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.
Here is my best advice for how to prepare for another baby after you’ve suffered from postpartum depression.
If you don’t already have a treatment plan for your postpartum depression, then establishing one is the first step. 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?
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.
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. Online therapy is a great option to consider if you’re unable to use medication to treat your postpartum depression.
Make sure to talk to your doctor about your current medications if you are planning to have another baby.
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. Tracking your mood fluctuations can help you identify specific patterns and triggers.
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. Practicing yoga and meditation can be a great way to get in better physical and mental health prior to having another baby.
While many triggers will be unavoidable, if you can be in good physical shape and proper mental health prior to getting pregnant again, then you will be more prepared should postpartum depression strike again.
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.
download A free printable PDF to help you document your journey
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.
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’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.
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
- 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
- Start your own mental health blog
- Sign up for the Postpartum Depression Survival Guide
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.