What To Do When Postpartum Depression Makes You Suicidal

Postpartum depression, like many mental illnesses, has a way of making a woman feel suicidal. 

For a person who has never suffered from mental illness, it’s almost impossible to understand why a mother would want to abandon her children in such a way.  But a woman who has suffered from postpartum depression, anxiety, psychosis or other mental illness will tell you that it’s not about that at all.

The misconception about mothers who are suicidal is that they are “giving up.” In reality, many mothers see it as a way to free their children, spouse, loved ones, etc., from the pain that they are causing.  It is the ultimate sacrifice for someone else’s happiness.

Despite what the reason is behind it – it is completely extreme and unnecessary.  Any person in their right mind would realize that.  Right mind being the key word here.

So what is a mother to do when postpartum depression makes her feel suicidal?

What to Do When Postpartum Depression Makes You Suicidal

*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.


Start Treatment

Untreated depression is the number one cause of suicide.  Do not let postpartum depression get out of hand.  I realize it’s hard to ask for help, in fact, I’ve written several times about all the reasons why mothers don’t speak up about postpartum depression, so if anyone understands, it’s me.  But there’s a big difference between feeling ashamed and feeling suicidal.  If there was ever a time to speak up about postpartum depression, it’s now.

The only way to avoid suicidal thoughts and tendencies caused by postpartum depression is to begin a treatment plan.

If you think you have postpartum depression, speak to your doctor.  If your doctor is not available in the near future, or you simply don’t feel comfortable speaking to your doctor about it for whatever reason – then try contacting your local public health nurse, find a therapist or mental health center.  And if all else fails, head to an urgent care center or the ER.  But don’t give up seeking help just because your doctor isn’t available, there are so many other options available.

If you don’t get the help you need, keep looking.  It’s sad that I even need to include this as an option but it’s so common for women with postpartum depression to get brushed off by the health care system.  If you’re told that “it’s nothing” or “it’s just sleep deprivation” or “this is normal motherhood” and you truly don’t agree – then get a second opinion.

If you’ve exhausted all your options locally, then consider finding treatment online or over the telephone.  Online therapy can be extremely beneficial and convenient.  There are several other resources available online, in-home and over the phone, so there is no excuse for avoiding treatment.

6 Ways to Get Online Help for Postpartum Depression
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Value Your Life

“They would be better off without me” should be the slogan for postpartum depression considering how many women have said it, myself included.

Postpartum depression is notorious for reducing a woman’s self-esteem and sense of self worth.  This opens the door for suicidal thoughts.  To make matters worse, others often tell us things like “don’t worry, you’re a great mom” or “you should give yourself more credit” thinking that they are helping, when really, it just invalidates our feelings.

In order to see your life as worth living, you need to focus on how you feel about yourself.  

Consider all the things that you once loved about yourself, and that you will love again.  Like your ability to win arguments or make people feel comfortable around you.  Maybe it was how others came to you for fashion or love advice.  These are things you can look forward to again when you get the postpartum depression under control.

Make a list of some of your best qualities. Do you have the best smile? Great hair? Eyes that sparkle?  Or is it your excellent sense of humor or party planning skills?  What makes you stand out among the rest?

Think of a time that you made others laugh, or helped someone who was hurt. You have the power to affect another person’s life in a way they may never forget.  Try surrounding yourself in positive images or create a self-care sanctuary that you can escape to when you’re feeling low.

Look at pictures of some of your happiest memories, vacations or family holidays. What would those pictures look like without you in them?  There would be a big empty hole where you belong.

Scroll through old Facebook or Instagram posts and remember who you were before postpartum depression. You have changed, and it’s unlikely you will ever be the same person again.  But it helps to remember who you once were and know that your life is just as important now as it was then.

Maybe we’re not the ideal mothers we thought we would be, but no one ever is – even the ones without postpartum depression.  The truth is, our children would much rather have a sad mother around than no mother at all.

9 Reasons Why Moms Don't Talk About Postpartum Depression
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Make a plan

No, not a suicide plan. A plan for the future. 

It’s hard to imagine a future when you’re in the depths of postpartum depression, but I promise you – it’s there.  Each climb that you take upwards out of the deep, dark pit of despair brings you closer to the light.  And if you can see the light – even if it’s just a tiny speck like a distant star in the night sky, then you can climb towards it.  That tiny speck of light is your future and the higher you climb, the closer you get to a brighter future.

Having a plan can remind you that the future does exist.

Set realistic goals with dates to achieve them by.  These can include things like finishing a book or learning a new skill.  Try to avoid putting things like weight loss on there as those are almost impossible to achieve and can be discouraging.

Make a bucket list.  What are some things that you’ve always wanted to do before you die?  It doesn’t have to be the usual big ones like skydiving or cliff-jumping.  Think of anything and everything you’ve ever wanted to do in your lifetime and put it on the list.

Create a self-care schedule.    Self-care is the latest buzz word these days, and there’s a good reason for that.  Mothers need to make time for themselves otherwise bad things like suicidal thoughts can happen.  Schedule yourself some time to take care of yourself and don’t put it off.  Postponing things just for you signal your brain that you are not as important as the other things happening around you.

Bonus: Check out the post: How to Create a Self Care Routine as a SAHM and download a free self-care workbook!

Meet with a financial adviser.  No, not to “get your affairs in order” but rather, to make a financial plan for the future.  Find out how to save and manage your money to make sure it will last.  Financial problems can cause a lot stress and suicidal behavior.  Having a financial plan for the future can help you feel more prepared for the road ahead.  You can start getting your finances organized by downloading a Finance Tracker kit from Shine Sheets.

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Avoid Triggers

Suicidal tendencies are only one of the many nasty symptoms of postpartum depression.  Women also have to deal with postpartum rage, intrusive thoughts and a whole slew of physical pain as well.  Even with a treatment plan in place, it is likely something that mothers will have to battle their entire lives.

The key to keeping postpartum depression symptoms under control is avoiding the things that trigger it, such as stress, illness, sleep deprivation or the winter blues. 

Since it’s impossible to avoid triggers 100% of the time, it’s important to follow your treatment plan and make sure you are open about what you’re feeling with your loved ones.  Recruiting help to manage your symptoms and triggers will make sure that you continue down the right path.

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Talk to Someone

If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, it’s important to talk to someone about them.  When someone commits suicide, those closest to them often swear that they had no idea what they were going through.  Don’t let that be you.

You have several options for who to talk to if your postpartum depression is making you feel suicidal.  

Your closest person. This could be your spouse or partner, a sibling, friend or parent… whoever you feel the closest to and most comfortable with.  They are often the best person to tell first, because if they have been paying attention to your behavior – maybe they already suspect that someone isn’t quite right.

A therapist.  Therapists are trained to handle situations where people feel suicidal.  They know what to say and what not to say.  They also understand where the feelings stem from and won’t judge you for expressing your feelings.  Online therapy is an option worth considering if you’re worried about the trouble of finding a therapist and making appointments.

A support group.  Sometimes all we need is a sounding board and someone who can relate.  Joining a postpartum depression support group, whether in-person or online, is a safe place where we can open up about feeling suicidal and not be condemned for it.  Many mothers have been there too and will gladly give you advice or encouragement.

Online Therapy
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A crisis center.  Crisis centers are designed specifically for handling emergent situations where you feel like you have no where else to turn.  Many of them have the ability to dispatch help locally if they feel it is required (similar to calling 9-1-1).  But they will also listen to you and provide you with advice and resources.

Or – you can talk to me!  I’m here to help, after all.  I’m a stranger who doesn’t know anything at all about you except that I have once been there too, so I will never judge you, ignore you or invalidate your feelings.  In fact, I would treat you exactly the way I wished someone would have treated me when I needed them to.  I DON’T have any formal medical training but I DO have access to a lot of resources that I would be more to happy to share with you.

If you are feeling suicidal and need someone to talk to, use the confidential contact form below *

Your information will never be published or shared

*Alternatively, you can email me at vanessa@runningintriangles.com


Suicide is not a choice that a woman with postpartum depression makes, but rather something that happens to her.  It’s the result of an illness in the brain that tells us lies and forces us to attack our own bodies.  Women with postpartum depression are exhausted, chemically imbalanced, overwhelmed and in physical pain, so when the brain sneaks in and whispers “just end it” – it sounds like a good idea at the time.

I hope, with every fiber in my being, that you find your true worth and value, remember that you are loved and cherished and know that suicide is not the best option.

Postpartum Depression Survival Guide Free Resource Library
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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.

What to Do When Postpartum Depression Makes You Suicidal

What to Do When Postpartum Depression Makes You Suicidal

6 Ways to Get Online Help for Postpartum Depression

Too many mothers with postpartum depression or anxiety put off seeking help or getting the care they need.  One reason for this is because they just don’t know where to go or who to talk to.  And even if they did know, the idea of leaving the house for appointments can be both inconvenient and terrifying.

The good news is that, thanks to modern technology, there are many ways for a mother to get online help for postpartum depression from the comfort of her own home.  Not only is it convenient, but it makes it easier to find the right person to speak to.  Instead of having to rely on resources available locally, women now have access to an international panel of experts.

Here are some ways that mothers can access online help for postpartum depression

6 Ways to Get Online Help for 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.


Try Online Therapy

One of the best ways for moms to get help for postpartum depression is by speaking to a therapist.  But it’s also something that many women avoid doing for several reasons:

It’s tough to arrange for childcare during appointments, especially with a brand new or exclusively breastfed baby. 

There is a lot of stigma around “going to therapy” that may deter a mother from choosing to do it in public.  

With so many horror stories of mothers being treated like criminals, they may avoid speaking to someone without knowing how that person will react first.

Finding the right therapist can be difficult.  It sometimes requires a referral from a doctor, which can delay the process.

Having to make phone calls to set up appointments, get dressed to go out, interact with others socially and feel judged by everyone along the way is an exhausting task for mothers with postpartum depression.

Mothers don’t always feel at their worst between 9 – 5, Monday to Friday.  Some therapists might offer an emergency number to call but that would mean inconveniencing someone and mothers aren’t usually down for doing that, no matter how bad it gets.

Signing up for online therapy can solve so many of these problems.  On sites such as Online-Therapy.com, you have a better chance of being matched with a therapist that is right for you.  You have the ability to speak to your therapist through a live chat or e-mail, which makes it much more convenient.  You can even purchase sessions for just one week at a time, so there’s no huge commitment if you find it’s not for you.

With online therapy you also get a variety of other tools and resources at your disposal, 24/7.  You can access an online forum for therapy members, yoga and meditation videos, workbooks and more.  You get so much more than just a therapy session, and you can do it all right from home.

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Make a Phone Call

Sometimes, when you are having a really bad day, you just need to talk to someone who understands.  A helpline is designed specifically for that purpose.  While not technically considered online help for postpartum depression, it’s still something that you can do from the comfort of your own home and have access to 24/7.

If you are having suicidal thoughts and need to speak to someone urgently:

In the US: 

Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8225

In Canada: 

Call the National Crisis Services Canada Number 1-833-456-4566 and you will be connected with the closest provincial crisis center to your location.

Internationally:

On the Befrienders Worldwide website, you can search for suicide helplines by country.  The website is also available in different languages and provides resources and information about mental health.

For general information, support and resources:

Call the Postpartum Support International’s Helpline 1-800-944-4773 (4PPD) It’s a messaging system so you would have to leave a message and then someone would get back to you as soon as possible.  It is NOT meant for emergencies, but rather, to find out where and how to get help.

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Send a Text Message

Texting is a newer way that moms can get online help for postpartum depression and many support groups are making this an option.  It is so much easier for a mother battling a mental illness to send a text message when she’s overwhelmed with thoughts and feelings, rather than speak to someone over the phone or face to face.

In the US:

Text HOME to 741741 for any type of crisis and a trained counselor from the Crisis Text Line will respond 24/7.

In Canada:

Text HOME to 686868 to access the Crisis Text Line in Canada.  This text line is managed by volunteers and is a division of the Kids Help Phone.

Text Crisis Services Canada at 45645 anytime between 5 pm and 1 am and get a response from someone at the crisis center.  A live chat option is also available on their website (also between 5 pm and 1 am).

You can also text the Postpartum Support International’s Warmline at 503-894-9453 for information and to get support and resources close to where you live.

Many local support groups also offer their own text line, so make sure to find out what they are and store them in your phone for emergencies.

Online Help for Postpartum Depression
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Join a Facebook Support Group

Facebook support groups are a great way to get online help for postpartum depression.  Not only will you be able to find some posts that you relate to, but you’ll see that you’re not alone in your struggles.

If you’re not big on communicating with strangers, it helps just to read some of the posts and comments.  If you have a particular question, you can search for it in the group and see if someone else has already asked about it.  It’s a great resource to get peer support and advice for postpartum depression and anxiety.

Some of the groups that I’m in and would recommend:

Postpartum Support International – Group Size: Large (8,000 + Members).

If you have a question about treatment options, symptoms, previous experiences – this is the place to go to get your questions answered.  PSI’s support group is a mix of health care professionals, therapists, sufferers and survivors.  If you have a question about anything related to perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, you will find it here.

Momma’s Postpartum Depression Support Group – Group Size: Medium (4,000 + Members).

This group is a very supportive one and the perfect place to go and vent about what you’re feeling.  If you just need someone to talk to or share your story with someone who will understand, then the women in this group are here for you.

Postpartum Depression & Anxiety Support Group – Group Size: Small (3,000 + Members).

What I love about this smaller group is that you really get the chance to connect with other members.  If you’re seeking more than just a sounding board, and hoping to make friends and build a support system to help you through this difficult time, then consider joining this group.

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Hire a Postpartum Doula

A postpartum doula is someone who comes to your house after you have a baby specifically to help you out.  They are not like a nanny, in that, they are there to support you and not simply to take care of the baby and the house.  They are trained to recognize the early symptoms of a perinatal mood and anxiety disorder and can direct you where to get help.  Most can be hired to work a night shift so that you can get the sleep you desperately need.  I consider this a form of online help for postpartum depression because searching various websites is generally the best way to find the right doula for you.

There are several websites you can use to find a doula in your area:

DONA International

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

ICEA (International Childbirth Education Association)

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

Doula Match 

You can search a database of over 10,000 doulas in Canada and the US and the best part is that you can enter the dates when you would need their services to make sure that they are available before contacting them.

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Download an App

There are so many apps available to help with almost any kind of problem you’re experiencing.  Online help for postpartum depression in the form of an app is so convenient and always at your fingertips.  Instead of scrolling through social media on your phone, download a meditation or self care app to use regularly instead.

PPD ACT

This is part of an important research study but also provides resources for women with postpartum depression.  Read more about it on the Pact For The Cure website.

MGHPDS (Massachusetts General Hospital Perinatal Depression Scale)

This is a good one for new moms who are concerned about developing postpartum depression or anxiety.  It contains questionnaires to assess your mood and stress level and will remind you to take them again every few weeks so that you can document any changes.  The questions are similar to those used by medical professionals to check for maternal mood disorders.

Virtual Hope Box 

This app was originally designed by the military to help patients coping with PTSD.  It’s recommended by therapists as a supplement to treatment for stress and anxiety disorders, but it can be a great tool for a mother battling postpartum depression.  You have the ability to add happy photos or video memories, favorite songs and quotes and access tools for coping with stress and anxiety.

Headspace 

Practicing meditation and mindfulness are great ways to help with postpartum depression and anxiety. This popular meditation app is easy to use and has sessions ranging from 1 minute up to 10 minutes.  It’s perfect for a busy mom with only a few minutes to spare.

SleepBot or SleepCycle

Sleep problems are a big component of postpartum depression and anxiety.  An app that tracks your sleeping patterns can help you avoid some of the nasty side effects of sleep deprivation.

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Online help for postpartum depression should never be a replacement for help from a medical professional.  Always make sure that your doctor knows what you are feeling.

But also, get educated.  Know who to call and how to take care of yourself.

When my battle with postpartum depression began, 6 years ago, I didn’t even have a smartphone.  Aside from a few brochures that I was given in my doctor’s office, I had very little information about perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.  Now, almost anyone can access online help for postpartum depression.  There is so much more information for struggling mothers, that it would be a shame to let it all go to waste.

Postpartum Depression Survival Guide Free Resource Library
.

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.

6 Ways to Get Online Help for Postpartum Depression 6 Ways to Get Online Help for Postpartum Depression

6 Ways to Get Online Help for Postpartum Depression