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

How to Avoid a Postpartum Depression Relapse

Postpartum depression isn’t a matter solely for mothers of newborn babies.  It’s a lifelong struggle.  Even with treatment, a postpartum depression relapse can happen years after the sleep deprivation and breastfeeding days are over.

The best way to describe it is to imagine that a depression gene is lurking somewhere within you.  In some people, it is never triggered and lays dormant their entire life.  In others, it’s triggered during childhood or puberty, from a traumatic event, or by pregnancy and childbirth.

The problem is, once it’s triggered, it’s more likely to keep happening.

Treatment can manage the symptoms and controlling specific triggers can help to avoid relapses.  But it’s not something that is ever cured, and it will never go away because it was always there to begin with.  It can only be controlled.

[This article from Harvard Health goes into great detail about what causes depression and relapses.]

Here are some tips to help you avoid a postpartum depression relapse.

how to avoid a postpartum depression relapse
*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.

How to avoid a postpartum depression relapse How to avoid a postpartum depression relapse

Identify your triggers

Find out what factors tend to make you feel more depressed.  Keeping a journal can help with this.  On days when you are feeling extra sad or anxious – write down things you’ve done recently, how you were feeling, conversations you had, medications you’ve been taking, what the weather was like, etc.  Postpartum depression triggers are different for everyone.

10 common triggers:

  1. Pain/Illness
  2. Stress
  3. Guilt
  4. Sleep Deprivation
  5. Hormonal Imbalances
  6. Grief/Loss
  7. Change
  8. Anniversaries/Birthdays/Special Events
  9. Marriage problems
  10. Bad Memories

You can download this free printable postpartum depression workbook which has a section to document specific triggers.

click to download

Eliminate the problem

I know, it’s easier said than done.  If we could all get rid of pain and stress, then the world would be a better place.  But once you’ve identified your specific trigger(s), your next goal will be to work at ways to fix that issue in your life.

Take care of yourself

Mothers are infamous for not taking proper care of themselves.  Self care is not just a suggestion, it plays a huge role in avoiding a postpartum depression relapse.  Taking time to relieve stress, get enough sleep, eat properly, exercise and meditate will ensure that you stay one step ahead.

Join this FREE Self-Care Challenge from Peace of Mom for a chance to win a $50 Spa Finder Gift Card!

Or try this 30 Day Self-Care Challenge from This Mama Needs Chocolate!

Here are my best self-care tips!


Stick to your treatment plan

Of course you’re going to be feeling great after starting a round of anti-depressants or therapy, but that doesn’t mean it’s done it’s job and now you can stop.  Any changes to your treatment plan should always be discussed with your doctor, don’t assume that you no longer need treatment just because you’ve been free of postpartum depression symptoms for months.

See if this is the right treatment option for you

Find someone to confide in

If you didn’t tell anyone you had postpartum depression the first time it happened, then it’s likely you will also choose to suffer silently in the event of a relapse.  Find someone that you can talk to about your feelings.  It can be someone close to you, a complete stranger or a support group, as long as they will encourage you to speak up and seek help.

It’s important to speak up about PPD

Be proactive

As much as you might try to eliminate stress and other triggers, life still happens and much of it is out of our control.  Try your best to plan ahead for situations that overwhelm you.  If being locked inside the house during the winter months makes you feel dreary, plan a vacation.  If you’re dreading the stress of juggling all the kids during summer vacation, hire someone to help you.  Being prepared for a postpartum depression relapse may even be enough to make you feel like you can handle it, should it hit.

Don’t be discouraged

Sometimes, having a postpartum depression relapse is unavoidable.  It doesn’t mean that you have failed or that you will never get better.  While you may suffer more relapses in the future, each one will be easier to get through as long as you don’t let it get the best of you.

A compilation of posts from bloggers who have bravely told their postpartum depression story
Read stories from other women who have been there

Take away it’s power

As long as your postpartum depression is a secret – it controls you.  If you’re constantly afraid of a relapse happening, then it has power over you.  The only way to take away it’s power is by accepting and acknowledging it.  Tell everyone that you have postpartum depression and that there’s a chance you could suffer a relapse.  Then you won’t have it hanging over your head, and you won’t have to suffer alone.

Find out how I can help you tell your postpartum depression story to the world and take away the power it holds over you.

Remember that it’s not about them

If you didn’t know that a postpartum depression relapse was even possible, then chances are, neither did they.  “They” being your loved ones, your spouse, family or friends – even your own children.  Once you start feeling better, others will assume that you’re cured.  And if you suffer a relapse, you will be reluctant to tell them for fear of disappointing them.  But it’s not about them, it’s about you and your health, and that’s far more important.

So before you even suffer from a relapse, tell your loved ones that it’s possible this could happen.  Ask them to help you eliminate your triggers and watch for symptoms that your postpartum depression is returning.

Don’t feel guilty or selfish because this is your life.  It might be in a mother’s nature to put others before themselves, but when it comes to postpartum depression – you come first.
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Vanessa’s Postpartum Depression Story

My postpartum depression story begins with the pregnancy of my second child.  I had a mild case of the baby blues with my first and, at the time, I was very worried about my mental state.   Little did I know, it was nothing compared to the dark path that is postpartum depression…

*This post may contain affiliate links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I will 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 pregnancy test came back positive shortly after my only sister got engaged.  I was devastated.  Now, I was going to have to stuff my postpartum body into a breastfeeding-friendly bridesmaid dress.  I wouldn’t get to drink and party all night.  It sounds selfish and it was.  But I really wanted that one last hurrah before becoming a mother of two.

I should have been thrilled that I was pregnant again because before conceiving my first child, I miscarried twice.  I grieved for those babies and would have given anything to meet them.  And if I had gotten pregnant after my sister’s wedding, then I would have been thrilled, but…

the timing could not have been worse.

I contemplated terminating the pregnancy but just couldn’t do it.  So I secretly hoped that I would miscarry instead.

For a while, I ignored the pregnancy.  I didn’t count weeks or read books like I had done with my first.  I, once again, suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum, which made me resent the pregnancy even more.  Being so sick meant that I couldn’t take care of my toddler son or cook for my husband.  The guilt started to pile up.  At the end of my first trimester, the baby was thriving and I was sick, dehydrated and depressed.

I sought help for what my doctor described as prenatal depression(depression during pregnancy).   I saw a therapist once a week, but I don’t feel like I got much out of our sessions.  If anything, it was just a safe place to cry for an hour.  When my doctor asked if the sessions helped, I lied and said yes because I didn’t want to be difficult.

Why did I lie?

Somehow I managed to fake smile through the 9 long months.  I chose to deliver at a birth center with a midwife.  I never told them about the prenatal depression.  They were mothers themselves and they thought of birth as beautiful and natural – I didn’t want to be that one pessimistic mother with mental health issues.

My daughter was born in 2 hours and 4 minutes from the start of the first contraction.  I barely made it to the birth center, in fact I was certain I would deliver in the car on the way there.  It was the single, most traumatic experience of my entire life.

Read more about it here.

The first few months after she was born were similar to the 9 months of pregnancy…

I didn’t think too much about it.  I didn’t feel too much about it.  I fed her and changed her and did all the things for her that I needed to do but I didn’t connect with her nor did I feel any desire to. I made sure to keep busy so that I didn’t have to spend too much time with her.  I played with my son while I nursed her and rarely made eye contact with her.

I wasn’t sad, but I wasn’t happy either.  I felt zero emotions when I was with her.

My sister’s wedding came and went and I fake smiled and showed off my beautiful baby girl and put my hand over my heart when everyone told me how blessed I was.

And then, I wasn’t so busy anymore.  And all of the emotions that were locked up over the past few months wanted out.  Instead of feeling nothing – I felt everything – as though I was carrying the world on my shoulders and I couldn’t bear it.

My three month old refused to sleep.

She refused to be put down.

She refused to drink from a bottle.

She cried if anyone touched her, smiled at her or looked in her direction.

She and I were just two miserable beings who cried all day long.

Except when people came to visit.  Then she was fine, and I was fine, and everything was fine.  At least, that’s what we told them…

But when no one else was around, when it was just her and I, crying together… those were the moments I feared the most.  In my exhausted state, my mind would take over think things like:

I should have gone through with that abortion.

Things would be so much better if she never existed.

Would she stop crying if I just threw her out the window?

Maybe I will run away and never came back!

And then I would punish myself for being such a terrible mother. 

I didn’t know that it was postpartum depression.  I truly believed that I was just a bad person.

My husband, who had been there supporting me through all of it, (and feeling helpless I’m sure) finally told me that something wasn’t right.

I couldn’t have done it alone

I spoke to my doctor.  He agreed that it was postpartum depression and advised me that if I was to start anti-depressants, it meant that I would have to stop breastfeeding. [The fact that he gave me a choice in the matter meant he truly had no idea how bad it really was.  If I had actually told him all the things that were going through my mind, he would have demanded that I start anti-depressants immediately.] 

But I had already convinced myself that I was a terrible mother, and stopping breastfeeding just to take some pills was something a terrible mother would do.  So, in an effort to try to do right by my daughter, I chose to keep breastfeeding instead.

When my daughter was 6 months old, my husband and I decided to move 9 hours away from our hometown.  In my right mind, I would never have agreed to the move because I needed the support of our families more than ever.  But in my postpartum depression mind, I wanted to be far away from anyone and everyone.

That was 5 years ago and my battle with postpartum depression is ongoing.
How to avoid a postpartum depression relapse
Find out more

Over the years it has gone from very, very bad to non-existent and I don’t know if it will ever completely go away.  I try my hardest to maintain a good self-care routine but there are still things that make it better and things that make it worse.

Pain is the biggest trigger for me, so my recent struggle with endometriosis caused one of the largest relapses I’ve experienced in a long time.

I still take anti-depressants daily and while I hope that it won’t be forever, I realize that I will never be the same person I was before postpartum depression.

The End Your Depression Treatment Plan
Find out if this is the right treatment option for you

Believe it or not, I am thankful for the struggle.

I look at my gorgeous, brilliant, 5 year old daughter and I am thankful that a greater power guided me to keep her.

I am thankful that I am not haunted by the dark memories of the worst days.

I am thankful that my husband and I were given “bad times” to get through together.

And mostly, I am thankful that my struggle inspired me to help others.

Thank you for reading my postpartum depression story.

If it inspired you in any way, then I am glad to have written it, as hard as it was to do.   You can read more inspiring stories about postpartum depression and other maternal mental health disorders here

A compilation of posts from bloggers who have bravely told their postpartum depression story
A compilation of postpartum depression posts from other talented bloggers

For more information on how I can help you tell your story, please click here.