Breastfeeding and Postpartum Depression: What Is The Connection?

There seems to be a significant connection between breastfeeding and postpartum depression.

Many women who have been diagnosed with postpartum depression also report trouble breastfeeding.  Their struggles include latching problems, not producing enough breast milk, or an overall aversion to breastfeeding in general.  With this being such a common concern, it seems there must be a connection between breastfeeding and postpartum depression.

A connection between breastfeeding and postpartum depression is not an easy one to decipher, however.  It’s likely caused by a number of different factors, both physical and psychological.  And the fact that postpartum depression also affects women who have no issues breastfeeding makes it even more complicated to figure out. 

Let’s dig deeper into the connection between breastfeeding and postpartum depression.

Breastfeeding and Postpartum Depression - What is the Connection?

Breastfeeding and Postpartum Depression - What is the Connection?

The “Unnaturalness” of Breastfeeding

The only thing that’s natural about breastfeeding is that it feels so completely unnatural. It may have been natural hundreds of years ago, when people lived more closely among animals and watched them raise their young.  In the days when daily life consisted of fetching well water and hunting for food, breastfeeding was the norm.  But modern civilization has taken the “naturalness” out of breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding and Postpartum Depression Infographic
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Breastfeeding exposes a woman, making her feel vulnerable and embarrassed.  Most women have never walked around bare-breasted before.  And now, suddenly, other people are inspecting and staring at her breasts, even grabbing them like hamburgers.  Plus, there’s the added feature of getting used to another human being sucking away on them in a completely asexual way.

But instead of admitting that breastfeeding feels unnatural, the message mothers are given about breastfeeding is that it’s what’s best for her baby, that it’s completely natural and instinctual, and that if she’s doing it right, it shouldn’t hurt.  Perhaps the connection between breastfeeding and postpartum depression stems from the gross misinformation that new mothers are given.

some truths about breastfeeding:

It’s painful.  Yes, even when you’ve got a proper latch, it can still hurt.

It doesn’t happen instinctively.  Babies will root around, looking for a nipple, but the majority of them don’t know what the heck they’re doing.

It’s embarrassing. And others will make you feel guilty for being embarrassed and say insensitive things like “we’ve seen it all before.”

It’s annoying.  Newborns eat often and can suck for a long time.  Having to feed a baby on demand means you barely have time to do anything else, let’s not even talk about pumping.

It gets easier? Yeah, sure, once you get the latch figured out, it might seem like things are going smoothly.  Until you have a 6 month old who likes to shove their feet in your mouth, pull your hair and scratch your chest while they nurse.

How, When & Why to Do Breast Compression
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The Guilt of Not Breastfeeding

Despite all of this, the majority of mothers will attempt to breastfeed their child because “breast is best” and what kind of mother would they be if they didn’t at least try to give their child the best?  This overwhelming pressure on mothers most definitely plays a part in the connection between breastfeeding and postpartum depression.

Contrary to (un)popular belief, mothers don’t just give up breastfeeding because it’s too hard.  They usually seek help from a professional, try supplements to increase their supply, pump day and night and do everything else in their power, which often causes a severe amount of stress, anxiety and feelings of worthlessness.  

A mother who is unable to breastfeed, regardless of the reason, will feel guilty for not doing it, despite the fact that it is not her fault.  She may even be embarrassed to admit to other mothers that she is not breastfeeding for fear of being judged.

Connection Between Breastfeeding and Postpartum Depression
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Stress Inhibits Breastfeeding

All of these misconceptions about breastfeeding can set a new mother up for failure. Instead of experiencing something she hoped would be beautiful and natural, she feels frustrated and stressed out.  Stress then inhibits breast milk production, and not producing enough breast milk stresses a mother out even more.  So it becomes nothing but a vicious cycle.

We know that stress can cause all kinds of symptoms in our bodies, both mentally and physically.  Stress leads to anxiety, insomnia, poor eating habits, weight gain or loss, neck and back pain, headaches, depression and more.  So it’s no wonder that stress is the primary culprit in the connection between breastfeeding and postpartum depression.

How to Ensure Successful breastfeeding with postpartum depression
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Breastfeeding in Public

Breastfeeding in public may be legal, but that doesn’t make it any less awkward for a new mother who is already feeling exposed and vulnerable.  We’ve all heard the horror stories of women being shamed for breastfeeding in public.  While we applaud those who do stand up for themselves, that level of courage is not in all of us.

Even if we are never actually confronted about public breastfeeding, we often take additional measures to prevent it from making those around us uncomfortable.  This comes at the cost of our own comfort, and that of our baby, usually resulting in an unsuccessful public breastfeeding experience.  Therefore, the mere thought of having to breastfeed a screaming, hungry baby in a public place can cause high levels of stress and anxiety. 

A new mother struggling to breastfeed may avoid spending time outside of the house for this reason.  Eventually, this feeling of being trapped in the house can have an effect on a mother’s mental health and the longer it persists, the more dangerous it becomes.

5 Things New Moms Fear about Breastfeeding
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Breastfeeding with D-MER

If you’re not familiar with the breastfeeding condition known as D-MER (Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex) you can read about in this post.  D-MER can cause a mother to have an overall aversion to breastfeeding and develop negative thoughts and feelings towards it.  While D-MER is a physiological response as opposed to a psychological one, I believe that it can play a part in the connection between breastfeeding and postpartum depression.

For a mother with undiagnosed D-MER, she may associate extremely negative thoughts and feelings towards breastfeeding, which could transfer over into negative thoughts towards herself or her baby.  This constant weight of negativity creates an environment where mental illness thrives.

It’s important for mothers who have negative feelings while breastfeeding to speak up about them and seek help.  It could be D-MER or it could be postpartum depression.  Either way, help and information are available.

D-MER: When Breastfeeding Makes You Feel Sad
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Ultimately, a lot of different things can affect a breastfeeding mother and prevent her from being successful at it. If breastfeeding is causing you to feel stressed, anxious, vulnerable, embarrassed, ashamed or creating a negative experience altogether, then it’s worth weighing the risks and benefits.  While there are so many wonderful benefits of breastfeeding for babies and mothers, forcing yourself to breastfeed at the cost of your mental health is not worth it.


Why You Should Never Give a New Mom Unsolicited Advice

New moms often find themselves in a vulnerable state – physically and emotionally.

Unfortunately, many people don’t see the vulnerability of a new mom’s spirit and inadvertently do things to harm it.  Offering unsolicited advice, judging a new mom’s parenting choices, or making her feel incapable in any way can all do damage to a mother’s mental and emotional health.

Jess shares some of her experiences as a new mom, feeling judged and made to second guess her choices.  She talks about how dangerous it can be to do anything but support a new mom.  New moms don’t need us to tell them what to do, because we all figure it out eventually.  What they do need is a community of people who they trust and can go to for advice when they need it.

So the next time you see a new mom struggling, don’t give her unsolicited advice.
Why You Should Never Give A New Mom Unsolicited Advice
*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.
Why You Should Never Give A New Mom Unsolicited Advice How to Handle Unsolicited Advice As a New Mom
How to Protect Your Spirit from Unsolicited Advice

It really isn’t that hard to not judge other moms. Whatever your excuse might be, it does not matter.  Whether you are from the older generation where you did things differently, or maybe it’s because the way you opted to do things worked for you, you assume it’s the only way. 

But when you give unsolicited advice to a new mom, the only thing that she will take away from your statement is that she is not doing a good job.

When I had my first child, I felt so prepared. I was ready. I read the books. I went to the classes.  My husband and I had talked endlessly on how we wanted to raise our children.  We talked about what was important to us, our family values and the importance we placed on everything from Montessori toys to how we felt about screen time. I knew we were in for a huge adventure as we became parents, and as scary as it was, I felt like “yes, I can do this!”

How to Handle Unsolicited Advice As a New Mom
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And then you came along. Someone who obviously knew more than either my husband or I when it came to raising our own child.  Everything I did received criticism or was questioned. Maybe you felt entitled to say it because you are older than me, or you had raised a child of your own.

I honestly don’t know what triggered it, but I started to hate you. I had a newborn baby and I was exhausted.  Sure, I didn’t know what I was doing, but I 100% knew better than you did when it came to the well-being of MY baby.

This was not just one person, it was several people. Maybe I was just overly sensitive, but you don’t know how the words you said to me affected me. I would cry in the car on the drive home because your unsolicited advice made me feel inadequate. I cringed at the thought of seeing you and even avoided gatherings that I knew you would be at.

11 Things Moms Do That Can Harm Their Mental Health
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That unhelpful, toxic energy was not good for my soul.

I was so new into motherhood and I was not prepared for the unsolicited advice that was being thrown at me left and right. I did not know then, as I do now, how much I would have to protect my spirit so I would not be broken.

Motherhood is heavy, oh so heavy, and the weight of it can crush you.

People feel as if they have the right to give you unsolicited advice because you NEED it. I was fortunate that I never went through the darkness of postpartum depression.  But having someone question or belittle me when it came to making decisions about this perfect little human that I shared a bond with, was one of the most frustrating things I have experienced as a mother.

6 Warning Signs That it's More Than The Baby Blues
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As a practice of self-care, I developed a circle of support.  I now surround myself with people I love and trust and can turn to at any minute of the day when I need my spirits lifted. I could also feel my “motherly intuition” grow stronger as my baby grew. I knew when she was hungry or tired. I could sense her emotions and I grew confident in my abilities.

Now, fast forward five years down the road and another baby later, I do not let what other people say get to me when it comes to parenting.   Yes, I let my kids watch YouTube Kids and occasionally have a lollipop with their breakfast.  But I know I am a good mom to my kids and I have stopped comparing myself, or my kids, to anyone else.

So while the same people might still make the same sly comments every now and then and offer their unsolicited advice, I have learned to just smile, nod and hum Backstreet Boys songs in my head until they stop talking.

12 Ways to Improve Your Mental Health This Year
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Here is my advice to all the new moms out there.

No one knows how to take care of your baby better than you.  It will be hard to remember at first, but eventually you will find that mama bear spirit lying deep within. 

And to all the well meaning people out there who have so many words of wisdom or “helpful” comments, here is some advice for you:  unless you are directly asked for advice about something, all you need to say is… repeat after me…

How to Handle Unsolicited Advice As a New Mom

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

Continue reading “How Long Has it Been Since Your Postpartum Depression First Started?”

7 Ways Moms Can Look and Feel Good This Spring

Putting effort into our outward appearance is not a sign of vanity.  It has a significant impact on how we feel inside.

Being happy means aiming to both look and feel good, but it’s not always easy to do.  For mothers, how we look is not always representative of how we feel (and other times it is all too accurate).  

We may feel young and sexy and full of life but we look tired, worn out and as though we’ve given up on ourselves.  Or alternatively, we may feel like we’re dying on the inside, so we overcompensate by layering on makeup to give the appearance that “everything is fine.”

This spring, as the weather begins to warm up, we should challenge ourselves to match how we look with how we feel.
7 Ways Moms Can Look and Feel Good This Spring
*This is a sponsored post and 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.
7 Ways Moms Can Look and Feel Good This Spring 7 Ways Moms Can Look and Feel Good This Spring

Start From The Inside

How we look on the outside all begins with how we feel on the inside. Self esteem comes from within and if we are happy with who we are, it shows in a physical way.  If you are struggling with stress, anxiety, depression, or substance overuse, then the first place to start is therapy. 

Working with a therapist, either in person or online, can help you manage everything that is creating self-doubt or a poor self image.  Online therapy in particular, is extremely convenient, especially for moms. 

Schedule your online or video therapy sessions over the winter, ensuring that you get the most out of spring and summer.

Shine The Light On Clothing | My Dog is My Therapist
Shine The Light On – The Leah

Focus on Health

Weight issues are some of the most common hurdles to looking and feeling good.  As mothers, we’ve stretched and shrunk, been cut open, torn apart and pieced back together.  Our bodies have changed in so many ways and it can be difficult to accept it as it is now.

One way to look and feel good is to forget about the extra skin on our stomachs or how much we weigh and just focus on being healthy.  Exercising to stay healthy is different than exercising to lose weight or tone muscle.  Don’t worry about counting calories or inches, just try to eat healthier food and incorporate vitamins and nutritional supplements to avoid deficiencies.

If our main focus is on being “healthy” rather than being “fit” there is less pressure on us to meet certain goals and we can learn to love our bodies again.

12 Ways to Improve Your Mental Health This Year
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Find Strength

In addition to being healthy, we also need to feel strong.  Strength comes in many different forms.  We can train ourselves to be physically strong by joining a gym, lifting weights, swimming, or playing a sport.  It’s important to find emotional and mental strength, as well.  Try meditation, journaling, art or aromatherapy

Being strong, both physically and mentally will inspire confidence and a sense of pride in ourselves.


Make a Statement

Be Kind Necklace by Sincerely Silver
Be Kind Necklace by Sincerely Silver

Your outward appearance tells the world about you, so what is it you want to say? Make a statement with your appearance by choosing clothing and accessories that speak to you.  This “Be Kind” Necklace is a simple and elegant way to remind yourself and others of the power of kindness (get 15% off with code FRIENDS15).

Clothing lines like Shine The Light On create pieces that help raise awareness about mental health.  Modern, minimalist messages imprinted on soft, luxurious fabrics make it simple to spread messages of hope and acceptance wherever you go.

In addition to looking good while making a statement, a portion of the proceeds from the Shine The Light On collection goes towards mental health initiatives – so you can also feel good knowing that you are helping to end the stigma of mental illness.

Click here to see the stunning clothing line from Shine The Light On and get 15% off with coupon code RUNINTRIANGLES15

Shine The Light On - Be You.Bravely
Shine The Light On
Make A Mental Health Fashion Statement with Shine the Light On

Take Care of Your Skin

You don’t need to do your hair and makeup to look and feel good this spring, but you should always take care of your skin.  Glowing, healthy skin looks good from the outside and can make a person feel good on the inside. 

As mothers, when we feel over-cuddled and overstimulated after a long day, it’s our skin and sense of touch that suffers.  This is why caring for our skin plays such an important role in how we look and feel.  Plus, the act of massaging lotion onto our skin can stimulate our lymphatic system and help keep our bodies healthy from the inside.

So splurge on a good, all natural skin care line to make sure that you’re not coating your skin in chemicals.  Soak in a bath filled with Epsom salts to help soften and relax your muscles.  Use sunscreen all year round, especially when you plan to spend longer amounts of time outdoors.

And make sure that you schedule yourself enough time each day to perform your daily skin care routine.

My Self Care Workbook - A Free Printable PDF
Click Here to Download

Change is Good

Try a new look this spring. Cut or color your hair, try out a new clothing style or color that you would never normally wear.  Get a piercing or tattoo, eyelash extensions, permanent makeup or micro-bladed eyebrows.  You don’t need to go so far as getting plastic surgery, but if there are specific problem areas that have always bothered you, then consider booking an appointment with a doctor or dermatologist to discuss your options.

Don’t be afraid of change, though it might take some time to get used to.  Only make changes that are truly something you want to do, and never in an effort to please anyone else or be someone other than yourself.   Changing something about your outward appearance can make you feel mysterious, spontaneous and empowered. 

Deciding to change something about your appearance should remind you that you are in control of your body and what happens to it.


Comfortable Is Beautiful

“The mom look” is normally one associated with comfort and function.  But comfortable can also be beautiful so don’t feel like you need to trade one for the other.  It is entirely possible to look good and feel comfortable at the same time, as long as you choose the right pieces.

If you feel uncomfortable in your clothing, whether it’s shoes that pinch or a waistband that’s too tight, you will act uncomfortably.  So just bite the bullet and get rid of anything that you hate wearing, no matter how expensive or “designer” it might be.

Being comfortable in your own skin is the best way to show the world your confidence and beauty.

Shine The Light On - The Struggle is Real
Shine The Light On

Shine the Light On - Grateful Over Everything Shine the Light On - Normal is Boring Shine the Light On - Rather Be in Bed

A Year in Review and What’s Happening in 2019

Running in Triangles Year in Review


Happy New Year!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

But one thing was the same… their pain.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9 Reasons Why Mothers Don't Talk About Postpartum Depression
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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!

Mothers Answer 10 Questions About Postpartum Depression
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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 Baby Blues vs. Postpartum Depression vs. No Postpartum Mood Disorder

I’ve given birth to three kids, experienced three similar pregnancies,  labored through three natural, drug-free births, but ended up with three very different postpartum recovery periods…

What’s the difference between the baby blues vs. postpartum depression?  It’s a question that many mothers have asked themselves because it’s hard to know for sure if you’re suffering from a maternal mental health disorder or not.

The baby blues is not an actual mental health disorder, but a common experience in the early days postpartum, however some women don’t experience it at all.  Postpartum depression is often explained away as a bad case of the baby blues when, in reality, it’s much more serious.

To help end some of the confusion, here’s what it felt like first hand.
The Baby Blues vs Postpartum Depression vs No Postpartum Mood Disorder
*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.

The Baby Blues

Shortly after the birth of my first child I experienced symptoms of what I believe were the common baby blues.  They didn’t last long and they didn’t disrupt my life (much).

The mood swings were my first indicator.  I remember watching my husband interact with the baby while our two dogs sat at his feet watching.  I thought about how the dogs had no idea how much life was changing and I instantly burst into tears.  I’m not usually a sensitive or emotional person so this was a sure sign to me that I was experiencing some type of hormonal imbalance. It was very similar to the mood swings I experienced during pregnancy. [Try tracking your moods with a printable mood tracker]

The sleep deprivation added to my emotional state.  The way someone would feel after staying up partying all night long (which may or may not be a familiar feeling for me *wink wink*).  I felt irritable and edgy but sleep, when I could get it, was welcome and helped to alleviate the stress. [Keep track of how much sleep you’re getting each night].

My brain was foggy and I was easily distracted. The “mom brain” was probably one of the hardest symptoms for me to manage as someone who prides themselves on having a great memory.  Suddenly I couldn’t multi-task because I would forget what I was doing in the first place.  I wrote down absolutely everything in a log book, significant or not, in a vain attempt to remember everything.

I felt an overwhelming urge to protect him and I worried a lot about everything he did.  I worried about holding him too much, or not enough.  I worried about the way others were holding him.  I worried about his diaper being put on properly.  I worried about such small and insignificant things (in addition to all the normal motherhood worrying like how much he was eating, pooping and sleeping). [Document your worries in a worry workbook]

6 Warning Signs That it's More Than The Baby Blues
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I didn’t bond with the baby as much as I thought I would.  I spent a lot of time talking to him but the lack of a response discouraged me.  I wasn’t absolutely head over heels in love with him the way motherhood is portrayed in the media, but I didn’t feel anything negative either.  I was just so tired and still adjusting to this new lifestyle.

We didn’t get out of the house much at first.  I was extremely overprotective of him and convinced that he would contract bad germs from strangers.  Aside from worrying, I honestly just didn’t feel like leaving the comfort of my own home.

Carseat "No Touching" Sign
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It eventually went away on it’s own.  Similar to a really bad case of PMS, I started to feel “normal” again.  I didn’t cry at the mere thought of something sad and I couldn’t wait to get out of the house and socialize.  By the time he was 2 months old he was smiling, making eye contact and interacting and I did fall head over heels in love with him.


Postpartum Depression

After the birth of my second child, things felt a little bit different.  That first baby that I didn’t bond with?  Well he was two years old now and the absolute center of my world.  So for the first couple months, things were monotonous and scheduled and boring – as long as the baby was concerned, at least.

She had basic needs and I didn’t try too hard to bond with her. I figured it would happen eventually, so I didn’t put too much pressure on myself this time.  The first two months after her birth were extremely busy in my social life so I didn’t have time to stew over the fact that life as I knew it had completely changed.

But when the dust settled and I was left at home, alone, with a toddler and a newborn who wouldn’t stop crying – things changed…
13 Things About Postpartum Depression All New Moms Need to Know
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I was tired and emotional but this time I couldn’t sleep no matter how hard I tried.  Every time I closed my eyes I thought I heard the baby cry and got up to check on her.  Sometimes it was 15 times in an hour but I couldn’t stop myself because I knew the one time I didn’t check on her would be the time something bad happened.  If someone else offered to look after her while I took a nap, then I would lie in bed for 2 hours worrying if she was alright.

The mood swings were extreme and uncontrollable.  As the weeks went on, I started to despise her.  I blamed her for everything I was feeling.  She felt my negative feelings and cried harder and longer which made me dislike her even more.  But then I would think about how I’ve always wanted to have a daughter and I would suffocate her in love – until she started crying again.  The slightest things could send me into fits of rage and I got offended and jealous very easily.

A Mother's Guide to Postpartum Rage
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I was terrified to leave the house with her.  I was certain she would cry and I wouldn’t be able to handle her and everyone would stare at me and think I was a horrible mother.  So I stayed in my house where no one could judge me.  I avoided contact with almost everyone.

And the worst part of all was that I lied about what I was feeling to everyone.  I felt humiliated and inadequate and worthless but I hid it the best I could.  I dressed the baby up in cute outfits and took cute pictures of her to post on social media.  I posted captions about how much I loved having a baby girl and how all of my dreams had come true but in reality I just wanted to rewind life to a time before she existed.

50 Reasons Why Moms Don't Talk About Postpartum Depression

The more I tried to “fix” things, the worse they got.  Even when I tried to “snap out of it” the baby was still reacting to my negative energy and crying all day and night.  My brain was full of terrible ways I could get her to shut up but instead I locked myself in the bathroom and cried for what seemed like hours.  The guilt eventually built up huge walls that closed in on me.  I even contemplated suicide.

For months I battled in silence, not knowing it was postpartum depression.  I kept waiting for this funk to pass, waiting for the “hormones to regulate” but they never did, not without help, that is.  Read more about my personal battle with postpartum depression here.

For more information about postpartum depression and other maternal mental health disorders, check out this comprehensive guide from Parenting Pod. If you need help with what you believe might be postpartum depression, you can speak to an online therapist from Better Help.  Visit https://www.betterhelp.com/

What to do if you think you have postpartum depression
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No Postpartum Mood Disorder

Considering I went to hell and back with my last baby, I must have been absolutely crazy to have another one, right?  The postpartum depression was forefront in my mind but this time I felt more prepared.  I knew what to look for, and I knew that I needed to speak up if I felt something was even a little bit off.

The first time she was placed in my arms, I felt it.  That immediate love that legends were made of.  I couldn’t wait to hold her and I didn’t want to do anything else except just stare at her perfect face.

The early days with her were peaceful and calm – despite the sleepless nights.  The other two children often played with each other and so I had her all to myself.  The fact that she couldn’t talk back to me actually made me want to spend MORE time with her!

Trying to balance three children was definitely a challenge, and extremely overwhelming at times, but instead of being afraid and nervous and frustrated –  I felt excited and determined to make the best of it!

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I felt like I could control my mood.  Even on days when she was extra fussy or I was extra tired, I always managed to stay calm and relaxed around her.  I never felt a sad or negative thought about her.  And she was a calm and relaxed baby because of it.

Initially I worried about how the older children would handle the new baby.  But they never once showed any signs of jealousy towards her and completely welcomed her into our family.  I cried more tears of joy in her first few months than I ever have in my life.

I worried about how much she ate, pooped and slept and whether she was hitting her milestones on time.  Mostly because I was always comparing her to the other children.  In an attempt to get things right this time, I asked a lot of questions, I sought a lot of help and I socialized as often as possible.

I took all three kids out as often as I could.  It was next to impossible to manage all of them in public (and it still is) but I sure didn’t want to get stuck inside the house with them!

The Baby Blues vs. Postpartum Depression vs. No Postpartum Mood Disorder
This popular chart has helped many women understand the difference in their symptoms but it is not all-inclusive as everyone experiences symptoms differently. Speak to your doctor if you have any concerns about what you are feeling.
*NEW: Download a Digital Print File of this infographic on Etsy!

When it comes to the baby blues vs. postpartum depression vs. no postpartum mood disorder, I can’t say for certain what factors affected these different outcomes.  It was only in hindsight that I was able to really identify the differences.  But regardless of my three experiences, I feel the same kind of love for all three of my children.  When I think about life with a newborn, I try my hardest to reflect on the happiness of my last one, but will never forget the darkness that came before.


The Baby Blues vs. Postpartum Depression vs. No Postpartum Mood Disorder
This popular chart has helped many women understand the differences, but it is not meant to be a replacement for an actual diagnosis as all women are different. Always talk to your doctor if you are concerned about your mental health.