain about the annoying things a spouse does and imagine doing something bad to them, but when it affects your relationship or comes out of nowhere it could be an intrusive thought. Postpartum depression, and especially postpartum rage, are often misdirected towards spouses and partners – making a woman believe that she really does hate her husband. Add in intrusive thoughts like running them over with the car and it’s a relationship nightmare…
Some intrusive thoughts are inappropriate and violent. Many can be sexual in nature or include things like harming animals or setting the house on fire.
Basically, any thought or image that enters your head and feels scary and unnatural is an unwanted or intrusive thought.
The Danger of Intrusive Thoughts
Thoughts and images alone are not dangerous. But intrusive thoughts can cause several unwanted side effects that can become dangerous both physically and mentally.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Intrusive thoughts can cause a woman to develop postpartum OCD and become obsessed with certain thoughts and images. If she imagines the baby dying in their sleep, she may stop sleeping in order to check on baby several times through the night.
Stress and Anxiety. Knowing that intrusive thoughts are a possibility is a big source of stress and anxiety, which can worsen symptoms of postpartum depression. For a woman suffering from postpartum anxiety, scary thoughts can cause panic attacks and other symptoms.
Acting on Intrusive Thoughts. It’s rare that a woman would go so far as to act on her intrusive thoughts but the danger that she might still exists. Intrusive thoughts can even lead a woman to feel suicidal.
Stigmatizing. Intrusive thoughts play a major role in the stigma of postpartum depression. Many mothers who try to open up about them are treated like crazy people or seen as dangerous and suicidal. If intrusive thoughts are confessed to a person (even a medical professional) without enough knowledge about them, the consequences could be dangerous. Its important to find a safe place to discuss intrusive thoughts.
The Truth About Intrusive Thoughts
The truth is, they are not real. They may stem from the feelings of inadequacy or overwhelm caused by postpartum depression but they are not part of the subconscious mind. They are a figment of your imagination and a by-product of mental illness. In order to eliminate them, and avoid having them control your life, you need to accept that they are coming from somewhere else, and not from what’s within your heart.
How to Get Rid of Intrusive Thoughts
As long as a woman is suffering from a mental illness, the intrusive thoughts will always be a possibility. So the only way to eliminate them altogether is to treat the underlying condition. There are still several things a person can do to keep intrusive thoughts from affecting their lives.
Document Them. Writing down scary thoughts as they happen can help make them less frightening. You can write them on paper, in a journal or workbook, on your phone or use an app. If you really want to take a stand against intrusive thoughts and connect with other women who are having them, you could even consider blogging about them.
Online Therapy. Speaking to a mental health professional is always a good course of action for women battling intrusive thoughts. With online therapy, you have the option to chat with your therapist anytime throughout the day, as opposed to waiting for a scheduled appointment. This is a great option to be able to discuss scary thoughts as they occur. (If this is an option you’d like to explore, try online therapy using my affiliate link: http://runningintriangles.com/OnlineTherapy).
Meditation. Clearing the mind on a daily basis can help reduce the instances of intrusive thoughts. Meditation can also help to create mindfulness in general, making you feel a little bit more in control of the thoughts and images in your own head. Meditation, either alone or while doing yoga, should become an important part of your self-care routine for battling postpartum depression and intrusive thoughts.
Positive Imagery. Surround yourself with sights that make you feel happy. You can put together a photo album of some of your happiest photos and look at it regularly. Or keep flowers and plants in your home. Hang motivational posters or family photos on the walls. Subconsciously, your mind will soak up all the beauty around you and be a happier place.
The most important factor in dealing with intrusive thoughts is to know the difference between your actual thoughts and the unwanted ones. Having intrusive thoughts may make you feel like a bad mother with the potential to do something harmful but it’s not the truth. Focus on the positive thoughts and try your best to ignore the ones that make you feel anything but joy. Accept that they are a side effect of postpartum depression and not who you have become. It may take a while for the thoughts and images to go away, but as long as you remember that you are still you inside, you can defeat them.
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.
My postpartum depression journey started over 5 years ago and while life has significantly improved for me since then, I can’t say that I’m completely past the dark days. This is one of the reasons why I am constantly looking into treatment options.
The other reason is to help find and share resources for other mothers who are suffering with maternal mental health disorders.
There are plenty of medications, resources, treatments and information available for depression, but not all of them are appropriate for treating prenatal or postpartum depression. Most pharmaceutical drugs are not safe and/or untested on pregnant and breastfeeding women. Even some natural treatments and herbs are unsafe during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
I recently came across the End Your Depression Treatment Plan, which promises to help sufferers overcome their symptoms of depression without the use of anti-depressants.
*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.
I was NOT paid for this review, nor did I receive any type of compensation or discount for purchasing this treatment plan. However, if you decide that this treatment plan is the right one for you and purchase it using one of my affiliate links, then I will receive a small commission.
I am normally a skeptic when it comes to these types of treatment plans. Depression is often seen as a “mind over matter” condition, leaving too much room for people to be taken advantage of in the way of treatments. This review contains my honest opinion after purchasing and thoroughly reviewing the material.
While this treatment plan is targeted towards all different types of depression, I’ve reviewed it specifically from the perspective of a person with postpartum depression.
[There is also a FREE GIFT at the end of the review so don’t leave without it!]
I was expecting a structured, how-to type of plan and this is not that. I realize now that it’s probably for the best because everyone deals with depression in different ways and one plan would not work for everyone.
So if you are searching for a book that will tell you, step-by-step, how to cure your depression – it does not exist.
Upon reading the End Your Depression e-book, I discovered that what it actually contains is a significant amount of information about depression.
Parts of it I was already familiar with, thanks to my own research on postpartum depression, but I was surprised to find that most was new information.
The way it is presented was very clear and easy to understand. I didn’t feel overwhelmed by the information, but rather excited to learn and read things I hadn’t been able to find anywhere else.
The e-book did NOT make me feel like positive thinking alone could cure my depression. It validated all the problems I have experienced with postpartum depression and gave me the tools and information I needed to move forward and stay ahead of the symptoms.
How it (Actually) Works:
The End Your Depression e-book goes into great detail about the different types of depression and how and why they affect different people. This was information I had never read about before.
In the case of postpartum depression, we so often assume that a traumatic birth or hormone fluctuations are to blame, but it could be other reasons all together.
Knowing this root cause of depression is especially important because the e-book then goes on to explain how different diets, exercise regimens and herbal supplements work based on the type of depression a person has.
The treatment plan works on the basis that “knowledge is power.“
The 74 page PDF download was user friendly and easy to read and I was able to finish the e-book over 2 days. In addition to the End Your Depression e-book, I received 3 additional free e-books that worked as supplements to the information in the treatment plan. The plan also comes with free lifetime updates, so if new information becomes available, those will automatically be available.
I’ve been working on evaluating the root cause of my postpartum depression using the advice from the e-book, and am discovering that it’s not what I initially thought it was.
I now have a direction to go in the way of experimenting with my diet and exercise routine – instead of blindly trying anything and everything.
I’ve learned what to look for when choosing herbal supplements and what to avoid (although the e-book did not indicate whether the herbs and supplements were safe for use while pregnant or breastfeeding).
Everything in the e-book is attainable. Nothing feels incredibly out of my comfort zone and it’s evident that the author truly understands what it feels like to battle with daily depression.
I would recommend the End Your Depression Treatment Plan to mothers battling postpartum depression. Knowing the how’s and why’s behind the symptoms is a great place to start on the road to recovery.
Instead of trying every single treatment option out there for postpartum depression, use this e-book to help figure out what the root cause is of your depression. Then, you can create a treatment plan that actually works for YOU.
While I wouldn’t suggest depending solely on the information in this e-book to cure your depression – it is an excellent starting point for anyone who wants to seek a permanent way to overcome their postpartum depression.
Many women are afraid of suffering from postpartum depression after the birth of a child, but none more than a mother who has already experienced it before.
It goes without saying that any mother who has suffered from postpartum depression would never willingly want to put themselves through that kind of torture again.
But while the idea of having another baby after postpartum depression feels like a suicide mission, a significant amount of women go on to have more children after being diagnosed.
This means that, while it might seem preposterous at the time, there is hope for a full and bright future filled with all the children we dreamed of having.
Here is my best advice for how to prepare for another baby after you’ve suffered from postpartum depression.
If you don’t already have a treatment plan for your postpartum depression, then establishing one is the first step. Once your treatment plan is in place, don’t deviate from it – even if you start to feel better.
If you never initially sought treatment for your postpartum depression but feel like it is under control – it is still worth seeing a doctor, therapist, counselor or other health professional to discuss your options should you experience a relapse of symptoms.
Before adding a new baby to the family, it’s worth considering what triggers your postpartum depression symptoms and trying your best to eliminate them ahead of time. Tracking your mood fluctuations can help you identify specific patterns and triggers.
Financial or marital problems should be worked out in order to avoid added stress. Illnesses, chronic pain, nutrient deficiencies and the overall state of your health should be addressed. Practicing yoga and meditation can be a great way to get in better physical and mental health prior to having another baby.
While many triggers will be unavoidable, if you can be in good physical shape and proper mental health prior to getting pregnant again, then you will be more prepared should postpartum depression strike again.
Document Your Feelings
Writing down everything you’ve gone through can help you to remember what your experience was like at a later date. Sometimes the things we feel in the heat in the moment can easily be sorted out when our mind is clearer.
If you wrote down any of your thoughts or feelings in a journal of some sort during your first round of postpartum depression, then you should take some time to re-read those entries prior to have another baby and see if they give you some insight.
If you do end up struggling with postpartum depression again after another baby, then document your feelings again so that you can compare both experiences and see if there is a common factor or trigger that you can work on.
download this free printable PDF to help you document your journey:
I know, I know, I’m always talking about how women need to speak up about postpartum depression… but it really makes all the difference!
In addition to your loved ones, your doctor or midwife should know that you suffered from postpartum depression with a previous baby if they don’t already.
Knowing that you have a support system already in place in the event that you suffer the same unfortunate fate again, will help you to prepare for having another baby after postpartum depression.
Make Sure You’re Ready
Why do you want another baby? Is it because you’ve always dreamed of having more? Do you feel like you need to provide a sibling for your child to grow up with? Does your spouse or partner want another baby? Do you feel your biological clock ticking?
I’m not saying that any of these reasons are wrong reasons to have a child, as long as it’s what you really want.
If you feel pressured in any way to have another baby, it might be time to do a little soul searching and think carefully if the time is right.
I can give you thousands of tips on how to prepare for another baby after postpartum depression, but unless you are ready – none of them will help.
Become a Warrior
Speaking up is only the first step to battling postpartum depression. If it has affected your life – don’t let it get away so easily. The best way to fight against postpartum depression is to take a stand and help destroy the stigma that surrounds it.
The more you know about, and are involved with the postpartum depression community, the better you will be at defeating at.
The truth is, if you’ve suffered from postpartum depression before, the chances of suffering from it again are high. While you may not be able to avoid postpartum depression the second time around, being prepared and educated will help you handle the symptoms and know when and where to turn for help.