Postpartum Depression Can Still Arise Late in the First Year

when can you get postpartum depressionSince I can’t reinforce this enough, I want to remind you (and ALL the doctors out there) that postpartum depression can arise any time in the first year after your baby is born.

Some moms recognize they have PPD pretty early on. For others, the symptoms may have started earlier but they didn’t realize they were signs of PPD, or chalked their feelings up to new mom exhaustion. For others, they feel they’ve been doing just fine, until the darkness slams into them later in that first year. And for others, depression symptoms only show up upon weaning. Everyone is different. The point is that if your baby is 8 months old or 12 months old, it doesn’t mean you can’t have postpartum depression. Many of my readers have believed this, or been told this (GAH!) by their doctors.

Emily from DesignHerMomma bravely shared her story on Babble this week on realizing that she has postpartum depression and anxiety at 8 months postpartum. I wanted to highlight her story here because it’s so important for people to realize the wide span of time during which PPD can occur. Here’s a portion of the story.

“I thought I was in the clear, until a couple months ago. Right around the 6 month postpartum mark, things began to change with me.

Unfortunately, without a shadow of a doubt, I am again suffering from postpartum depression and anxiety. I thought making it past the six month mark with no signs of PPD or PPA meant I was in probably the ‘clear’, but sadly it’s not the case for me.

Did you know postpartum depression and anxiety can strike at any time during the first year? I didn’t.”

Go read her story on Babble.

Photo credit: © c – Fotolia.com

 

About Katherine Stone

is the founder of Postpartum Progress. She has been named a WebMD Health Hero, one of the fiercest women in America by More magazine, and one of the top 20 Social Media Moms by Working Mother magazine. She is a survivor of postpartum OCD.

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Comments

  1. Such a great reminder! I was TEN MONTHS postpartum when it hit with my second child. I thought I was in the clear as well, but soon recognized all of the symptoms that led to my diagnosis with the first. At least this time around I was able to get the treatment I needed as soon as I knew what was going on…

  2. I remain in treatment for PPD/PPA and my daughter will be two soon. This is a very good reminder that it doesn’t have to happen right away and, unfortunately, there’s no off-switch at a year, either.

  3. This is so important to remember. It is absolutely sad that it’s not a commonly known fact. And not only do people not realize it can strike at any time in the first year, too many also think that it goes away or stops being PPD once your baby has their first birthday. A friend of mine was turned away from a PPD support group because it was past her baby’s first birthday and so it couldn’t still be PPD and thus they didn’t welcome her. These were other PPD mamas who were so uninformed and lacking in compassion… just another sign of exactly how far there still is to go in PPD awareness and education.

  4. I went to a Dr. when my daughter was 9 months old and he told me it couldn’t possibly be PPD and that I had a personality disorder. Thankfully, I received better, competent help and am a happy, healthy mom now.

  5. I feel better knowing I have a doctor appointment today, and that it CAN happen at 8 months postpartum.

  6. This site has truly comforted me after untreated Postpartum Psychosis guilted and haunted me for years. I was a teen mom, and didn’t understand what Postpartum Depression even WAS till years and years later. I was checking the Postpartum Psychosis link out and read:

    “You cannot remember how to do things you knew how to do in the past — like how to make a batch of cookies, read a map, program your phone or find the doctor’s office. You may also have trouble focusing, like reading or doing math or following a plot on TV.”

    Tears came to my eyes. Whilst most of the article applied to me, it solved one of my extreme symptoms. I had forgotten how to write my name.

    My whole family abandoned me to raise a two year old child, including my husband, during that whole episode too. They complained about me, about my neglect, the house being unkempt, not answering their calls –but none of them told me about Postpartum Depression. My daughter was around 9 months or older when my serious depression came on. I had been fine up till then, except at her birth, I was a bit weepy — it cleared out and I was doing quite well. I had no driver’s license to get around and talk to people, or visit – my husband worked away, and I was left to tend to the child by myself. I started staying up late, so late that I’d sleep most of the day, neglecting my child, etc. My reaction was to hate my child and this pains me so badly today, because it wasn’t her fault.

    During that period, it became increasingly worse. I could feel myself unraveling; I would sit infront of the computer for 10+ hours, talking to people online(because no one else understood, and it was easy to escape to the imaginary world of online games & roleplaying), sleeping most of the day. I ignored hygiene, eating, and my home & child.

    When my husband finally got laid off from his job, he screamed, yelled and abused me; physically, emotionally and sexually. My family blamed me, that they didn’t blame ‘him’ because I wasn’t doing my duties as a wife.

    I was still left untreated, because I was just a young girl, ignorant in the world of postpartum depression. The additional abuses upon me compounded the problem. My husband started having an affair, two, in fact, and came home to abuse me some more.

    Finally, he wanted a divorce, and hell, by then– I wanted a divorce and I started trying to mentally find myself. It was so hard, because I was not psychiatrically evaluated & this was only my own self to find myself through the darkness of depression. I felt so empty inside; I tried to look inside myself, and I saw nothing; a blank slate. I would laugh in a completely different voice than myself, and I had absolutely no expressions at all.

    Finally, after a few months, it started to subside. I could “feel” my surroundings; I got my driving permit, started working, and my brother was helping me take care of my daughter.

    I don’t recommend any woman going untreated, but believe me – as someone who has experienced Postpartum Psychosis LATE in the first year of the child’s birth; it can happen. I’m living proof, but I got lucky, because I was never suicidal. If I ever wanted to rid of myself, I would have, and that’s the dangerous part. People who are truly suicidal aren’t discussing it on a daily basis, etc…it would just happen if they wished it.

    I am since remarried, my daughter is an Honor’s Student, my pride and joy, and I still raise her myself with my new husband. I feel guilty every single day that her starting out was so terrible after her 9 months, before then I was a perfect mother, and I had it all. Now? I have myself again, and her love, and this brilliant reminder of the struggles we endured. I’d anything if she hadn’t endured those terrible times, true, but I survived — and I am the best mother I can be now. I know if she grows up to have any children, I will be watching her like a hawk and getting her treatment at the first signs. I hope this has helped someone and they’ve the comprehension enough to make the doctor visits, if they’ve just stumped up on this article.

  7. jennifer says:

    Post Partum Depression has alot more to do with copper toxicity than timing of when it “shows” up. I was so relieved after having multiple blood draws to determine nutrient levels in my body. Do the research ladies – copper toxicity and low zinc levels linked.to post partum depression , anxiety, ocd. I cried tears of joy when my holistic doctor explained to me I am not broken – just imbalanced in a few areas pathophysiologically speaking. I carried shame and guilt and to find out.this truth was freeing.
    Low zinc levels and high copper levels google it..you will see 🙂

  8. Hi, I think I am suffering badly of ppd my daughter is a year old , and I didn’t know that ppd could still occur .

    • Heather King says:

      Hi Courtney, I’m sorry to hear that. Yes, it can happen later. I know that seems strange, but it’s possible. It would be good for you to speak with a doctor or therapist that specializes in postpartum mental health. We have a list of specialists divided by city and state right here on this website. You can find that under “find help”. I hope there is someone near you!