6 Reasons Having A Baby After PPD Is Easier

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postpartum depressionI’m so happy to have Warrior Mom Robin Farr here today, sharing how having a baby after PPD can actually be easier, at least in her experience. I have to point out that Robin, who writes the blog Farewell Stranger, was recently named among the top Canadian blogs about family and parenting in the 2012 Canadian Weblog Awards. (Go Robin!)

 Six Reasons Having A Baby After PPD Is Easier

1.    You know what to look for.

Having experienced postpartum depression once makes it easier to catch it if it happens again. You know the symptoms of PPD, including the surprising ones, and you can take action as soon as it starts to darken your nursery door.

When I was pregnant with my second, someone told me it couldn’t possibly be as bad this time because I know now. I know what PPD feels like and I know what triggers it for me. And so does my family. That one piece of advice did wonders for my anxiety before my baby was born.

2.    You’re better at asking for help.

Asking for help is never really easy. But a mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do, especially when she’s struggling. The second time around you know that asking for help when you need it can make the difference between getting through a hard day with the ability to carry on and sliding into a pit that takes weeks (or longer) to get out of.

3.    You know the tough baby stages are temporary.

The early days (and weeks and months) of having a baby are hard. It feels like he’ll never sleep through the night. You estimate that you’ve put her soother back in 2,365 times in the last week. You contemplate letting your little cherub play naked in the bathtub just so you don’t have to change one more diaper.

The second time around, you know there’s an end to these tough phases. It might be a ways away, but you can see that end, and that alone can get you through. Knowing it’s temporary makes those days your baby refuses to nap just a little easier to manage.

4.    You have a community to look to for support.

Obviously you’ve found Postpartum Progress, which is a huge step in the right direction. Having other PPD moms for support when you need it is a critical part of surviving and it’s another thing that can make a world of difference if (not when) you experience PPD again. There are lots of ways to connect to the postpartum depression mom community. Take advantage of it!

5.    You have professional resources.

Surviving postpartum depression the first time often involves professional support. Whether you’ve talked to your family doctor, a therapist, a psychiatrist or someone else, that person (or team of people) will be there to support you the second time around as well. For a lot of people, finding the right support can be tough, especially when you’re struggling to get out of bed in the morning. Having that support already in place makes the idea of having another baby after PPD much more manageable.

6.    You have more confidence that you’ll recover.

If you’re having another baby, or thinking about it, chances are you’ve recovered from your first experience with postpartum depression. You know the answer to one of the most common questions women with PPD ask: “Will I ever get better?” The answer – for them and for you – is YES. And you know it firsthand.

Having had postpartum depression once doesn’t mean you will inevitably get it again. But if you do – or are worried you will – these six things are almost sure to make having a baby after PPD a little bit easier.

~ Robin Farr

Editor’s note: I had a great experience with my second child. It’s hard to know if it’s because I chose to stay on my medication throughout my pregnancy, or if it was because I just wasn’t going to get postpartum OCD again. I do know that if I had gotten it again, I would have been grateful to be aware of where to get help and to have had the knowledge that I could and would get better. What do you think? Do you agree with Robin, or did you feel it wasn’t easier?

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About Katherine Stone

is the founder & editor of Postpartum Progress. She was named one of the ten most influential mom bloggers of 2011, a WebMD Health Hero and one of the top 25 parent bloggers using social media for social good. She also writes the Fierce Blog, and a parenting column for Disney's Babble.com.

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Comments

  1. Been there says:

    I have to disagree.

    I had ppd with the first and was really hoping/ expecting not to get it for the 2nd. Well, I did, and it took 5 weeks for me to realize/admit it. I spent those 5 weeks repeating to myself over and over that it gets better, this phase will end, etc. It was still incredibly hard/horrible. I guess the only thing “better” this time was that I recognized it earlier and got on meds sooner. But those 5 weeks were excruciating and the fact that I’d survived ppd before did little to ease my anguish until the meds kicked in.

  2. I totally agree! Thank you for talking about this…it is one of a PPD Survivor’s greatest fears and one of the most asked questions of those of us who have gone on to have more kids.

  3. Luz Franco says:

    I appreciate the info. I know my first round dealing with PPD was horrible and because of that, I’ve held off in having another baby -against my maternal urges. It’s been 7 years now (Son turning 7 next week) since I had any sexual relations for fear of having a baby and going through it again. Now I’m hitting 40 and feel it’s too late. I’m now a single mom and getting knocked up just to have a kid isn’t the right thing to do. I wish I had someone who would have told me it would be OK the second time around.

  4. ANOTHER reason why she is one of my mentors. I am just not BRAVE enough even contemplate another baby. I am scared that the guilt of enjoying another baby and not my first would kill me. Love to you all xoxoxo

    • My friend, I don’t think it’s about being brave. It’s about making a choice and deciding what you are willing to risk. I think you are very brave!

      And for what it’s worth, I’m enjoying my second much more than my first. And I feel guilty about that, but it doesn’t mean I love my first any less and it can’t change what happened. So I’m just trying to deal with it.

      xx

      • Thank you Robin. I am not sure if I will change my mind. But I am very encouraged after reading your storey and how you are coping with the second. Will keep you all in the loop if I do though! xox I love that you are enjoying being a mom the second time x

  5. Went for it anyway says:

    Knowing all these things didn’t help me in the anticipation of my second baby. I was terrified daily that PPD would hit again. In the end, it didn’t and it was all of the above things that helped but there was no way to comfort or assure me at the time.

  6. Thanks for this timely post! I am pregnant again after having antenatal and postpartum anxiety and depression with my last child. I had a very rough 5 days recently and wonder if I’m spiraling again. It is so nice to be reassured that it won’t get as bad as last time because I do know what is happening and can take measures to prevent it from getting as bad. I know it will get better. Thanks!

    • That’s great, Alicia. It was my experience too. I had antenatal depression with my second (born last October) and was so afraid of what that meant. But because I recognized it I was able to deal with it, and I think that helped a lot, both then and after he was born.

      • Robin, sharing your experience is so helpful. I’m curious what you did during your pregnancy that helped? How did you deal with antenatal depression? I’m currently trying to figure out what to do.

  7. This article gives me a lot of hope about the possibility of having a second baby without suffering as much as I did with the first.

  8. I am still suffering after the birth of my 1st child. Although I am starting to feel a little better with treatment, I still have a ways to go. Constantly in the back of my mind I am thinking that I will never have another child because I NEVER want to feel like this again which in return makes me sad. I want my child to have a sibling! I am sure this is a common thought that moms in recovery have. I hope one day I feel confident enough to put these tips to use!

    • I felt the same way — that I could never have another child. I completely understand that feeling and I respect anyone who makes that decision. In the end I got pregnant by surprise and did have another child, and thanks to my team and my treatment plan I didn’t get postpartum OCD again and I’m so SOSOSOSOSO grateful to have my sweet girl. So just know that we have choices. We do have choices.

      • That is so encouraging to hear Katherine. I too have been suffering from PPOCD. I guess right now it’s almost like I feel irresponsible if I were to have another baby because I want to make sure my son has a healthy mother. Then at the same time I feel like if I don’t have another one I am being weak and letting PPD win. So much to consider!

        • Katy, I totally felt that way too. Like I shouldn’t subject another baby to my issues. But I really wanted him to have a sibling too, and I felt really strongly that our family wasn’t complete. And it’s been okay. It might stay that way or it might get worse, but I really, truly feel that I know more now and therefore can never be as bad as the first time.

      • When you say treatment plan what do you mean? I had PPD-psychosis with anxiety and Obsessive thoughts with my first baby. I am now pregnant, by surprise-yet delighted!, with my second baby, due in April. I’ve mentioned my history to my OB a few times and no one seems to have a plan of action. They seem to be more focused on a non-traumatic birth, which I do believe can help, but isn’t the cure all. My counselor said you may not have the same experience this time, which I pray is true. But, there should be some type of plan or preventative measures in place to ensure it! I was on zoloft 7 months and gained 35lbs post partum. I don’t wanna take it just incase I get ppd, but I will if it’s what will keep me saine and allow me to enjoy my babys.

        Oh, and I don’t remember much of my precious girl at a very young age. I was in such a horrible, horrible state, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy her and boy do I enjoy her now! (thank God for all the pictures we took!) How much more thankful are we for our babys after going thru hell and living to tell about it! I’m not worried I’ll enjoy baby #2 more. I’m thankful I’ll be able to enjoy him/her from the very start! I’m just so thankful I have an amazing husband and family who helped me along the way and loved on my baby girl so much and really showed me how to when I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to do it myself.

        • My planning included seeing a therapist once a week while pregnant to talk about healthy thoughts and things to do if some of the bad start to creep in. My husband and I did couple’s counseling to help us talk about a plan for him to support me and what I might need (he didn’t cope well when I had PPA/Panic Disorder the first time). And I also had my placenta dried and made into pills, which freaks some people out to no end, but I swear really helped me. I did go on Zoloft again a week before delivery just as a precaution, but I understand your hesitancy to do so. While I had a few bad days, I was able to enjoy my second baby and his babyhood so completely, it was a joy. You will be so much better armed this time to deal with PPD and it’s evil companions even if they do come again. Positive energy and power to you, sister!!!!!

  9. I do agree. I have two kids, and I was ready for the PPD when #2 came. I did get PPD again, but I took action sooner and did more to set myself up for success (like making sure I got out of the house every day at least once, which I did not do with #1).

    However, while the newborn period was easier in terms of dealing with and managing my depression, I am finding that it is becoming harder now as the baby is 15 months old and my other child is 4 years old. I put so many emotional resources into ensuring my wellbeing during the newborn period that now I don’t have much left for the toddler/preschooler years. It’s very hard. PPD definitely lingers (for years in my case), and I don’t know if I will ever consider myself “cured.”

  10. For me, having my second child was not easy, but was definitely easier, for all of the reasons you mentioned. I had/have PPD with both of my children. But, the first time, it went undiagnosed and untreated for so long that my son was 2 years old before I felt like I was getting better. Like several other moms who’ve commented here, I thought that I would never have another child because I didn’t want to go back to such a dark place. It’s for this reason that there are 9 years between my two boys.

    My second child is 10 weeks old now. When pregnant, I decided to take action to make sure I had much more support in place. I began seeing a psychologist regularly while pregnant, so that I would have a good relationship with her once the baby was born. Together with my husband, mother, psychologist, several friends, and Zoloft, I am doing better this time. It’s not perfect, and I struggle some days. But really, is there any parent, whether suffering from PPD or not, who can say that life with a newborn is always sunshine and perfection?

    Several of the moms who’ve commented have mentioned the guilt they feel about not having enjoyed the experience of motherhood with their first child. I struggled with that guilt for so many years myself. But, my psychologist really helped me when she pointed out that feeling guilt implies that you had some control over the situation. She said, “I’m sure that you would have chosen not to have PPD, if you had the power to do that. But, it’s not something you can choose.” What a weight off of my shoulders when I heard that! Now, I say that I wish that my experience with my first son was a happier one. But, I no longer feel guilty about it. Neither do I feel guilty about enjoying my second chance at motherhood more than my first. After all, I love both of my boys very much, even when I’m struggling. Feeling love for both of my children is evidence for me that I’m going to beat this PPD sooner rather than later.

    I wish each of you who are struggling today success in overcoming PPD. It may take a long time, but you can do it.

  11. My experience is somewhat similar…I was pretty scared while contemplating the second child (since it took about 4 years for me to feel like myself again) and very focused on what could I/we control when the baby was born. Then I was walloped with antenatal depression. I was totally unprepared for that ; it was such a hard pregnancy that I both couldn’t wait for the baby to be born and was scared every day of how low I might go. He is almost 5 months now and the preplanning before his birth made a difference. I was able to tell family not to visit right away, felt much more of a partnership with my husband and when I started to spiral, I heartbrokenly could admit it and start to get help. It is still a battle I’m fighting, it is still lonely, but I do have faith that I will get better. I also struggle with guilt about being able to enjoy this second one more. AND I know my soon-to-be 6 year old daughter has much more awareness of what is going on with me and how I cope on the outside, in some ways, matters even more. I still do a lot of holding it together in front of the kids AND I do let her know that I’m having a sad day, etc.

  12. I had postpartum depression/anxiety with my first but wrote it off as lack of sleep, having a difficult time working full time and being away from my son. Looking back I’m not sure how I didn’t see it for what it was. I even started therapy about a year after my son was born but the therapist didn’t label it as such. I eventually quit my job and seemed to find joy again when my son turned 18 months old. When I began to feel the same way after my second son was born, even after I had made so many life changes, I was shocked and full of dread that I was going to have to go through this all over again. It as been so much worse this time because I felt like I knew what was coming and I just had no idea how to make it better. I’m finally calling it what it is and asking for help, so maybe things will begin to look up.

  13. I agree and disagree. I thought I knew what to look for with my second (born 2/22/13) but I actually experienced completely different symptoms this time around and was just recenlty diagnosed with PPD 7 months after she was born. The symptoms were nothing like with my first, I honestly thought there is something wrong with me and started seeing a therapist. She diagnosed it as PPD.

  14. For myself ppd did come till after i had my 3rd. I took charge of everything with my oldest, my second i had a strong support team who lived with me, so i was unaware of the feelings i was having towards my dh and myself. I get anxiety and panic attacks daily and am not on any meds, every day its getting better, my family and dh are very understanding and are there to listen and help but the fear of a 4th scares my the most. My dh and i purposely choice not to have my tudes tied prior having baby, now wish i had but know its all temporary feels and if i had would be my greatest regret. For now i try to love myself and be strong for my 10week old, 3yr old and 5yr old.