Ask Amy – Postpartum Depression

It’s not something we like to talk about.  Having a new baby is supposed to be beautiful and wonderful, not a nightmare.  But Postpartum Depression is said to affect around 15% of mothers.  Women who have suffered from PPD previously have a 40% chance of it occurring in subsequent pregnancies.  Yet, when you are that mother, you feel completely alone.

Ask Amy - Postpartum Depression | RaisingArrows.net

A reader wrote me this email,

“It [postpartum depression] was like nothing I’ve ever experienced. It took almost three months, but fortunately with the patience and help from God and my wonderful husband, I was able to pull through it… I was wondering if you have any tips for fighting off those feelings of crippling fear and depression.  Honestly, when I think about having more children, I’m terrified of re-living those days.”

****************************************

4 years ago, I would not have known how to answer this question.  I was not one of the 15%.  I’d never suffered through more than a light case of baby blues postpartum.

Then, our 7th child was born and life became a train wreck.

During his pregnancy, I had bizarre thoughts and feelings that were very abnormal for me.  I found myself not wanting to be a part of family activities.  I was standoffish and preferred to be alone.  His pregnancy drug on and on through a hot summer that left me antsy and sleep-deprived.

Finally, true labor set in and he was born very quickly.  However, six hours after his birth he began to cry.  His crying continued for the first four months of his life, leaving me anxious, tried, and very depressed.

I did not share with many people what was going on.  I did not share here what was going on.  I just kept pushing through, often using the internet to escape what was really happening at home.

And then a “troll” (as they are called in blog-land) came to my blog and pretended to be someone she was not in order to get her comments approved, only to later change her name and begin to attack me and my parenting – causing me to spiral even further downward.

Many nights I cried alongside my fussing newborn.  I wasn’t even sure who I was, but I was convinced I was a horrible mother.  I couldn’t take care of my children.  God must have made a mistake giving them to me.  I wanted to run away.  But mostly, I just wanted to feel normal again.

As I look back on those days, I don’t remember much other than a blurry existence.  I didn’t want anymore children because I obviously couldn’t handle it.  I did very little with the children as we coasted through our days.  I kept praying for a way to get out of the nightmare in my head because I knew what I was feeling was not truth.

So, when this reader asks what she can do to let go of the fears and actually deal with postpartum depression, should it happen again, I answer not from some lofty position that has it all figured out, but rather from a very humbled position that can only speak from what the Lord has shown me since that dark time in my life.

Simplify your every day life

New moms should do this anyway, but all too often, we complicate those newborn days with revamped schedules, stress over the upheaval, and resolutions to do everything right this time.

When dealing with postpartum depression, the every day is overwhelming and adding anything to it spells disaster.  You have to take your entire day to the lowest common denominator and get rid of the stuff that easily stresses you out.

Meals need to be simple and on paper plates.  School needs to be simple and workbook or internet-driven.  Your days need to be devoid of extras until you can crawl your way out of the postpartum pit you are in.

I failed to simplify as much as I should have.  I also allowed the blog troll to heckle me far too long.  I should have blocked her from the moment I realized she was there to bring me down.  Perhaps there are “trolls” in your life too.  Simplify your life by removing or avoiding those trolls sooner rather than later.

Search out ways to heal

Not every PPD remedy out there is going to be perfect for you.  While I believe postpartum depression is caused by an imbalance in your body, I am not convinced it is the same imbalance in every woman.  Don’t give up just because one thing you try doesn’t work.  Try something else.  Ask your doctor/midwife to help you find an answer – the right answer for you.

I never did find the cause of my PPD; however, I suffered 2 back-to-back miscarriages the following year.  After the second miscarriage, I felt different.  It was as if my hormones completely shifted and righted themselves.  I am still curious as to what initially caused my depression.

Get outside and bring it inside

It is a known fact that we do not get outside enough and move our bodies and soak up the nutrients in the fresh air and sunshine.  Even if all you can manage right now is to sit in a chair on your back porch, do it.  Work your way up to actually walking around your back yard or neighborhood.  Breathe deep.  Take as much of the outside with you inside.  Open windows, bring in flowers, eat fresh fruits and veggies.

One of the easiest things to do when you are suffering from postpartum depression is to eat junk.  I could barely find the energy to eat, so I grabbed junk to keep me going – or so I thought it would keep me going.  Oh, how I could have benefited from a bowl of fresh fruit or a baggie of cut up veggies.  I also should have started getting outside more, even if I had to put my screaming baby in a stroller or strap him to me in a carrier.  We both would have felt better.

Look forward

We move in the direction we are facing.  You must look forward so you can move forward. Write down 1 thing you are looking forward to each day.  It can be as simple as a bath or as complex as a weekend getaway.  However, I know from previous experience with depression, it becomes the simplest of things that pull you out of the depths.

Making a list was how I dealt with my depression in college, and it was making a similar list that helped to pull me out of PPD.  My list was in my head and something I told myself every morning as I awoke.  I would lie in bed staring at the ceiling trying to figure out why this day was worth getting up for.  Sometimes it was because a friend was coming over or I had planned a certain meal or treat, but more often than not, I would lie there and make up something to do that day that was worth looking forward to.  I would resolve to do things like wash my face with a new cleanser, buy a new pair of earrings, or pick a bouquet from the garden.  Most of the time the items on my list were simple and rather menial, but they were things that brought a smile to my face and gave me a reason for pulling back the covers and facing the day.

Pray for the Lord to direct your steps

God has given each of us a path to walk.  The Bible tells us He will not let us be utterly cast down even if we stumble.  The postpartum depression path is a difficult one, but it is not one devoid of lessons and understanding, and God has not left you to walk it alone.  And hopefully, someday, you will be able to give of yourself and your story in order to help another.

Give your fears to the Lord

Christ is our rest.  We can hand all the fear and hesitations to Him.  He is holy, He is mighty, He is our savior yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  He can handle these feelings and the fears that come with them.

My dear mama, you are loved!  God knows where you are and He knows exactly what you need.  He is bigger than your postpartum depression!

Feel free to share your own stories and experiences in the comments below.  For those of you currently dealing with PPD, I am praying for you to feel God’s presence every day as you walk this road.  I am also praying you find exactly the help you need to get through this trial.  ((HUGS))

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54 thoughts on “Ask Amy – Postpartum Depression

  1. See a doctor. See a nurse. Talk to a professional. I had PND and I yet I hid it and denied it for months. Finally a very perceptive, very determined, very wonderful Mothercraft Nurse saw what was really happening to me, recognised it for what it was and convinced me to get help

    I so regret not getting help earlier. I missed the first 8 months of my baby’s life because I was in a black hole, and I can never get that time back.

  2. (((hugs))) I was there with my second child…. During his pregnancy and then afterwards… I was young and didn’t totally understand it. My doctor never spoke to me about it, although looking back I think they knew :( I was ashamed over how I felt, and didn’t tell anyone (my husband knew- he knows me better than myself I feel at times!) I was ashamed over how unhappy I felt, after all, aren’t we all supposed to be glowing after having a baby?!? *eyeroll* I plastered a smile on my face around others, and even my mom, who I am close to, had NO idea until I told her about it while pregnant with my 4th, even still she doesn’t totally know the extend of it… I learned that I needed to talk to my doctor ( a different one, thank goodness!), he was helpful and asks me with each pregnancy- during and after- which Is a great help. I was offered a script when I started to have feeling of depression come up with my 4th and 5th, though I didn’t fill it, my husband kept it with him so if he saw it starting to get worse he could fill it and get it into me. God used my husband with dealing with all of it. I am truly thankful for God giving him to me!!!! I am happy to say with baby number 6, things seem to be going well :) I really feel that having a colicky baby and having hormones out of whack truly play a part in all of it, among other things…..

    • I agree – not sure it would have been quite as bad had baby not been colicky. Sounds like you have wonderful support in your husband! And I understand about not letting others know. I kept up a good facade as well.

  3. I struggled with PPD with my first child. The interesting thing is we (dh and I) didn’t realize what it was until I started to feel better. It affected my relationship/bonding with my baby. I had too many people around to do the work I needed to do. When my other children came, I made sure we were the only people who cared physically for her. It hurt some feelings, but I needed to be made to bond with my babies, I didn’t need a person to care for them. I have since had 3 more babies without the return of PPD.

    My 3rd baby was the colicky baby. It helped having experience knowing that it would pass. However, she is 4 and is still my drama queen.

    I enjoy reading your blog/ You are a great encouragement to me.

  4. A topic near and dear to my heart. I suffered moderate-to-severe PPD with both of my children, including suicidal and those infamous intrusive thoughts. My heart aches for those in the throes of it.

    Humbly, I would like to offer some post scripts to your post. First, dear mothers, please do not be too quick to eschew a pharmaceutical component to your solution set. I understand the many reasons for wanting to avoid them, and I am not saying that I support them as a first effort response. But I hate to see moms suffer. Make the decision prayerfully and with ongoing consultation with your physician and spouse.

    Second, there is a fabulous book entitled “Women’s Moods” authored by Deborah Sichel and Jeanne Driscoll. It takes a broader look at the mood disorders women suffer, so PPD is not the only or primary topic. However, there is a section devoted to PPD. The authors have done a wonderful job of explaining the science of mood and putting the different disorders within that context. I have a strong background in biological sciences and was surprised to find some of the relationships and correlations of our lives that affect our moods. The authors also have provided a framework for helping mothers find a solution. (Warning: ithe book does discuss some of the extreme disorders like bi-polar. However, the organization of the book allows you to skip these chapters if you choose.). This book was a constant recommendation for “required reading” for my clients when I was a practicing doula, and I still find it to be the best resource for helping women understand their moods in general and PPD specifically.

    Two final thoughts: Do not travel this journey alone. Whether you seek out a formal support group or just schedule regular (and consistent!!!!!) coffee dates with a trusted friend, do something to keep you engaged with the “real” world outside of your home.

    And schedule some physical exercise!!!!!! Outside if weather permits (why wouldn’t you want to get the double benefit of sunshine and exercise?), but inside or at a gym if you have to. It doesn’t matter what it is or what level of intensity you are capable of performing at, just try to get 10-15 minutes of dedicated “for you” physical activity every day. Be sure to consult with your physician on this. (This is also a good way to get that shower in that you may not feel like taking. :-D)

  5. Oh, Amy! These suggestions are so wise, not just the new mother but for anyone suffering from a “black hole” existence! At my age, I do not expect to have anymore babies but this is also great advice for my “blues”. It is easy for you or someone else to pray for joy and peace (and God certainly hears our prayers) and these are practical and doable things to achieve it! Thank you!

  6. I have never met anyone else that has had postpartum depression. I tried to ask elderly ladies for advise and they would say ” I was too busy to be depressed”. They didn’t have a clue what I was talking about. I tried to talk to my doctor he sat up straight in his chair, grabbed a notebook to write my answers down as he was bombarded me with questions like “do you have thoughts of hurting yourself or your children”. And that just sent me into hysteria. No. I cried because I was overwhelmed with so much love for my newborn and he didn’t have the understanding to know it. I cried because the wind blew the beautiful blooms off the tree outside my window. I cried for no reason at all, because my body was unbalanced not my mind. It was so bad that during my last pregnancy I asked the doctor if there was something he could give me to help and as I began to describe the symptoms I had experienced in the past I started shaking from fear of going through it again and asked him “what if I can’t find my way back (to normal) this time”. What helped me, at the advice of a friend I didn’t take the depression med. I researched ways to rebalance my body. I drank lots of water, to wash away the bad and restore the good. Paid close attention to nutitional needs. Got out in the sunshine as much as possible. Nursed my baby as often as he would. Nursing releases chemicals in the brain that make you calm and relaxed, but don’t beat yourself up if you have difficulty nursing. I surrounded myself with people (my husband and my best friend) who were willing to admit they had no personal knowledge or experience of what I was feeling, but loved me and were there to help and support me as long as it took to find my way back to normal.

    • I agree that doctors can easily either take it to the extreme or poo-poo what you are feeling. It is very real and very strange and you know something isn’t right. So thankful you had people who understood and supported you. I must say in defense of the little old ladies – I might have said the same thing had I only had 6 children and not experience what I did following #7. Unfortunately, we aren’t always the compassionate people we need to be.

  7. I have had some PPD with 3 of my 6 babies. The worst was my 2nd little one who was very fussy as well and we had terrible family issues all within the first 2 months of her life. What helped me pull out of that was to stop writing a “to-do” list and start writing down a list of all the things that I had done so I could see it which I normally wouldn’t have thought of – changed 2 diapers, fed the baby, fed the 1 year old, picked up toys, etc.

  8. I believe I had ppd with my firstborn, and to a lesser extentwith my second. While ppregnant with my third, I asked a friend at church if she would follow up with me for my baby’s first year, asking if I thought I had ppd and helping me get help if it seemed so. She had severe ppd with one of her now grown children.

    My baby is almost 5 months now, and I’m fine! I will stay on high alert as she starts solids and I am nursing less, because I definitely experienced a slump around that time with my second child.

  9. Hi Amy! I’ve never commented but I read every post and am encouraged often. I have 9 children. The last 5 were born in 5 years. It was a whirlwind of depression and anxiety. I felt totally inadequate and overwhelmed. I believed the lie that because God gave me those children I was supposed to have it all together. I had begun by the Spirit but was trying to be perfected by my flesh. I read every book I could about running my home and exhausted myself and my children even more. Two key things pulled me out: I discovered my thyroid was low. I believe the pregnancies depleted my body and now my body is giving me a break. The second is I set aside every idea I had about what my large family should look like. I surrendered completely to God and He is rescuing us from the downward spiral we were on. I think we fight it so hard we make it worse. I absolutely agree we need to simplify. Thank you for being real and transparent all the time Amy. You are a true blessing. Season

    • I am also the mother of 9 ( 10th on its way). I totally hear what you are saying. It is so easy to buy into the thought ” I can’t show I am failing because they will just say..oh you just have too many kids.” Or ” if I ask for help I show I have failed and am a fiailure. “. I am realizing more and more that needing help is not a sign of failure but humility. Others are blessed through being able to help, and we are blessed by them. In future we will have the opportunity to bless others thro ugh helping them ( I am just starting to experience this), but when we are in the thick of it, we need to let others be Gods hands of love to us.
      Also, utter dependence on God, holding tightly to the promises in his word, making sure we make time with him a priority even if we don’t feel like it. HE is our life line.
      These are things I am still learning. I think realizing we are not the only one to struggle is a big help. The sense of isolation , and being abnormal can be crippling in and off itself.

  10. This is great! I really don’t think we talk about PPD enough. I share my story openly anytime the subject comes up because I think it is so important to know that you are not alone and/or crazy!
    My first son was so very hard and at about 4 weeks I remember calling the doctor sobbing uncontrollably. I will never forget when she told me “there is something very different about PPD” (as compared with other forms of depression). I had depression in high school, but this was very different! I took a very low dose, 10mg everyother day, of Prozac. It helped me to find balance in my mind to be able to think clearly and then work on what I needed to get out of the PPD. Because of the PPD coupled with my baby’s health concerns, it took over a year to reach a good spot. 5 years later, I still actually take medication because without it I have times when I can’t see past emotions and it so affects my relationships with my husband and children.
    Looking back on the time after my son was born, I really can’t remember much. It is very foggy and I am glad for that sometimes because I had been suicidal and completely unlike myself. It usually takes more than having enough faith and hope and getting over it. The hormones and imbalances are real! So interesting about your miscarriages “resetting” your system. I experienced no PPD symptoms with my 2nd baby but I was so very scared of going there again. I don’t think that I am back to “normal” hormonally but I am at a very good place.
    Thank you for this, it is a subject that is still very dear to me.

  11. Hey Amy! I love this post! My PPD manifests itself more in anger than in feeling depressed all the time, although I can relate with not wanting to get out of bed EVER. My third is six months old and I am still struggling. It has been worse every time. I love your advice about simplifying. That made a world of difference to me. What I’ve found really helpful is to wake up every day and meditate on the cross and what Christ has done for me right when I wake up, before my feet even hit the floor. It helps to center me and take the focus off of myself, since I love to throw pity parties :) Also, DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP! My community has been so supportive and loving, coming over to play with my kids or even just being there to listen over the phone and pray with me. It has been such a blessing to me and really grown us all closer together and really has been a lesson in letting go of my pride and arrogance. Lastly, I know everyone probably already knows this, but if you ever feel like you want to hurt your baby, please seek help right away! I had those feelings with my first child and pride was the only reason I didn’t get help sooner, which was just plain stupid. I kept writing it off as just a fleeting thing or denying that I felt that way. I didn’t hurt him, purely by God’s grace, but I wasted months being in a pit of despair instead of getting the help I needed. Thank you so much for being honest. I love reading your blog.

  12. Oh, Amy, thank you! Thank you for sharing this experience. I suffered from PPD, mostly in the form of insomnia and anxiety after the birth of my fourth child, one year ago. It began the fourth night after he was born, I just lay awake all. night. long. After several days of the same, I was a wreck. I cried all day long. I stopped eating. I lost all my baby weight, plus, in a week. I had no idea how I would ever be normal again or take care of my four small children if I couldn’t sleep. Sleep, or lack thereof, became my obsession. I finally was able to find some relief with medications (which I hated having to take, but was desperate). I ended up struggling off and on for about 8 months.

    Now that I’m on the other side, I am truly thankful for the experience…. amazing that I can say that. I learned to lean on the Lord as I never had before. Prayer became as breathing for me. Taking care of my family and my home became God working through me to complete the smallest of tasks. And I learned to lean on others. A blessed experience. I am honestly terrified to have another child, though, and I’m still struggling with that.

    So, thank you for sharing here, Amy. Your list is awesome. I would second each piece of advice. I also want to add: start researching vitamin/hormone deficiencies, Vit. D & B, magnesium, etc. I ended up being deficient in Vitamin D and my thyroid was slightly off as well. Pregnancy and childbirth are so hard on our bodies and all of us mamas tend to put ourselves last, don’t we? Fill your body with good things. And, don’t resist taking medication. I’m so glad I took it, even though I hated it. You won’t be on it forever. It can be helpful. You need to sleep. You need to eat. You need to be able to smile at your sweet babies.

    Also, talk with a dr/nurse who really understands PPD and all the ways it can manifest (anxiety/PPA , insomnia, etc). I went to several who I feel had good intentions, but thought I just needed to calm down and I would sleep fine (it’s all in your head). “You’re just nervous about taking care of a new baby….just nap when the baby does”. Umm, I appreciate the thoughts, but, this is my fourth child, I’ve always been able to take care of my babies and sleep fine. My body will not fall asleep now….something is WRONG with me.

    And, you’re not alone! One of the biggest things that helped me through was an online discussion forum for PPD/PPA. It helped to simply read stories of others who were going through it and those who were recovered!! It does end!! Hallelujah! I think if I ever do have another child, even if I experience this again, it will be easier knowing for sure that I will recover. Keep moving, mama…..one foot in front of the other. Our Father is so faithful.

  13. I’ve been through two severe post-partum depressions. It’s a very dark and lonely place. I’m very blessed to have lots of support through friends, family and a wonderful husband, but there were still many long months when I felt incredibly alone and abandoned by God. Take any help that is offered you and don’t feel guilty!! This isn’t something that’s your fault! Take time to take care of yourself! And there is hope, a light at the end of the tunnel. Even when we feel so alone, God is right there with you in the darkness!!

  14. This post is great! I know the whole PPD thing. I had postpartum depression with three of my seven babies. It truly is like living in a horrible black hole for months! There is some really great advice here.

  15. Thanks for sharing this! My 5th is 8 weeks old today and I have been struggling with PPD because he has been very colicky. Although he is improving, he can cry for hours at a time. I really struggle with guilt over not being able to care for my other kids like I should/want to because he takes up so much of my time. One day a couple weeks ago my 7 yo daughter said to me that our house was so different since the baby was born. I asked her how it was different and she said your tummy is not big any more, our baby is here… And then I asked her if it was a better different or worse different. She said better! I said even though he cries all the time? And she still said yes! That was so reassuring to hear that the other kids love their brother and aren’t feeling like I am neglecting them. Lots of prayer and pep talks to myself about how short this stage really is have helped too. My oldest was very colicky too and so I know that it will get better!

  16. I suffered PPD with my 1st child. I was very young and really didn’t even realize it for several weeks. It had been a hard pregnancy and a hard labor with an emergency csection after a long labor. I only had 8 weeks off then had to go back to work, staying home was not even an option in our minds then. I remember my husband putting her in the bed with me and we would stay there half the day. She was a fairly good baby, not colicky or anything but I sure remember thinking she deserved something better than me for a momma! That was almost 20 years ago. Thankfully, somehow my body and spirit “righted” after about 7 weeks. I was fully prepared to ask my ob about some help when I went back for a visit but I was feeling better. I dreaded having more children, for that reason and dreading the pregnancy and the whole thing. However, I have never fought that demon again. I’m not sure what happens or why but I wish I had done things differently……I truly believe some of it was my guilt about going back to work and I didn’t TRY…I didn’t get outside, I didn’t get up and move, etc. I guess it was good that it was my 1st baby. Or maybe not….if I had had other little ones, I would’ve had to MAKE myself do it. Thanks for a good post and a good discussion. I’m not sure who reads your comments but I hope they are helped by this post and the candid comments.

  17. SHARE. share with others. ask for help. We try so hard to hide it that no one knows and no one can help. ask for help from your husband as well. Trying for perfect only brings you down further.

  18. I wrote just today on battling the winter blues and wrote a letter to a friend about a year an a half ago as encouragement for her struggle with ppd. You can read my post and letter here: http://aimedattheheart.com/tag/depression
    I, too, have suffered from ppd and pnd. It was a very tough few years and I didnt really feel “normal” again until he was about two years old. I feel so blessed to have had such a peaceful pregnancy, birth, and newborn this time around. Perhaps I will be ready to write about my struggle soon. Thank you for sharing yours.

    • Scrolling up to read all these stories of other moms who have suffered PPD is confirming the need for me to share my story as well. I dont know how long itnwill take but I guess it is time to put pen to paper. I imagine my now 3 year old and I have need for some healing. Thank you to all the moms who have shared.

  19. I’m so glad you chose to write about this topic. It is not something anyone prepares you for. All the focus pre-baby is on cute onezies and the perfect name, no one tells you what might happen or how to cope if it does. This week we celebrated my sweet baby boys first birthday. My first son is adopted and I never thought I’d get pregnant but we had a sucessful IVF and a healthy baby boy. I had a wonderful pregnancy and daydreamed about life with another newborn. The first year with my older son was so special, so full of firsts and sweet baby cuddles. But after a traumatic birth, I spiraled into a pit of post partum anxiety/depression. You never hear about postpartum anxiety but it is at least as common as depression and is often accompanied with depression. My life became a constant severe panic attack interspersed with bouts of crying and hopelessness. This baby who I so wanted, I could not enjoy. Yes, I cared for him, mechanically feeding, changing and dressing him, but I couldn’t ENJOY him. I was living an absolute nightmare. My husband didnt know how to support me and became easily frustrated with me. My three year old didnt know how to respond to a crying mama and would get angry and misbehave and I woke up every morning wondering if and how I would make it through another day. My mom confided that she cried most of the first year I was born. She and others said, by his first birthday you will feel better. They were right, and I do feel so much better, so much more like my old self. But I remember thinking, a whole year? I have to wait a year? I don’t know if I can make it another day, let alone a year. I went to counseling And joined a MOPs group where I found another mom who had experienced the same thing and mentor moms who were so supportive. I feel sad that I missed out on so much of my baby’s first year, but so thankful that I am able to enjoy him now and soak up that sweet baby love. But I wish I could help,others going through this and let them know they are not crazy and not alone although they feel like both. I wish there was a way to warn expectant moms, not to scare them, but to put in place a support network just incase… And what new mom doesn’t need support, even if everything goes smoothly? I had wondered, and almost emailed you, since you have had multiple pregnancies if you ever experienced ppd or ppa yourself but when you are feeling so low, it’s hard to reach out for help, even in the form of an email That’s why it would be so wonderful to set up help before the baby arrives. To surround a pregnant mom and check in on her in the months after birth and ask her how she is really doing and just let her talk ( and bringing her a casserole won’t hurt either! :) ). Anyway, I’m babbling, but I would just love to figure out a way for Christian women to minister to each other like this, because having gone through emotional torment and back, I don’t want anyone else to go there, at least not alone. I want to hold the hand of another and help them crawl back to their life before ppd/a. Anyway, thanks for opening up and reaching out to your readers about this important topic. I’m sure several women read your post today and sighed and thought, you mean I’m not alone!? I’m sure you were a light today in someone’s dark world. Thanks.

  20. Omega 3, fish oil supplements, at least 1000mg/day, organic (Barleans is good), with more EPA than DHA. Also a tablespoon of coconut oil (can be put in hot coffee or tea or eaten plain, put in yogurt, or whatever :-)
    Good healthy supplements to help prevent PDD/PND. if you have to go with prescriptions, these can be taken with them. I’m a believer. I had ppd with my first three pregnancies, my 4th pregnancy i did this regimen and had no issues with PPD, although my baby was stillborn and i grieved. I’m still taking it, pregnant again, and no issues thus far. It’s natural and can be done while breastfeeding.

  21. I had “planned” to have a natural birth, took Bradley Method classes, etc… I was in labor for 30 hours before we (my husband and I… not the doctors) decided to have a cesarian. It was absolutely the hardest decision I had to make, ever. It honestly, wasn’t even on my radar because nobody else in my family/close circle of friends ever needed one. I felt like a total failure, and on top of that, my son was “colicky” for no reason we could figure out. I felt like I had to hide my PPD because my husbands mother would just tell me to “get over it” and to a degree I felt that from my husband. I never really “grieved” over the birth I wanted for my son. I think looking back, I realize now and understand now that I am so thankful that my son was born healthy, no matter how the birth looked. (But I also think that for me, the main reason I had such a hard time with PPD was because my body did not have a normal labor, and some of the hormones were not triggered that will typically happen with a traditional birth rather than a c-section.)

  22. Women suffer PPD because (I believe) we no longer live in a society that is family friendly but rather anti-family and isolated. In the past, families lived with in blocks of other family members and caring friends. Giving birth in those past years was a joy because society celebrated with us and women had a support system of female relatives and female neighbors to lean on after baby’s birth. Postpartum care was easily available with such love ones nearby. Today is different. We no longer live in the same neighborhood or even city as our family and society today suffers from isolation in many areas; i.e. most people know only a few neighbors names. Overcoming PPD today takes extra work but can be done with help and prayer. ????

    • I also think while the internet can create a “sense” of community, it tends to end up as an escape and a poor substitute for a real community. It is important that we learn to be available to others in our real lives.

  23. Thank you so much for sharing this. It’s something I’ve wanted to talk about myself, simply because I remember feeling like such a failure as a mom and as a Christian for even experiencing PPD. But so much is demanded of women today–they’re sent home from the hospital a day or two after delivery and expected to be able to function with raging hormones on little to no sleep, and often without any help at all. No wonder so many of us struggle with PPD.

    It helped me so much to recognize that I couldn’t do everything and be the perfect mom and maintain a perfect house. Most days I did well to get a shower! But that was fine. And God was faithful to bring me through that time of darkness. And it’s made me view the postpartum period like never before! With God’s help I want to reach out to new moms and also be there for my daughters and daughters-in-law when they have babies someday.

    • I absolutely think the shorter hospital stay and lack of “down time” (even in home births) has contributed to this. Women are expected to go, go, go all the time and never slow down. Our culture demands it, but it isn’t healthy at all.

  24. I have btdt. After the birth of my second baby, I became so depressed that I nearly missed my fristborn’s birthday. Not even kidding. Now I know to leave the hospital with a rx. It’s just not worth it to “tough it out.”

  25. It is interesting to me that no one in this discussion has mentioned dehydrated placenta capsules. (I read replies quickly and may have missed it). I only heard of it recently and have never done it, but supposedly taking these capsules can do wonders for regulating hormones and helping/preventing ppd, among other things. Thought it was worth mentioning if it might help someone.

  26. Thank you so much for writing this post. I have suffered from severe PPD after both of my children’s births. My youngest is only three months old and I’m just now starting to come out of the haze of PPD. I wish I didn’t have this issue and I’ve spent a lot of time feeling like a horrible mother/person because of it. There aren’t a lot of people who are willing to let you cry and truly discuss what you’re feeling as a new mom. Most want to hear how well everything is, how this new baby is the best thing that ever happened. They don’t want to hear about suicidal thoughts, constant crying, fears, the want to run away, threatening divorce, etc. I honestly haven’t really found anyone other than my husband who I can be completely honest with about how I’m feeling. I’m sure I’m not the only mom who has this same issue. You feel so alone when you’re in the throws of PPD. Thank you again for bringing this topic to light.

  27. Hi Amy,

    So many of us have been there! I struggled for years, going up and down. What I found for me was a great need for vitamin B. Ok, if you connect the dots with other comments I make, I am a bit of a health nut. Good thing I live in Portland. Any way, I take magnesium/b combo, B6, and Methyl B12. Magnesium straightened out my hormones along with zinc. :) Don’t know if that helps, but you are doing a good job. Moving is hard, and making new friends is hard and that really adds to it. I’ve been living here for 3 years and am now just making friends. Mostly because I’m so lonely. :) Maybe you could have your hubby read the comments and shield you so you don’t get hit like that. Also, did you email Cheryl over at Treasures From a Shoe Box? She gets slammed by people a lot and does a good job handling it. It might help to check in with her. But I’m very sorry to hear all that. Will be praying for you. :)

    Sarah.

    • Hi Sarah – this was actually 3 years ago. I do use a magnesium lotion and take B (have been forgetting lately), but those are great suggestions and I’m glad you said something here!

  28. I am very belatedly reading this, so I read through all the comments. As a long-time OB nurse, childbirth educator, and mom of many (16 pregnancies, 10 children), I was so very thankful to see all the suggestions from you and from others. I think you now have a comprehensive list! If I may be so bold as to suggest, could you compile these suggestions into a download/handout? It would be wonderful to have everything listed all together.

    In my experience, the Vit D and omega 3 make the biggest difference the fastest and can be used proactively in pregnancy. Make sure to get your actual Vit D 25-hydroxy level checked by your caregiver as there are so many things that can affect your absorption and blood levels. Also make sure to taper off the use of omega 3 supplements starting the end of the 8th month of pregnancy; there is an associated delay in onset of labor for a significant number of women although this is currently a correlated finding, not a proven, causal relationship.

  29. I have read this post a couple of times and I believe it is one of your finest. I had PPD with 3 of my 5 children. In fact, it was one reason my husband and I chose to end our fertility. One of the worst parts of PPD is the overwhelming feeling of being ashamed and alone. Your list of practical things to do is so helpful…it would have made a world of difference to me. My husband had a vas reversal in December and if God ever blesses us with another baby I will be reading your list, just in case :) Thank you for being open enough to write this….it will be a blessing to a lot of women!

  30. Amy,
    I just want you to know that your blog is such a ministry…
    Really- you likely don’t realize that writing about these topics with such vulnerability and openness can really minister to those of us reading. I can only imagine how encouraging it is for moms currently going through these things.
    And most importantly you remind us how vital it is to do all in light of God’s grace and strength. the most important factor.
    I feel understood when I read your blog- like I’m not the only one :)

    And yes- I suffered after our #3… it was a tough 6 months of depression and anger with 3 small children 2, 1 and newborn, but God was so good to bring me through and deepen my relationship with him. And my husband was so patient.
    I also found that I have been more careful of my stress levels after the last 3 babies. It’s so important to get good rest and maintain a lower stress level to find a good balance and recovery after each baby and guard your mind and emotions.
    (take those thoughts captive like Paul says! and replace them with God’s thoughts/ scriptures)

    • Thank you, Rebecca! ((HUGS)) This was the path God set me on from the moment I started writing publicly. Write what He’s doing in my life and somehow it seems to resonate with others for His glory. :)

  31. I had PPD after delivering my third child, but I am so accustomed to being an “up” person that I didn’t recognize it as such. It took on more characteristics of an anxiety disorder. Example: I would stress so much in the process of getting the kids and I ready to go ANYWHERE I would end up having heart palpitations and sitting down with a bowl of ice cream before I could continue. I also experienced bizarre physical symptoms. Arthritis, muscle pain, bone pain, tingling in my face and hands, tremors. I was convinced I had a terrible illness. I then fell into the trap of symptom-checking online. THAT was truly depressing! All the while I was not enjoying my new little boy or my two older boys. I finally decided I needed help, though I still didn’t know for what exactly. My family Dr. was so patient with me. She tested me for all kinds of things before telling me she thought it was actually a bizarre presentation of PPD. She prescribed me Zoloft, but I’ll never know if it would have helped. A week later I was pregnant with number 4 and it all just stopped. I know it was hormonal, because pregnancy cured it. Since that experience I tell other new moms to remember that we live in a fallenworld, with bodies that are subject to sin’s curse, and they will sometimes malfunction and let us down. When we find ourselves in that situation, we need to find help, whether it’s from a counselor,a doctor, or just a good support system. And we need to let go of the guilt that Satan wants us to feel in those times of weakness.