How to Prepare for Another Baby after Postpartum Depression

How to prepare for another baby after postpartum depression

Many women are afraid of suffering from postpartum depression after the birth of a child, but none more than a mother who has already experienced it before.  

It goes without saying that any mother who has suffered from postpartum depression would never willingly want to put themselves through that kind of torture again.

But while the idea of having another baby after postpartum depression feels like a suicide mission, a significant amount of women go on to have more children after being diagnosed.

This means that, while it might seem preposterous at the time, there is hope for a full and bright future filled with all the children we dreamed of having.


Read my full story here

With my first child, I experienced a mild case of the baby blues, followed by full blown postpartum depression with my second child.

But upon the birth of my third child – despite experiencing months of bed rest and hospitalization due to hyperemesis gravidarum just as I had with the first two – I was spared from any postpartum mood disorder whatsoever.

At the time, I was certain I was just “lucky” or perhaps I had suffered enough and deserved a break for a change.  But in hindsight, I realize that there were a few significant things that changed in my lifestyle and way of thinking that contributed to the fact that I did not suffer from postpartum depression with my third baby.

Here is my best advice for how to Prepare for Another Baby after Postpartum Depression

How to prepare for another baby after 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.


Seek Treatment

If you don’t already have an established treatment plan for your postpartum depression, then this is the first step.

[Related post Self Care Tips for Battling Postpartum Depression]

Once your treatment plan is in place, don’t deviate from it – even if you start to feel better.

If you never initially sought treatment for your postpartum depression but feel like it is under control – it is still worth seeing a doctor, therapist, counselor or other health professional to discuss your options should you experience a relapse of symptoms.

Better Help can help you find a therapist near you.  Visit: https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/therapy/how-do-i-find-a-therapist-near-me/

Is your treatment plan safe for pregnancy and/or breastfeeding?
Find out more

Many women avoid pharmaceutical treatments because they want to

continue breastfeeding (myself included) and most women avoid pharmaceuticals during pregnancy due to the lack of testing.

[Read about how I chose to breastfeed instead of starting anti-depressants.]

So if your normal treatment plan includes anti-depressants then you may need to create a back-up plan.

There are many other safe and natural treatment options available can help to reduce some of the guilt that so often affects mothers who give up breastfeeding in order to take anti-depressants.

[Read my review of the End Your Depression Treatment Plan]


Eliminate Triggers

In the post How to Avoid a Postpartum Depression Relapse I list off some common triggers and how they cause symptoms to reappear long after treatment has begun.

Before adding a new baby to the family, it’s worth considering what triggers your postpartum depression symptoms and trying your best to eliminate them ahead of time.

Financial or marital problems should be worked out in order to avoid added stress.  Illnesses, chronic pain, nutrient deficiencies and the overall state of your health should be addressed.

While many triggers will be unavoidable, if you can be in top mental and physical shape prior to getting pregnant again, then you will be more prepared should postpartum depression strike again.

Read the full list of triggers here

Document Your Feelings

Writing down everything you’ve gone through can help you to remember what your experience was like at a later date.  Sometimes the things we feel in the heat in the moment can easily be sorted out when our mind is clearer.

If you wrote down any of your thoughts or feelings in a journal of some sort during your first round of postpartum depression, then you should take some time to re-read those entries prior to have another baby and see if they give you some insight.

If you do end up struggling with postpartum depression again after another baby, then document your feelings again so that you can compare both experiences and see if there is a common factor or trigger that you can work on.

You can download this free printable PDF to help you document your journey:

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Speak Up

Can you relate to these reasons?

I know, I know, I’m always talking about how women need to speak up about postpartum depression… but it really makes all the difference!

There are so many reasons why we keep silent about postpartum depression but if we stand any chance of defeating it and avoiding it again, then people need to KNOW about it.

The more we talk about it, the less taboo it becomes.  We need to stop living in the shadow of postpartum depression – it’s the only way we can eliminate it’s power over us.

If you’re thinking about having another baby after postpartum depression, then everyone in your life should already know about your previous battle with postpartum depression.  It shouldn’t be a shameful secret, but rather a badge of honor.

Tell them what you need

In addition to your loved ones, your doctor or midwife should know that you suffered from postpartum depression with a previous baby if they don’t already.

Knowing that you have a support system already in place in the event that you suffer the same unfortunate fate again, will help you to prepare for having another baby after postpartum depression.

Make sure you are specific about the kind of help you will need.  See this list if you need help figuring it out [14 Ways to Help a Mother with Postpartum Depression]


Make Sure You’re Ready

Why do you want another baby?  Is it because you’ve always dreamed of having more?  Do you feel like you need to provide a sibling for your child to grow up with?  Does your spouse or partner want another baby?  Do you feel your biological clock ticking?

I’m not saying that any of these reasons are wrong reasons to have a child, as long as it’s what you really want.

If you feel pressured in any way to have another baby, it might be time to do a little soul searching and think carefully if the time is right.

I can give you thousands of tips on how to prepare for another baby after postpartum depression, but unless you are ready – none of them will help.

How to prepare for another baby after postpartum depression
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Become a Warrior

Speaking up is only the first step to battling postpartum depression.  If it has affected your life – don’t let it get away so easily.  The best way to fight against postpartum depression is to take a stand and help destroy the stigma that surrounds it.

Research postpartum depression and other maternal mental health conditions:

Postpartum Support International

WebMD Postpartum Depression Health Center

Reference.com Postpartum Depression Articles 

Donate to Postpartum Support International 

Participate in this free Postpartum Depression Research Study to help determine the genetic link.

Join postpartum depression support groups on Facebook or an online forum

Tell your postpartum depression story

The more you know about, and are involved with, the postpartum depression community, the better you will be at defeating at.


The truth is, if you’ve suffered from postpartum depression before, the chances of suffering from it again are high.  While you may not be able to avoid postpartum depression the second time around, being prepared and educated will help you handle the symptoms and know when and where to turn for help.

How to prepare for another baby after postpartum depression

How to prepare for another baby after postpartum depression

How to Prepare for Another Baby After Postpartum Depression

14 Ways to Help a Mother With Postpartum Depression

If a woman in your life has recently given birth then there’s a 1 in 5 chance they are struggling with postpartum depression.

It might be your partner, daughter, sister or friend but no matter who they are to you, it’s normal to feel helpless seeing them in pain.  It can be even more discouraging when you try to help them and they shut you out.  But don’t be offended, mental illness is a tricky situation and displays in many different ways.

From a mother who has battled it first hand, here are a few tips that might help you understand her better and be able to provide the right type of support.

14 Ways to Help a Mother with Postpartum Depression 14 Ways to Help a Mother with Postpartum Depression

*This post contains affiliate links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust.

1. know the symptoms

It’s very common for a mother to be in denial about their postpartum depression at first.  Even if she does have her suspicions, it’s unlikely that she will admit it out loud.  This is why it’s important to recognize the symptoms in someone else so that, even if she doesn’t want to talk about it, you can be there to support her.

Resources:

Parenting Pod
Beyond Depression: Anxiety, Psychosis and Other Mental Disorders of Pregnancy and Postpartum
PostpartumDepression.org
Lots of useful information including a PPD Quiz
Logo for WebMD
Symptoms of Postpartum Depression
The Symptoms of Postpartum Depression and Anxiety -PostpartumProgress.com
Great detailed explanations of the symptoms

2. believe her

There is a lot of stigma around postpartum depression and many people still don’t believe it’s a real disease.  If she does open up to you about having postpartum depression – believe that her pain is real.  She is not being overly dramatic.  She is not “just tired.” Motherhood is overwhelming in general and it will be for a very long time but postpartum depression is different – it’s uncontrollable.

It can be really hard to tell the difference

3. help her get some rest

Sleep deprivation can aggravate postpartum depression but postpartum depression can cause insomnia so it’s a lose-lose situation.  Do whatever you can to help her rest.  If she cannot sleep at night, then make sure she gets frequent, short naps in throughout the day.

With a new baby, it’s natural and understandable to be sleep deprived.  If you’re having a lot of difficulty getting baby to sleep, consider hiring a sleep training expert.

But if baby is sleeping through the night and mom isn’t, then there’s definitely something wrong. 

6 Ways to Make Sleep Training a Positive Experience
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4. don’t tell her things could be worse

It’s natural to want to tell her stories about someone else who had it worse in the hopes of making her feel better but it will have the opposite effect.  Instead of being thankful that she isn’t having suicidal thoughts, she might see her pain as insignificant and feel guilty for having such a difficult time when others are going through “things that are worse.”

It’s still important to make sure that she knows she isn’t alone – as long as she knows that debilitating pain from postpartum depression comes in all forms.

Postpartum Depression Blog Posts
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5. don’t try to explain why

It’s not her fault. But she will try to blame herself anyway.  Trying to find a reason why this has happened can inadvertently put more guilt on her.

Yes, she’s tired, yes, breastfeeding is hard, yes, labor was intense but those are not the reasons why she has postpartum depression.  If labor and recovery were a breeze, baby was nursing fine and sleeping well she could STILL have it.

Knowing that postpartum depression does not discriminate and there was nothing she could have done to avoid it will relieve some of her guilt.

Encourage her to take part in the free genetic research study to help determine the root cause of postpartum depression.

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6. keep it on the down low

For some reason, having a mental illness is embarrassing.  The last thing she wants is everyone at your office knowing about her postpartum depression and offering to help.  She will be mortified if someone she barely knows asks her how she’s feeling, no matter how good their intentions might be.

The day will come when she will openly want to talk about it but it should be her who decides when that is.

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7. send her a text message but don’t expect a reply right away

Don’t expect her to answer the phone when you call.  Better yet, don’t phone her.  For someone with postpartum depression, their emotions change throughout the day without warning.  Chances are, when you want to talk, won’t be when she wants to talk and vice versa.  A text message is a great way to check in and see how she’s doing while allowing her to reply when SHE feels up to it.  You can even write something like “you don’t have to reply right away – whenever you feel like talking just text me.”

Postpartum Depression Gift Guide

8. don’t force her to socialize

And don’t be offended if she doesn’t want to see you.  She’s not trying to keep the baby all to herself.  Going out or hosting visitors means putting on a smile and talking to people when all she wants to do is be alone.  Even her inner circle can be extremely irritating.  Let her know that she can take all the time she needs and that you will be there for her when she’s ready.

Download this FREE printable PDF workbook for her to use as a safe place to write down her thoughts and feelings.
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9. cook food for her

Appetite changes are a major symptom of postpartum depression.  She will either not want to eat anything at all or not be able to stop eating. Having a fridge stocked with healthy ready-to-eat food will help her get the calories and nutrition she so desperately needs (especially if she’s breastfeeding) without all the added exhaustion of having to prepare it.


10. clean the house but don’t make a big deal about it

Moms are infamous for not asking for help.  Do it while she’s napping so she can’t tell you to stop.  Cleaning will be the last thing on her mind but looking around at piles of laundry, overflowing garbages or dishes in the sink will cause her more anxiety. It’s one thing to tell her not to worry about the cleaning, it’s another to make the clutter magically disappear.

If you notice that she starts to become obsessed about cleaning, she could be suffering from Postpartum Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  Check out Jordan’s story to see if it relates.

Postpartum Depression, Anxiety and OCD
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11. get up with her in the middle of the night

If she’s breastfeeding, you may feel like there’s no point in getting up for night time feedings.  But those dark, lonely hours can be the scariest times for a mother with postpartum depression.  If for no other reason than to keep her company – get up with her. She may tell you that she’s OK and to go back to bed but at least get up and check on her – check if she needs anything, rub her feet or her back while she nurses.

Breastfeeding with Postpartum Depression
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12. help her find strangers to talk to

Don’t try to force her to talk to you about her feelings.  It’s much easier to talk to strangers who understand and won’t judge her and who she may never see or talk to again.  She can be completely honest and vulnerable without having to worry about hurting someone’s feelings or having them take things the wrong way.

Whether it’s an online forum, support group or a therapist – she will be much more comfortable talking to someone who has been in her position before and/or who has experience to share.

The Postpartum Support International’s Helpline is always available.

postpartum depression Facebook groups

Postpartum Support International
Momma’s Postpartum Depression Support Group
Postpartum Anxiety Support Group
Postpartum Depression Awareness

13. take pictures of her

Not happy, dressed up, perfectly posed pictures but real pictures.  Pictures of her nursing in her pajamas.  Pictures of her holding or sleeping beside the baby.  Pictures of her when she hasn’t showered in 3 days and has dried breast milk all over her shirt.  Take pictures of her crying.  Aim for honest pictures of her so that she can look back at them when she is better and remember this part of her life.

Reassure her that you will never show them to anyone else or post them anywhere, they are only for her.

Prenatal & Postpartum Depression - Vanessa's Story
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14. wait it out

Don’t try to rush her recovery. Helping her find the right path to recovery is important but don’t keep asking if she’s feeling better yet. If she has a good day, don’t assume she’s past the worst of it.

Know that there is no cure for mental illness, only treatment options to keep it under control.  

She may go years without an episode, only to have it triggered by stress or sleep deprivation or something else entirely.  Many women will battle postpartum depression for years, if not forever, so if you’re in this with her – prepare to go the lengths for her.

A relapse is entirely possible

For more information, check out this post: How long does Postpartum Depression Last? Accelerate Your Recovery!


Postpartum depression is one of the most under-diagnosed conditions in North America for a reason.  Women, moms in particular, pride themselves in being able to handle it all and admitting that they are struggling or need help is one of the biggest hurdles to overcome.  While these tips may help the woman in your life open up to you, nothing is ever for certain when it comes to postpartum depression and many women experience it in different ways.  If all else fail – love her and support her and don’t ever give up on her.


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