Many women struggling with postpartum depression feel very alone. They also often feel guilt, shame, and embarrassment.
The postpartum depression stories on this page have been graciously contributed from Postpartum Living visitors willing to share their past struggles with this mood disorder.
These stories have been submitted to help those dealing with postpartum depression to know that they are not alone. These stories can offer insight on what to expect as well as thoughts and suggestions for getting healthy.
Understanding and support are the first steps to healing. We thank them for their contributions!
I have 2 kids, one is 2 years old and the 2nd child is 7 months, and now I am pregnant with my 3rd child. I had postpartum depression for both of my kids.
When I was in the hospital for the first child I was so happy I had help and I was telling myself it's going to be easy. The day I went home from the hospital I felt sad that I was leaving a comfort zone, but the first day wasn't bad. But as a week went by I started to feel a lot of mixed emotions, where I didn't want to be around my baby. (I loved my babies to death, it was at the time how I was feeling.)
I gained a lot of weight. I didn't want to be around people. I felt like my husband is cheating on me because I was paying no mind to him and felt like no one wanted to help me when I needed the help.
It really took a toll on me. I was feeling like this for 3 months.
I went to the doctor's office and told the doctor how I was feeling. He told me to go and talk to people that already had kids and went through what I was going through. He also suggested that I take a power walk every morning and let my hormones get back to where they used to be.
The 2nd child wasn't as bad as the fist child but I did go through the postpartum. With this child I just kept myself busy with my 1st child but I had the same feelings as I had with the 1st baby but they didn't last as long, they only lasted for 3 weeks.
I hope my story can help with some woman out there.
Kadega Jamhour, United States
My daughter was living with me, while her husband was overseas and she was very pregnant. She was very happy because her husband was due home before the baby.
Three days before Dan (her husband) was due to come home, her water broke and we took her to the hospital, where she had a 9 pound baby girl. Dan came home in time to bring her home from the hospital. The baby thrived and it was wonderful to have my family all together for a while.
However, Kim (my daughter) was somewhat crabby and did not want to eat. She couldn't go back to sleep after feeding the baby at night. One day I went looking for Kim and found her in the kitchen crying, no, not just crying she was sobbing. She could not tell me why. A trip to the doctor did not solve the trick, he just said she had a case of postpartum depression and suggested medicine. Kim said no, it would hurt the baby. Dan went back overseas and Kim got worse, she was so irritable that it was impossible to talk to her.
After 2 months I could hardly stand to be around her. Back to the doctor, this time she decided to take the medicine. Thank God, she started to feel better in about three weeks.
I had never experienced this type of thing and I must admit it is very unpleasant to be around. When I had my children they probably did not have a name for this sickness. The symptoms are bad but you really don't understand how they affect women.
I have personally had to deal with postpartum depression. My husband and I have two children. After our first, I started noticing how down in the dumps I was. At first I thought it was just because of the weight gain and if I could just lose the weight I'd feel better about myself and overall. I let another month go by before I really got concerned. I didn't have issues with not wanting to be with my baby or anything like that, which I have read is perfectly normal for someone with post partum depression but I was thankful that wasn't the case for me. Rather, my issues were just simply depression. Every day I was bummed. I loved my new baby and still loved life but it was as if every day was a rainy day and the sun never shined. My spirits just couldn’t be lifted regardless of what I tried. People around me would say something that I would normally laugh at but I just couldn't laugh.
After my second baby I was prepared for the worst. I knew what to expect and was glad for that. I did again get postpartum depression. My doctor explained this was just due to my hormones trying to balance out. Everyone’s body responds differently. I did again get on anti-depression medication. This is not something I needed forever but just while things were leveling out and then I could proceed with weaning off of the medicine. It is comforting to know I am not the only one that has suffered from this. If you know someone that is suffering from this or if you are yourself I suggest speaking with your doctor. It made all the difference for me.
mkc from the USA
Isn’t it interesting how we can think that Postpartum Depression is something that happens to other people even while we are surrounded by the signs of depression within ourselves? I struggled with Postpartum Depression with three of my four births and I’m not yet out of the woods with my fourth. My fourth baby, Laurelyn, is only three months which means that I could still be kicked in the gut by depression. Postpartum Depression could kick in any time within the year after the baby’s birth. There’s something to look forward to. I have been looking back over the blog posts I wrote during my depression with my other children and it makes me scared and grateful at the same time. I’m scared it could happen again and I’m grateful for all the happy, wonderful days I’ve been having since Laurelyn was born.
Having a baby is not a guarantee that you will have PPD, thank goodness but chances are better that you would be affected by it in subsequent births and it usually gets worse. My third baby, David was the one that I struggled with the most. He was a great baby and the birth was normal with no complications but I was hit with a terrible bout of PPD. It took a long time, some counseling and a lot of talking with my husband in order to get myself out of it. I was able to work through it without medications but it made me change my mind about anti-depressants. If you need them, get them. Don’t put guilt onto yourself and don’t let anyone else get away with making you feel guilty for taking them.
These are some of the symptoms of Postpartum Depression as seen on the U.S. Department of Women’s Health. If they feel familiar to how you’re feeling I hope that you can have the strength to see a Doctor and ask for help.
Feeling restless or irritable
Feeling sad, hopeless, and overwhelmed
Crying a lot
Having no energy or motivation
Eating too little or too much
Sleeping too little or too much
Trouble focusing, remembering, or making decisions
Feeling worthless and guilty
Loss of interest or pleasure in activities
Withdrawal from friends and family
Having headaches, chest pains, heart palpitations (the heart beating fast and feeling like it is skipping beats), or hyperventilation (fast and shallow breathing).
I didn’t know as much about PPD then as I do now. I googled PPD after a visit with a doctor while we were on vacation. I went into his office to get a prescription for David’s Thrush. Since this wasn’t my first baby I knew what Thrush was and I knew what I needed so I expected a quick visit. I just wanted that little white paper with the prescription on it and I wanted to leave. The doctor said I was right, it was Thrush and he handed over what I had come in for. What I didn’t expect were all of his questions: How old am I? How many children do I have? Do I work? How many hours a day? Am I married? Is my husband supportive? Do I have support outside of my husband? I couldn’t believe the gall of this guy. Who did he think he was? He certainly wasn’t my doctor. I was just about to stand up and walk out when he asked me if I had Postpartum Depression with my other children. I was blown away. Definitely not what I was expecting. He gave me some information on PPD and sent a fax to my family doctor.
I drove back to the place Chuck and I were staying, the whole time thinking about what had just happened. Was he right? Did I really have PPD? What do I do now? How am I going to tell Chuck that his wife is a lunatic? I should have had more faith in my husband but at that point I didn’t have faith in anyone at all. I sat under a tree holding our new baby and told Chuck everything the local doctor had said. He didn’t seem shocked or surprised. He said that he knew something was wrong but he wasn’t sure what it was and he was so happy that we knew now. We looked PPD up online and read as much as we could. Everything sounded so familiar and that alone made me feel better. I wasn’t alone. I wasn’t the only woman who felt worse after having a baby. I wasn’t the only woman crying in the shower to hide the tears. I was a part of a large group and that brought a small amount of comfort.
After our vacation was over I went to my family doctor and talked with her about how I was feeling. I had been so scared to tell anyone but since the previous doctor had already let the cat out of the bag I felt free to let the feelings run out and I told her all the dark thoughts I had. I told her how I couldn’t get myself out of bed most days and even if I did get out of bed I stayed in my pajamas all day and hid from going outside. I told her about feeling detached from my children and that I didn’t even feel like they were mine. I felt no responsibility or affection toward them. She sat and listened and not once did she get the judgmental look I was afraid of. She didn’t say that she was taking my children away from me and she wasn’t going to call the police and lock me up. She simply asked me what I was willing to do to get better. We made a plan. I would try medication only after I tried therapy. My church is very helpful so I called my Bishop and met with him several times. I talked with Chuck and we made permanent plans for a Friday date night. We made it a sacred engagement that could never be broken. Every Friday we went out without the older kids and got away from the house and all of my responsibilities. I told my two closest girlfriends and we made plans to go out regularly, just us girls. Once I was willing to tell the people closest to me I never again got as deep into that depression as I had before. As soon as I started ignoring the phone I’d be greeted by one of my girlfriends at the door ready to take us to the park, the zoo or anywhere else with somewhere for the kids to play and for me to sit in the sun. I couldn’t have made it through my depression without the help of my husband, my doctor and my girlfriends.
Slowly I started to feel like I could breathe without something weighing on my chest. Now I look at the face of a new mother and search for the look. More than just tired. It’s a look of fear. A look I remember seeing in the mirror and I can’t walk past that look on a new mother without offering help of some kind. As I said before, I had my fourth baby three months ago and I feel great. I am relishing her scent, her tiny finger and toes and the way she looks when she’s sleeping. Although it is common for women to experience PPD if they’ve had it before, it’s not a guarantee. I am in love with my baby girl and I fall more in love with her every day that comes.
If you have a postpartum depression story to submit, please go to the Postpartum Depression Stories Submission page to contribute.
The health information in this website is for educational purposes only and is not providing medical or professional advice. It should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. If you have or suspect you might have any health problems, you should consult a physician.
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"No mother has to suffer from PPD needlessly. This is a fact. But until you know what you're up against, you'll still be trapped - without knowing why! A typical example is the common misconception that depression is "all just in the mind." Your first step is to keep an open mind; and allow Laura to take you by the hand and guide you step by step through the PPD universe. Using a "wellness" approach, and with her usual friendly and informative style, trust me, she can help you help yourself getting out of the rut - naturally - in no time."
- Naturopath Alex Leong, B.A.S.M.
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Sydney Z. Spiesel, Ph DMD Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, Yale University School of Medicine
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