Sara’s Postpartum Depression Story

This story about postpartum depression following a premature birth was submitted by Sara from Growing as a Mom.

Premature deliveries can be incredibly stressful on new moms.  In addition to healing from labor, new moms now have to worry about a baby with additional needs, and often miss out on precious bonding time in the early stages.

Read Sara’s story of how she had a difficult time adjusting to life with a new baby.  She also includes some helpful tips and advice for managing postpartum depression.

Sara's Postpartum Depression Story: Premature Birth

*This post may contain affiliate links*

*This is a guest post and all opinions are those of the author and not necessarily those of Due to the nature of the topic, this post may contain graphic details that some may find disturbing.

The best way I can describe depression and anxiety disorder is like a dark, black, sadness filled hole where the light at the top represents everything your life is not. You keep climbing yet sinking deeper and deeper…. until you think this new way of living in this dark hole is just normal.

I woke up one morning and thought to myself “why even get out of bed? Why even try? I suck at being a mom, I suck at life and want to crawl into a hole somewhere and just sleep.”

The days were monotonous, my energy level was so low. I wasn’t eating, I was barely showering and full days went by where I did not get any fresh air. I started to have really bad anxiety.

Because of my son’s labor and delivery, I had constant panic about his well being. I also had no clue what I was doing as mom despite constant googling on the matter. Every sound he made, every small cry, was like a dagger straight to the heart. I couldn’t possibly protect him from everything, therefore something awful will inevitably happen to him so why even wait for that to happen? If anything happened to my son I would just kill myself.

I was blessed to have my amazing and supportive husband, but had no one else. I tried to hide my depression and anxiety from my husband, knowing he was tired too.

My son was premature and was taken to sick kids hospital right after birth. This traumatic experience would take a year to begin healing from. Plus, because of this separation, breast feeding was awful. My milk wouldn’t come in plus the hospital staff already had Titus used to bottle feeding. My physical condition was a nightmare. After my 40 stitches I was confined to a wheelchair for 4 days after delivery. I felt useless, exhausted and overwhelmingly sad that my son had to go through this. I could not look at him connected to his IV without completely breaking down.

After 5 days my husband and I got the amazing news that Titus could come home. We were over the moon. We put his tiny body in his huge car seat and set off.

Once we got home, reality set in. No nurses to help with feeding. No supervision so my husband and I could sleep. Titus was one of those perfect angels that only slept in 40 minute stints. We continued to struggle to breast feed. Usually ending in both of us crying while my husband went to warm up a bottle. Baby crying, breast feed attempt, bottle feeding, diaper change, more breast pump, baby crying, etc. etc. went on for weeks.

Sleep deprivation, poor appetite, stress and worry and constant “being on” takes it’s toll. For some becoming a new mom may come easier than others (I have yet to meet a mom that would say that…) but for me and many other moms it was shockingly unexpected how hard becoming a mom would be.

Then one day I broke. I laid on the couch, no tears, no drama in my voice, just certainty. I told my husband I was done living and wanted to die. I was finished. The world I lived in was dark and my son deserved so much better than me. I, as a person, did not matter anymore.

Postpartum Depression Guest Post Series 2018: Read & Submit a postpartum depression story

How Postpartum Depression Started

This is just life now. It’s brutally difficult and joy is non existent. The most important thing you can do for yourself and your family? Women with postpartum depression need help. This article is here to assist you in overcoming depression and anxiety.

I always thought depression and anxiety were a state of mind. Until I got postpartum depression after the birth of my son, Titus. I figured the pre-pregnancy Sara could use some chill out techniques and some self help books, but the post pregnancy me had a full blown mental imbalance.

I want to tell you that PPD is real, common and very, very hard to get out of.

Being a new mom, you have just been through the long, grueling experience of pregnancy. You probably haven’t slept well the past few months. You probably want your body back by now. You probably want to be able to take an Advil once in awhile! After the baby is born, you are thrown into this new life that is so unlike the baby books and anything on TV.

The Baby Blues vs Postpartum Depression vs No Postpartum Mood Disorder

Help for Postpartum Depression

I wanted to create this step by step guide on how to get out of the stay at home mom depression slump. You are an amazing woman, and you give 100% of yourself everyday. If your battery is constantly running on empty or your entire day revolves around everyone and everything but yourself, read this.

1. Super Mom

This is a mom that takes on every task and challenge at full throttle, does not stop to rest or eat or take care of herself. To the outside world she is remarkable, but she is tired, worn out and has lost her identity outside of being a mom. This kind of mom puts her all in to her role as a parent, but at what cost?

2. Momma Bear

Momma Bear refers to a mom that has probably experienced some sort of trauma during pregnancy or labor and delivery. Maybe a preexisting anxiety disorder was intensified by her new role as a mom. She thinks she needs to hang on to all aspects of her children’s lives with a steel grip. No one can take care of her children as good as she can and she worries constantly about their well being even in a safe setting.

3. The Postpartum Depression Mom

Again this probably started with trauma during pregnancy or the first year as a new mom. This mom never got the time to recover, and has been running on auto pilot ever since. The thought of being away from her kids for an hour terrifies her because outside of them, she wouldn’t know what to do with herself.

Can You Relate?

If you have experienced anything similar to the SuperMom, the Momma Bear or the Postpartum Depression Mom, it doesn’t have to be this way. You can be a mom and an individual at the same time!

Self Care Tips for Battling PPD

How To Find “You” Again

Here is a list to build yourself back up to the person that enjoys life and knows how to exist outside of her role as a mom.

1. Take the depression and anxiety test linked here.

If you score high, continue to follow the steps listed in my Depression Help article. Do not skip this step. After you have completed those steps, come back to this guide. If you did not score high, keep reading.

2. Get Your House Organized

I know this is a big task. I want you to put other outside commitments aside for now and spend nap time or the evening tidying and organizing your surroundings.

I want you to watch this video here:  Tips for Living Simply & Minimalism with Kids

Declutter and get your house feeling fresher. Take your time and remember to eat and stay hydrated.

3. Find Reliable Child Care

If you do not already have a daycare or babysitter that your child can visit, set this up now. If you feel you cannot afford this, try enlisting a friend or family member. We are talking about ONE day to start.

Look on, Google, a local Daycare, talk to other moms about who they use. Set this up, do a tour with your child and put a date on the calendar. ONE day. If you identified with any of the 3 Mom terms you saw above, remember that the fear and panic at the thought of your child being at daycare is the ‘Mom term’ talking.

4. Have A Date… With Yourself

Now that you have completed the steps in the depression checklist (if needed) and your house has been ‘simplified’, send that kid to daycare for the day. I want you to give yourself a makeover.

Make a coffee, drink it while you do your nails. Have a shower, shave and apply a homemade hair mask. While the hair mask is setting, sit in front of the mirror. Pluck those brows, moisturize and put on perfume. Now rinse that hair mask and do your makeup. Get dressed in normal clothes. Do your hair.

Now take yourself out of the house somewhere that would be nice without the kids. DO NOT run an errand. Go shopping, go for a walk. Smile at everyone you see.

The point is that YOU did it. You are a person in this world, and a very important one.

5. Go to a Playgroup

If you have an early learning center around, go there. If not, look in to churches. Many of them have an open to the public playgroup once a week.

When you get there, smile at the other moms. Even moms that look put together may feel just like you underneath that perfectly curled hair. Talk to them. Maybe look for the mom that is alone just playing with her child. Give her a compliment and start a conversation. Keep at this. The point is to get out in the Mom community.

When I was suffering with Postpartum Depression, someone gave me this advice. They said to take baby to a playgroup, get out there in the world. I was terrified. I got to the playgroup and sat down a midst the circle of other parents. I saw them all smiling and playing with their kids. Almost immediately the walls started closing in on me. I don’t fit in here! They all look happy…what am I doing wrong? I figured they were all judging how terrible I was at this mom thing, I grabbed my baby and I ran out to my car crying.

It is OK to be scared. It is not OK to isolate yourself. I promise you, those other moms don’t care what you’re wearing or how big those bags are under your eyes. And if your baby starts causing a fuss, they will think you are brave and admire your ability to deal with it.

6. Find a Sitter

Take that babysitter you found earlier and go for dinner. If you are a single mom, ask a friend. On this date night, do not look at your phone for babysitter updates on whether your child finished their grilled cheese or made a poopy. Act silly, laugh, breath, and let yourself relax.

Does it say anywhere in anything you have read that Moms should be slaves at home and are not allowed to have fun? No. Do not feel guilty getting a babysitter. Even for an hour. Get out there!

End Your Depression Book

How is it going so far?

Let’s recap. You have identified what type of mom troubles you are suffering from with the defined list of 3 Mom terms. You have checked your mental health with a professional if you are suffering from depression and anxiety. Your house is in better shape, you have cleaned yourself up, and you are starting to venture out of the house without your kids.

Great work! I am so proud of you!

Remember to stay patient. You probably lost yourself somewhere between pregnancy and the toddler years. That’s a long time! You are not going to feel better after one day. Keep going….

7. Find a Passion

Brainstorm ideas you can be passionate about outside of your kids and partner. Something just for you.

Here are some of my favorites:


walking with headphones and music or audio book

blogging or journaling


making gifts for other people like scrapbooks or crafts

making essential oil products like lotions and bath bombs


8. Take the Time

Implement an hour a day to do your hobby. Maybe you get up an hour earlier (yuck!) or use nap time. The dishes aren’t going anywhere and blind yourself to any window smudges or dust you may see. Don’t be SuperMom!

9. Daily Practices to Battle PPD

Avoid isolation. If you feel like you do not want to leave the house, that’s OK for now. But Face-time, call a friend, join a mom forum, just interact with other humans.

Stay hydrated. It is easy to neglect yourself with a newborn demanding your attention. Set an alarm on your phone to remind you to drink a glass of water every 2 hours throughout the day.

Work on your hygiene. When baby is sleeping, or in the swing, or husband is home, etc. brush your teeth, wash your face, better yet…have a shower! Blow dry your hair and get dressed. Now look in the mirror and congratulate yourself on how well you clean up!

Eat something. Some good advice out there is during your pregnancy to freeze already made meals for when you don’t want to cook or don’t have the time. Now is the time to dig through that freezer. PPD may make you feel not hungry, but find a way to nourish your body. Sip on a smoothie, order pizza, whatever! Just eat.

Do some skin to skin with your baby. Turn on a good TV series and strip off those clothes. Grab baby and a blanket and snuggle up chest to chest. Get those love vibes flowing and hopefully you can both drift off to sleep in each others arms.

10. Balance Your Life

I want you to picture yourself as a computer hard drive. Every computer has a hard drive filled with programs, software, internal memory, etc. If you were to make up a pie graph of this hard drive and the things that are taking up space.

Sara's Postpartum Depression Story

Now I want you to be that hard drive. Make a pie chart of all the things that take up “You” on a daily basis. Your task now is to find your balance. What is taking up too much of your time and what should probably take up more. Is cleaning taking up a lot of space but personal hygiene or self care is at a 2%?

Sara's Postpartum Depression Story

Tweak this pie graph and play with the numbers until it works in your favor. Now print it and put it somewhere you will see it everyday. Work towards this goal because you matter so much.

11. Do You Need Medication?

Do not be afraid of medication. If part of your doctors plan of attack for PPD is to start you on an anti-depressant, it may just be exactly what you need. After having been on birth control for a long time, then an anti-depressant in my 20’s, then through the hormonal changes of pregnancy…my brain chemistry was so out of whack that I needed medication. I was not going to come out of depression without it. My medication saved my life and I do not regret starting it one bit.

Sara | Growing As A Mom
Sara | Growing As A Mom

Being a mom is the hardest job I have ever had. It took me 2 years to find myself again after the birth of my son.

Remember, this is an ongoing process. Emulate for your children how important loving yourself is. No one benefits from a depressed mother.

Invest in yourself and I promise you will be glad you did.


[Read more from Sara at]

If you have a postpartum depression story to share, Running in Triangles wants to help.

Submit a your postpartum depression story to
Click here for more information

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 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.

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:

Click to download!

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

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 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

Kara’s Postpartum Depression Story

Here is a heartfelt and emotional postpartum depression story by Kara Wellman of Moms Gone Outdoors.

Kara’s struggle will resonate with a lot of young mothers who never expected postpartum depression to happen to them.  She didn’t start getting better until she decided to take control and put effort into her treatment, finally finding something that worked for her.

Accepting and acknowledging postpartum depression is the first step on a long road to recovery.

I hope you are inspired by Kara’s story…

A guest post by Kara Wellman of

*This post may contain affiliate links* *This is a guest post and all opinions are those of the author and not necessarily those of Due to the nature of the topic, this post may contain graphic details that some may find disturbing.

My story of postpartum depression started in a quiet hospital room, early on a Thursday afternoon in May. I was twenty years old and had just finished my last final of the semester the morning before. It was 2:24 pm when they handed her soft, tiny body up to me. I had barely felt the labor, and I barely felt anything as she rested on my chest.

I remember thinking that I should be crying, like all the beautiful women captured in the first moments of motherhood by birth photographers. I didn’t have one those. I just had my husband to one side, my mother to the other, and my 17-year-old sister hiding behind her iPad since attending the birth was just barely better than a day stuck in school.

It’s not to say that I didn’t love her then. I mean, she pooped all over my hand and I didn’t even care. If you knew me, you’d understand how big of a deal that is. I loved her, but I was young. I was still trying to fathom the gravity of what just happened.

As all my friends were gearing up for a summer of secret night-drinking and lazy river-beach days, I was learning how to breast feed and budgeting diapers out of our paychecks. They had their lives in front of them, and I had my daughter’s in front of me.

The PPD was something that snuck up.

I didn’t have a history of mental illness, and that fact made it very difficult to recognize the symptoms. The first time I talked to a doctor was when she was six months old. I had what I thought was a panic attack during our road-trip to see my husband’s family in Montana. I was given an anti-anxiety med to take as I needed. I think I only ever took three pills from that bottle.

Later, I’d find out that what I experienced then, was nothing compared to what I’d let myself go through in the future.

As life moved on and my beautiful little girl grew, so much of my life crashed down around me. I’m a perfectionist by nature, which I fully believe was one of the biggest contributing factors.

I felt I needed to be super-human, super-mom, super-student, super-everything.

At one point, I maintained a 4.0 in college as an English major, worked three part-time jobs, did all the cooking and cleaning, and raised my daughter.

But, my credit score was plummeting as I charged my over-expensive organic grocery bills and filled my closet with clothes just because getting a package in the mail gave me a joyous rush.

My weight jumped up and down as I’d binge for a few weeks, then starve myself for others.

My marriage started to crumble, as my husband didn’t understand why I was so upset all the time and was preoccupied with the recent death of his mother.  I even told him I didn’t love him anymore. I realized later that it wasn’t that I didn’t love him, but that I didn’t feel anything anymore.

we often push away the ones we need the most

I went to the doctor on and off. I went to a counselor on and off. I took different medications. I tried different forms of birth control. Nothing changed. I’d have high-functioning anxiety during the semester and crash into depression during every break.

It got to the point where I held a knife blade to my wrists after one grueling week of work, and bills, and papers due. I pressed lightly as tears streamed down my face, chest heaving. It was the lowest I had ever felt. It was about 3:45 in the afternoon. I had to pick up my daughter from daycare at 4. It was the only thing that made me fold the knife back, and set it on the table.
I held her extra close that night. I knew I needed to do something to help myself. If not for me at that point, then for her.

I went to a new doctor and was given another brand of medication. I also started to put effort into researching different options. I didn’t want to be on a daily medication forever, so I started a yoga practice and promised myself I would get outside to walk more.

I didn’t feel much of a change until we went on another road trip the following summer— this time to the Oregon coast and through Montana on our way home. We hiked every day, by the ocean, through tall pine forests, and to waterfalls hidden in the mountains.

I was exhausted the end of every day, but I felt happy. It was a genuine happiness that I hadn’t felt in years. I knew I had found my saving grace.

The mountains, rivers, plains, and trees. They were what I needed. Each step I took on those days brought me closer to the point of healing. While I will never assume what worked for me will work for everyone, nor that getting outside is all that is needed to heal a major depressive disorder, I know it can help. And I think it can help everyone. Bathing in the glory of nature can help start the healing processes.

I’m 24 now. In September, I gave birth to my second daughter. I’m still young, but this labor, I felt everything—every moment, every pain, every burn. I cried as she laid her head on my chest, with her dark eyes looking up at me.

I have every second since I decided to put that knife down to thank for that quiet, beautiful moment with her. I can’t say that PPD won’t recur this time around, but never again will I let it try to take my life. My girls, my husband, and I have too many trails left to see.

[Read more from Kara at]

If you have a postpartum depression story to share, Running in Triangles wants to help.

Submit a your postpartum depression story to
Click here for more information

Self-Care Tips for Battling Postpartum Depression

Taking time for themselves is something that all moms need to do but practicing a self-care routine is essential to treating postpartum depression.

Self-care doesn’t always need to consist of spa days or alone time.  While different things appeal to different women and personalities – there are some simple, basic, everyday tasks that can make a huge difference to one’s mood and patience level.

In the aftermath of postpartum depression, the key to keeping symptoms under control is to stay one step ahead of them, otherwise it’s very easy to drown in the shuffle of everyday motherhood.

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

**Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.

What is self-care?

It’s all the things you need to do to take care of YOU.  Self-care is a huge topic among parents, especially SAHMs.  Because how the heck are you supposed to take care of yourself AND the tiny humans who demand so much of your attention?

The nature of a parent is always to put their children first and therefore, self-care often gets bumped to the bottom of the priority list.  I’m quite guilty of it myself and sometimes life gets SO busy that I don’t even realize how long it’s been since I showered or blow-dried my hair.

If you need some additional help trying to figure out how to fit self-care into your already busy life, you can join this FREE Self-Care Challenge or enroll in the Love Your Life Self-Care e-course from Peace of Mom.


When to do self-care

Start your own self care journey when you buy The Self Care Journey ebook & Journal and find some time for you in the chaos of motherhood!
Take the Self Care Journey from Mommy Takes 5

Trying to fit a self-care routine into an already packed day is impossible, I know.  There are never, nor will there ever be, enough minutes in the day to get everything accomplished.

This means you’re going to have to sacrifice something.  It could be sleep (sleep? what’s that?), it could be that extra time with your kids before bed, it could be the gourmet dinner you cook every night.

Or perhaps there is a way to work your self-care routine into your existing routine with the kids.  There’s no rule that says self-care must equal alone time so feel free to involve your kids or partner.

The Self Care Journey e-book from Mommy Takes 5 can help you figure out what routine works best for you! 

Whatever you need to do, do it and make time for you.

Why to do self-care

During my own battle with postpartum depression – I could never look at myself in the mirror.  I was embarrassed and ashamed of the pile of muck I had become.

I had a ghastly image of myself in my head and I feared that if I looked at myself in the mirror I would realize it had come true.  The few times I did make eye contact with myself, I immediately broke into tears because I absolutely hated myself and standing in front of the mirror meant coming face to face with my worst enemy.

The Baby Blues vs Postpartum Depression vs No Postpartum Mood Disorder
This is what it felt like for me

But I wasn’t afraid to look at myself when I had a little makeup on.  When I was showered and my hair was done and I was in decent clothes – for a moment, I forgot about that pile of muck.  This was someone else I was looking at, talking to, admiring in the mirror.  That pile of muck was still there but I didn’t have to look at her.  I didn’t have to face her and all the sadness she brought with her.

So while some might consider self-care a type of vanity, I felt that it was the only way for me to escape the rut I was in.

Developing a good self-care routine is extremely important both during your battle with postpartum depression after you’ve started treatments to reduce the chance of a relapse.

How to avoid a postpartum depression relapse
Find out more

Start with the basics

Brush your teeth

So simple right?  Not when you’re awoken by the loud screams of children at 7 am.  You rush out of bed to see what’s happening and deal with whatever new fiasco they’ve created.  And then coffee is the first thought on your mind.  You’ll brush after coffee – that makes sense, right?  Then you won’t have coffee breath!  Smart woman!

Except you never, ever, finish that cup of coffee… 

It sits there getting cold.  Maybe you walk by once or twice and stick it in the microwave to heat it up and then forget about it there.  Before you know it the hubby is home from work and for some reason he’s not going in for that smooch…

Take the shower!

There are so many days when this feels like an impossible feat.  It takes more than a few minutes and we all know what kind of trouble kids can get into in that time.

But putting it off means you’re putting yourself off, and self-care is all about putting yourself FIRST!  So take the shower!

If it means putting on a tv show for them, or letting them use the tablet while they sit on the bathroom floor – then do it.  If all else fails – take them in with you!  I’ve brought my babies into the shower with me and sat them in the Bumbo chair… they loved it!

If the thought of taking a shower feels like the last thing you want to do after an extremely long day, then it’s what you need most.  Trust me and just TAKE THE SHOWER!!!

Change your clothes

Changing from flannel pajama pants into black leggings counts.  Don’t stay in your pajamas all day even if they’re the comfiest thing on earth and you’re not going anywhere anyway.  I’ve gone so far as to use the excuse that I don’t want to make more laundry for myself.

But even if you wear the same “daytime” clothes for a week – change out of your pajamas.  The act of changing your clothes – even if they are from one pair of sweatpants to another, is enough to trick your brain into thinking you’ve done something productive.

Do your hair & makeup

This one is more important to some than others.  I’ve never been a “full face makeup” type of person.  (I use three things makeup-wise everyday – concealer, bronzer & eyebrows). 

If you have a particular “problem area” that makes you self-conscious then take care of that so you can feel confident enough to face the world.

I also recently chopped my waist-length hair into a bob, something I had been considering dreading doing for years.  It’s much less maintenance now, which means I actually do it everyday, and the change in style has given me a renewed confidence.

End Your Depression Book

Add in some extras

Give yourself a pep talk

parenting mantras
Kate @ offers inspirational free printable posters

Every time I start to feel overwhelmed, a little “you can do this” under my breath reminds me that I need to stay positive.  It is SO easy to lose that motivation when you are battling postpartum depression because you are in a constant state of darkness.  Find some way to remind yourself to stay in the light. 

Write a positive message on your bathroom mirror in dry erase marker and change it up every few days/weeks.

Read a book on thinking positive.

Print off some motivational posters and hang them up all over your house.

 Download these free printable positive affirmation cards from Lauren at 

Follow some of these Instagram accounts that share motivational messages so that when you’re scrolling away on social media you get a little pick me up!


Take your vitamins

Sufferers of postpartum depression are infamous for their terrible eating habits – either not enough or too much.  And because of that, we often end up with all kinds of vitamin deficiencies which can have a huge effect on our mental health.  So if you’re not able to eat as healthy as you should, you should be taking supplements in order to get your levels back up to where they should be.

Magnesium is what worked wonders for me.  I recommend this drink, or this supplement and I recently came across this DIY recipe for magnesium body butter that would fit perfectly into a self-care routine.

Vitamin D – get outside in the sun!  Not only does 20 minutes in the sunshine top up your Vitamin D levels but the fresh air does wonders for your soul.

Vitamin B Complex – to make sure you’re getting the right amount of nutrition despite your messed up appetite.

Here’s an article on that has more details on the best herbal and vitamin supplements to treat postpartum depression.

Essential Oils

essential oils for depression

I am a very new user of essential oils but I am quickly becoming addicted.  I can’t say for certain that they “cure” anything but if you find a blend that you enjoy, it can have an extremely calming effect.

There are so many different ways to use essential oils and I plan to do much more research on them in the treatment of postpartum depression (which I will share, of course).  

What I can tell you right now is that quality makes all the difference so even though it might seem like splurge, you get what you pay for.

Get more info from the North American Essential Oil & Aromatherapy Experts.

An easy way to experience the benefits of essential oils all day long AND feel beautiful doing it is to use them on some diffuser jewelry.  
I absolutely LOVE this stylish diffuser jewelry line from Gaia Gypsy Strands


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Find ONE thing

And it doesn’t have to be a BIG thing.  A spa day is great but so is binge watching Netflix.  Everyone is different and so are the things that make us happy.

Focus on ONE extra activity that makes you feel happy and relaxed and ONE thing only.  As moms we spend most of our days multi-tasking, and there is so much pressure to become a mom who can bake and sew and do crafts and plan parties (thanks a lot, Pinterest) and it becomes overwhelming and exhausting.

Your self-care routine should consist of something that makes you feel happy and relaxed afterwards.  It doesn’t have to be productive and you don’t need to justify it.  You just need to do it.

Write it down

Keeping a journal of your thoughts can be hugely therapeutic for postpartum depression survivors in many different ways.  Not only is the act of writing out your thoughts and feelings a way to release them, but it also helps you keep track of whether they are getting better or worse.

[If you need more reasons, check out this post from Happy Mom Brain: Why You Need to Write About Mental Health]

Click HERE to get this free printable workbook that can help you document your journey through postpartum depression.
Click to download!

Whatever self-care routine you end up carving out for yourself, make sure that you stick to it in order to prevent relapses.

Communicate with your partner about how important these things are for your mental health so that they can support you. 

And don’t ever feel guilty about putting yourself first because if mom is happy, then the entire household is happy. 

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Self Care Tips for Battling Postpartum Depression