6 Things: The 6 Stages of Postpartum Depression


The Six Stages of Postpartum Depression
Recovering from postpartum depression is, unfortunately, a pretty hard process to get through. It’s not like you can take antibiotics and ten days later you’re all set and ready to go. The process of recognizing, getting treated for, and recovering from postpartum depression can take months and months.

Yes, I know. That completely sucks.

I was thinking about the experience of going through postpartum depression as seen through the lens of the famed “5 Stages of Grief,” the process people go through when dealing with grief and tragedy. Developed by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, a Swiss psychiatrist who wrote the book On Death and Dying, the stages are:

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

According to Wikipedia, “Kübler-Ross originally applied these stages to people suffering from terminal illness, [but] later, to any form of catastrophic personal loss (job, income, freedom). This may also include significant life events such as the death of a loved one, divorce, drug addiction, the onset of a disease or chronic illness, an infertility diagnosis, as well many tragedies and disasters.”

Could we look at the process of going through postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety in a similar way? I think so. And I think it might help moms understand what they’re going through a little better.

The Six Stages of Postpartum Depression

  1. Denial: This must be what new motherhood is like. I’ll be alright. It can’t be postpartum depression, because I’m not mentally ill. I’m sure it will wear off soon. I just need more sleep.
  2. Anger: Nobody understands what I’m going through. Why me?! This is supposed to be a time of joy. I don’t deserve this. I don’t want to have to take medication. I don’t want to go to therapy. I shouldn’t have to call a doctor. This is not fair.
  3. Bargaining: If I just exercise more and eat better I’ll be fine. If I take vitamins. If I could just get to the point where the baby sleeps through the night, I’ll be okay. If I get closer to God and pray more, this will surely go away. I just need to work harder.
  4. Depression: I should just leave my family. I’m bringing everyone down. They all would be better off without me. My poor baby doesn’t deserve a mother like this. I’ll never get better so there’s no point in going on.
  5. Acceptance: What’s happening to me isn’t normal and I can’t ignore it anymore. It’s not my fault. It is okay for me to talk to a doctor. It’s okay for me to ask for help. I can take medication or go to therapy or do whatever is necessary for my health and that of my family. Postpartum depression and anxiety are temporary and treatable with professional help.

When it comes to PPD, I have to add a sixth stage. The stage that comes after acceptance, after the treatment, after the time when you start feeling better—but aren’t 100%. I call it the post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD stage, because even after a year of getting treated and getting better, it took me another year just to get over the trauma of what I went through and become comfortable with motherhood.

6. PTSD: I still worry that PPD will return. I’m constantly looking over my shoulder. Every time I feel bad I’m convinced that I’ve gone back there. I feel like I’ve lost a lot of confidence in myself and I don’t know if I’ll ever get it back. I worry I hurt my child in the long-term because of how I was when he was a baby.

It takes a while, but you’ll get past the PTSD too. At that point, finally, you reach complete recovery. You are able to experience the joy of motherhood. You are able to believe that you are truly over PPD. You feel the love that was always there, buried by PPD, for your child, and you trust that you are better and that you are a good mom.

Kubler-Ross believed that not everyone would necessarily experience all the stages in the exact same order or even have all of them. She felt that most people would go through at least two of the five stages, and that it was possible to switch back and forth between them. I imagine the same is true for postpartum depression.

My favorite part of the Wikipedia entry on the five stages of grief is something I want you to consider carefully. To make a point, I’ve replaced the word “grief” with “postpartum depression.”

“Significantly, people experiencing (or caretakers observing) the stages should not force the process. The [postpartum depression] process is highly personal and should not be rushed, nor lengthened, on the basis of an individual’s imposed time frame or opinion. One should merely be aware that the stages will be worked through and the ultimate stage of ‘Acceptance’ will be reached.”

Don’t compare your timeline to others. Don’t expect that you should be better before your time. Don’t give up. You will reach acceptance, and recovery. You will get there.

Note: This article won a 2011 Media Award from Mental Health America, given “in recognition of journalistic excellence in coverage of mental health issues.”

Find more articles from the Six Things series on the right-hand sidebar.

You might also like:

How Recovery From Postpartum Depression is Like Playing Chutes & Ladders

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.

Tell Us What You Think


  1. Don’t forget the GUILT part of step 4. I had overwhelming guilt over the feelings in step 4.
    Great list!

  2. Thank you. I cannot tell you how much this story meant to me.. I am in stage 6.. I hate that I have lost my confidence.. But I know I am not the only one who feels this way.

  3. You are not alone Janna. 4 1/2 years afer the birth of my daughter and I still haven't fully recovered. I live in stage 6 every day. One thing I have learned about PPD, you are never alone, no matter how much you might think you are. <3

  4. I know I can't speak for everyone, but again, Katherine, you nailed it. You definitely triggered some emotion in me as I can recall "circling" in the pattern of denial and bargaining for months. As a nurse I felt like I should have been able to "snap out of it myself" with any combo of exercise, better health, etc. I'm glad that you emphasize not comparing your timeline to others. I think many moms are so eager to feel better as soon as they start treatment that they "survey" others to get a benchmark on when they can expect to feel better. There are so many factors that affect one's own journey to wellness….and it's always good to hear that reminder!

  5. During therapy, we addressed the stages of grief and its so right on for me. Considering some PPMDs can be caused by early child hood experiences (at least for me), not only did I go through the grief of having PPMDS but also the grief of not a supportive childhood, etc. Tough work to go through, but it all make ssnese. thank you!

    • Brenda Curial says:

      Sabine I also suffered from severe postpartum and ended up in hospital for two weeks until the meds took . Imaprine was all there was. Not a lot of drugs back then. Marc was born in 1985 and not a lot was known . Not one doc in the ER took me seriously. My family still 30 years later can’t understand. But… I pulled through it and my baby is now an ER doctor who has great self worth and loves what he does. He is married to a wonderful girl. It was a hard road but rather than killing myself I kept saying one more day. I was putting my husband through law school, and had a two year old. I am now 60 and have taught school for over 30 years. Yes you can do it.

  6. Mistress Dodo says:

    I suffered PTSD in my early twenties. I now have PPA/PPD after giving birth to my son 23 months after having twins.
    The sixth stage you describe I also went through when recovering from PTSD. In your recovery you are so focussed on feeling "good" that any "feeling down" day becomes "the enemy". It takes a little while before logic takes over and you realise that every normal person has their ups and downs and not to worry about them. It is a matter of experiencing a down day without a major slide a few times to get confidence in yourself again. This Is Normal!!!

  7. WOW. That is really it! If only I had read that when I was in stage 6. The fear that every bad day is just a sign that you aren’t recovered, you won’t ever be, or that it is coming back all over again.
    I am so proud to say that I have kicked that PTSD outta here. A bad day is just a bad day now. Good bye timelines, expectations, guilt. Hello life! Hang in there mommas. Your time will come!

  8. Katherine-
    This post is pure awesomeness!!!
    Thank you for putting what many of us (yours truly included) have felt/are feeling.

  9. …Got so excited I didn't even finish!
    This post is pure awesomeness!!!
    Thank you for putting what many of us (yours truly included) have felt/are feeling into words!!
    Thank you!

  10. OH. MAH you? Thank you for this. This is so 100% spot on.
    I was diagnosed with PTSD after I had a really bad relapse that triggered the painful memories of after my delivery. It was like I was living in a weird Deja Vu. In my mind, history was repeating itself and it was terribly frightening. I think I bumped back down to denial and then went through all of the steps again until I reached acceptance which is the hardest stage of all of them I think.
    I also like to point out that, EVERYONE’s timeline is different. Don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t at level 3 and so on.
    The thing is we should just know that we will get there in our own time. That? Is always true.

  11. Thank you! This meant the world to me….This is exactly what I feel I have been going through…
    Thanks again,

  12. You took the words straight out of my head. Feeling down has indeed become the enemy. Thanks for sharing your thoughts…and my thoughts, too!! 🙂

  13. Katherine-
    Been meaning to tell you — LOVED this post!

  14. Katherine Stone/Post says:


  15. Katherine Stone/Post says:

    Glad you liked it!

  16. Katherine Stone/Post says:

    Stage 6 is key for so many. You think you're done, and then you realize not quite. That can be so painful. But it's a reality of what we go through, and it helps to know that and be prepared for it.

  17. Katherine Stone/Post says:

    Great point. Thanks for sharing!

  18. Katherine Stone/Post says:

    You'll get that confidence back. Really.

  19. Katherine Stone/Postpartum Progress says:


  20. Thank you for the postings. I am from Canada but am a teacher in Saudi Arabia. To the Saudi's PPD does not exist. When I went home this summer to Canada, I found a wonderufl support group that I still keep in touch with. I often well most of the time feel they are the only ones who understand me. I don't know what stage I am in because it changes so much. I am scared to have more children due to PPD and I know I never want to have another child when I am so far away from support. My daughter is ow 8 months old and not sleeping through the night. My advice to other moms with PPD is to write and find a support group. In the middle of the night when I can'tget back to sleep, this support group has been an incredible blessing. It can be lonely. Doctors don't tell you about these feelings while you are pregnant and it seems taboo to say you are tired or the baby cries too much to family or friends. Keeping your feelings inside is very dangerous. Keep communicating with others who will listen, not give advice. Best of luck to you.

  21. A'Driane D. says:

    Reading this brought tears to my eyes, especially the praying and getting closer to God part….I'm at the acceptance stage, starting the treatment journey this week, after just realizing I'm tired of my boys seeing me cry and snap and flip out. I don't know if I had ppd after having my oldest, but 9 mos after having my youngest, I'm finally looking it in the face and deciding to just deal with it. Just found this site, what I've read so far has been very helpful- thank you.

  22. I am actually experiencing the 6 stages in a different order:
    After almost a year in treatment- i realize that i am angry- VERY angry at my husband, mother and family for not noticing or saying anything to me that could have helped me get help earlier than 2.5 years into my PPD. It was quite an epiphany today.

  23. My daughter experienced PPD with the birth of her 4th child. Our granddaughter was born on a Tuesday afternoon and three days later her mother (our daughter) started crying and didn't stop for almost 2 years. I recognized it right away and called in sick for the rest of the week and stayed with her. Her older children, all girls, were 9, 7 &5 at the time. Her father and I made sure she was never alone, her sister in law pitched in too. When the baby was 2 weeks old, she came to live with us and I reduced my hours at work (eventually I resigned) and every day I would take baby Kerri and spend the day and sometimes late into the evening at my daughter's house. It was without a doubt the darkest time for our family.
    At that time, there was NO help nearby. Her OB-GYN turned his back on her. The nurse midwife in his office who had delivered 3 of our granddaughters tried to help but wasn't effective at all. We had trips to the hospital in the wee hours of the morning because they prescribed Ativan for panic attacks and she overdosed, she is also epileptic and the lack of sleep played havoc with that.
    However, she came out of this stronger than before and so did her Dad & I. We have no doubt that without us and her sister in law our daughter would not be here today.

  24. Thank you so much for this. My oldest son is 3 and I am still somewhat in the PTSD stage. I am more accepting of what happened but still racked with guilt over how I treated my son in those early months.
    I have since had another son and thankfully did not suffer with depression afterwards. It has been a blessing, but the joy of his baby days were tinged with guilt that my oldest wasn't rejoiced in like his little brother.
    You may enjoy a recent blog post of mine, entitled "on postnatal depression, combination feeding and guilt". http://www.alternative-mama.com/on-postnatal-depr
    Thanks for your wonderful site.

  25. I like the valuable information you provide in your articles. I will bookmark your blog and check again here frequently. I am quite certain I’ll learn a lot of new stuff right here! Good luck for the next! Best Regards, Pedro

  26. Hi, I am doing a project on PPD for my University Family Studies Class…I came across your blog and just wanted to say that to all those women going through PPD everyday to be strong and bold…no matter what the circumstances are. Know in your heart that what you believe can make you confident and committed to turn your PPD around in a new direction.
    Best Regards to ALL!

  27. My baby boy just turned 20 months and i am still fighting PPD. My life turned into absolute hell. My marriage is crumbling. I am alone, depressed, angry at myself and everyone around me for letting me down. Dark tunnel with no way out .

  28. Katherine, this is a really helpful post. I think that Elisabeth Kubler-Ross stages can be applied to almost any crisis which feels like a shock to the system and needs integrating into our psyches. We humans tend to put up a lot of fight against the intrusion of shocking experiences like loss or trauma or mental illness etc. However, if we can get support and integrate the new normal and what it means to us, we can be okay, sometimes even better than before with the right help and support.

    Thanks for all you do and continue to do. The new site looks great by the way!


  29. Thank you for this. I especially like what you said about adding a stage – ptsd. I’m in that stage, now. I thought I was better. I treated it, weened off the meds, was doing fine…. but I’m not 100% fine. I still feel resentment towards my baby and the poor kids is 13 months old. Even though he’s my fourth child, and as far as I know, fourth time with ppd, it’s nice to know I’m still “recovering” and that there isn’t anything permanently wrong with my brain. lol So, anyway, thank you. 🙂

  30. How do you even go about getting treatment for PPD? I had twins 7 mo ago today and I hate the way I have been feeling for the past couple months. I have two older children also (5 and 3) and I will just sit and cry for no reason and I don’t want my children to see that anymore. I just want to be happy, I have 4 beautiful healthy children. I should be happy.

    • The best thing to do is call your doctor and discuss how you are feeling. You can talk to your OB, or your pediatrician, or your primary care physician. Whoever you feel most comfortable with.

  31. Hello,

    I just tried to ween myself off Celexa, my doctor told me I would know if my symptoms came back. I sure did. Trying not to worry about still being on the pills, it’s only been 7 months since I was diagnosed with PPD. Still working on it.

  32. Thank you so much for this post, my partner doesn’t understand and him reading this has giving him a new perspective.

  33. Have you heard of MotherWoman? http://www.MotherWoman.org

  34. Amanda Russell says:

    Thanks Katherine for this. My little guy is going to be a year old next month and you described it perfect when you said the last stage to recover is PTSD. I’m over my ppa and feel 100 percent back to myself but there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about what I went through and sometimes I will think about 20 times a day and I get mad because I can’t stop thinking about it. Some days are way better than others and I just tell myself that some day it won’t consume my mind any more. I guess I go through periods were ill go weeks were its not on my mind much and then bam it pops in mind for a week and I can’t get it out. I ate it but know like you this is the last stage and just to look forward . 🙂

  35. This final stage seems to be lasting forever, I constantly fear going back to that dark place and it often ruins the joyful moments I have. All I want is one day, or even one HOUR, where I don’t think about it. But it’s always on my mind and it’s so hard to try to enjoy life sometimes 🙁

    • Nancy Allen says:

      Dear Moms, I am 65 years old and went through terrible post partum anxiety/ depression after my two children were born 30 plus years ago. At that time I felt as if my Life was over. No one even knew what PPD was. Now I am a new Grandma to an 8 month old. It has been the purest of joy, healing, serenity, knowing. But here is some perspective from my lifetime of experiences. I have been involved in alternative healing ( Reiki level one trained) and related healing for 15 years, also B.Sc. In pre-med bio, microbiology, science teacher, and support group leader 12 years.

      Sometimes mantras help: ” I am learning from this experience, and am getting a little better each day.” ” I am strong and capable, even though the chatter is telling me otherwise. ” There are some wonderful healing meditations and positive affirmations on You Tube – search around until you find one that feels right. When you rest visualize a healing cocoon around you. This space is for your energy only.

      Metaphysical folks say that we choose our parents – to learn certain things. Consider that possibility. Even very young babies absorb. ” I am so glad you came to us. I love you just the way you are. We are learning together. ”

      Forgiveness seems so important. Others just can not understand much unless they have been here. Forgive your husbands. They are doing their best.

      So how do the babies/ children of PPD Moms turn out? Well, just fine. My two are highly motivated, kind, good people, now having their own families. Because of all that I went through, I feel well-equipped to help get these grand babies going. Adversity ultimately teaches us things we could otherwise have not known. I suspect PPD Moms are special in many ways – very sensitive, wanting to help all, kind, intuitive, can feel the energy / feelings of others- and absorb these. We don’t have to Perfect.

      This journey certainly isn’t easy, but know in your hearts and spirits that the greatest joys in Life are ahead. You hold a miracle in your arms. May you be Blessed with all that is good and beautiful as you travel.

      • Diana Esquibel says:

        I am certain that my new daughter-in-law has PPD but I don’t know how to approach her and my son is worried that it will make things so much worse for the family if I do. Any advice would be appreciated.

        • Diana, perhaps have someone approach her with whom she has a very close and trusting relationship, be it your son or a sibling or close friend. It’s definitely worth letting her know that many women struggle with a new baby and that if she is not feeling like herself and is suffering it’s possible she could have the very common but also fully treatable illness of PPD. If all of this is expressed out of full love and support for her and she knows that everyone believes she is a great mom and that she’s not at fault she may be more accepting of the conversation.

  36. I am in a pretty interesting situation. My husband has bi-polar disorder and I feel the weight of that as well as my motherly duties bring me down. I cry a lot and I’m not sure what to do anymore. I am a stay at home mom so I don’t get to get out much. I really don’t know what to do anymore.

    • Alicia, you sound like you are struggling and have a lot of stress. Have you been able to talk to your doctor about this? Give him or her a call. Talk about what symptoms you are having and whether they are impacting your ability to function in your daily life? There IS help.

  37. My final stage is the guilt. Oh man the guilt. Feeling guilty for having felt the way I did about my child, guilty for having thought the things I did about my child, guilty for the way my child would look at me when I would yell, the fear that I can remember seeing in his eyes. Now I just have to focus on the fact that it wasn’t me. I wasn’t the one who said those things. I am still flumoxed that I was so angry. That’s why it took so long for me to realize that I had PPD. I wasn’t sad, I was angry. Oh so angry.

  38. Jennifer Mount says:

    I just recovered from postpartum sycosis and now pregnant again. I’m worried that this will reacure. Its only been two months since myrecovery. IM 38 and this will be my 6th baby. I fought so hard to get better and I made a full recovery before getting pregnant again. What should I expect? Thank you for your help

  39. I hate that I feel like this. It makes me feel like I am driving my husband away and that makes me even more sad.

  40. I have just entered stage 5. My baby is 9 months. All along I felt like I could kick this without drugs and wondered why I was a “weak” person and did not want to ask for help. I waned the feelings to just go away and be able to deal with it. I hope now that I will be medicated I will be on the road to recovery. I would love to hear anyone’s thoughts. I love my family so much and do not want to be a burden

    • Melissa Burke says:

      My PPMD lasted 2 years. Now that I am past it I realize that we have grown closer as a family because of our struggle. We all had to change and grow a little because of it and I am actually in some ways grateful. I know that sounds strange but I think it helped us deal head on with issues that would have eventually surfaced. PPMD puts people in such a raw state. Things can’t be pushed under the rug as easily. That can actually be a good thing. I hope you feel better soon. You will eventually feel better.

  41. Marybeth says:

    Thank you for this, I am definitely in stage 6! In fact I was saying all those words almost verbatim to my husband last night, who is trying hard to understand what I’m feeling but really can’t.

  42. Katherine thank you so much for reaching out to us. I’m really not sure what stage I’m at but I’m no longer having intrusive thoughts anymore and I’m not scared of them either because I know they are not my thoughts. I currently feel like I’m healed but not completely because I don’t want to get out of the house or do anything fun. I just look at people and think to myself ‘they must be faking their smiles’ because I’m not feeling smiley at all. I’m expecting another baby and can’t stop wondering if this will translate to a new horrible episode after the birth of my second baby

  43. Mandy… trying t figure out how t tell someone i think they hv ppd

  44. How long could it take you to go through those six stages? It it possible for it to be only two weeks, or is it normally months? And, if it is possible, could it just be because you have had depression and anxiety for the majority of your life, so you already know the signs, and that’s why you could have realized so quickly?

    • Hi Emma – It depends on so many factors and it’s different for every mom. But yes, if you have a history of depression and anxiety and catch it quickly and treat it quickly, you could pass through these stages fairly fast. No two moms are the same.

  45. I have a major question..do women that try to hurt or do hurt their babies, they dont remember but can tell you all activities that happend before, during and after a harmful incident to a infant…and when hild services become involved and polygraph is failed regarding the incident…what that called…PPD? PTSD? or just plain lying about whats happend.

    • Heather King says:

      Hi Sherrie, I’m not sure I understand your question exactly, but I think you are asking if someone hurts a baby or tries to and then says they don’t remember (but they do remember before and after), are they lying? Or can a polygraph be failed due to PPD or PTSD and not because of lying?

      If that’s what you are asking, I’m not sure anyone can answer it. This is something only someone close to the situation would be able to investigate and decipher, and even then it would be a difficult thing to know for sure. I’m sorry I can’t be more helpful.

  46. I lost my mind, and Im just coming back…. Im in stage 5!!! You guys are not alone!! Look for my Anthology entitled “Postpartum Blues.: Releasing feb 22nd 2016!!

  47. This is crazy. This is exactly what ive been going through. My baby is 7mos and i just feel like im in this never ending cycle of depression and anxiety. And some days i thought i would be getting better and feel like maybe i can leave her but then days i dont know when will i ever get over this feeling. I dont knw how to shake this feeling. Logically i tell myself, if i leave her she will be ok but my heart starts pounding and my stomach starts to hurt. I cant do it. Also i keep going between anger and bargaining. I just feel like no one understands and then i think maybe if i start excercisinf and keeping myself busy then itll get better, but it doesnt

    • Heather King says:

      Desire, I hope you are seeking help from a doctor or therapist. If not, that’s the first step to getting better. You need help with this, we all do. This is 100% treatable with treatment. It’s going to be okay. I know it doesn’t feel like it right now, but with time and help, you won’t feel like this anymore. I’m sorry you have been struggling and I’m sending you peace…

  48. I had convinced myself I have a brain tumor until I read this …I had a really difficult delivery because the baby was 11 pounds 7 ounces and every since he has been born I just don’t feel right… its been about 9 weeks and the feelings are just getting worse

    • Lady El Duro says:

      I came to this site because I wanted to know if you could have postpartum depression and still feel a strong love for your children instead of hating them. Because I have 6 kids and I love all of them deeply and I am close to them. I don’t know if maybe I’m just depressed because I already suffer from PTSD, Schizoaffective disorder, and Anxiety so I was totally confused but this post helped me a lot. Thanks

  49. Would this make my wife resent me and start arguments with me but when I stand up for myself she turns it around on me and says it’s all my fault? I’m at a lost here she is ready to take my girls and move out

    • Heather King says:

      The struggle she is having getting along with you could be part of PPD, yes. Often mamas who are dealing with PPD or PPA struggle with irritability and impatience. This is often directed at their partners. It would be good to try to talk with her about getting help to see if she can admit that she has been moody, anxious, sad, etc. (or whatever her symptoms are overall) I’m sorry you guys are going through this, Michael.

      • Letty Bagdanov says:

        When a person says that they are suffering from pod , do they leave the kids and go out partying with there friends having a great time? Only depresed when needing to stay home with the kids?

        • Heather King says:

          It’s possible, Letty. People cope in some really unhealthy ways when they are struggling. Partying may feel good and provides a feeling of freedom. Of course it isn’t a healthy answer, but when people are hurting, we don’t always choose the right things. Some people have a harder time staying at home with the kids…they are easily bored or tired, especially when battling mental health issues. There isn’t anything engaging enough to remove the focus on the sadness, if that makes sense? Chemicals, like alcohol, can often provide that feeling of ease and happiness. It is short-lived and actually ends up causing more depression. I hope the person you speak of is able to get some professional help that focuses on healthy coping. Being honest with how a person copes with stress is part of getting better. So a mother that is partying like this would need to talk with a therapist to say that is how they are coping and then the therapist could help work on that.

    • Glendale Smith Duret says:

      Hi Michael, as I stated on my post I love my newborn and other kids to death and I feel close to them. I do find myself resenting my husband and being angry with him for new reason. I find myself blaming him and being upset with him for no reason. So from what I am experiencing I would say yes to your question. I found that praying with my spouse eases my anger towards him but being medically treated is also just as important as spiritual treatment.

  50. I’m currently in treatment for a bout of PPA/OCD that knocked me off my feet at 5 months PP. Though I can now see that the anxiety was building from the start, I can’t begin to express the heartbreak I’ve experienced, going from a thrilled new mom to an anxious mess. The one thing I am so grateful for is that I’ve never lost my ability to care for my daughter and I’m still able to engage with her as much as ever; and she is a happy, thriving 9 month old. I can relate so much to this because any time I have a decent day, I completely break down the next time I feel bad again. I’ve even said from the beginning that I will most certainly have PTSD from this, so it’s reassuring to see that others can relate to that feeling. My issue is my mind just goes between different obsessive thoughts, which I recognize are totally silly and I’m at this very “annoyed” point now. On the days I notice more of my own thoughts, I feel like rejoicing- who would have thought you could be so happy about something once so automatic?! I don’t know if anyone else with pp OCD can relate to this, but what I want to happen is to stop noticing my thoughts at all- just to go back to “just being”, if that makes sense? I can be having totally normal thoughts, but then I’m noticing within a few seconds that I’m having them. And it’s words/phrases, sometimes it seems like anything can start spinning around in there. I try to tell myself to keep focused on the progress; I’m eating, sleeping, caring for my daughter, working, socializing…pushing myself every day. My biggest fear is that I will lose control and my ability to function. In the beginning, I could hardly eat and sleep was a joke; I had several nights of none at all, shaking like a leaf on my living room couch. Constant panic and dread was all I felt at work and home. I still manage that nameless dread at times and I have a very hard time believing I’m getting better sometimes. I count on my husband and mom to encourage me and point out their observations because it’s very difficult for us to be objective in recovery. One thing I tell myself is that these are not my thoughts; I have a medical condition that is causes my brain to misfire and I’m working on getting it under control. My real thoughts are always there, too; it’s just that the two are there together and the good need to prevail (hopefully sooner than later!).

  51. Can it be on and off? Some days I fill okay and then there is days like today i just can’t handle my self or anything around me? I’d also like to add I am a first time mom does that have anything to do with how I am filling? Somebody please reply back to me. I don’t understand this.

    • Heather King says:

      Hi Jasmine,

      Yes, it can come in waves like this. That’s normal. It can depend on hormones and sleep deprivation, and many things. If you are feeling depressed most of the time, and cry a lot, and feel a loss of connection and hope, it is most likely PPD. Please talk to a doctor or therapist. This will get better with time and help. Being a first-time mom may have something to do with it. It’s a HUGE life transition and many mamas struggle through it. You are NOT alone. I’m sending you peace.

  52. I do not like that te word ‘ignore’ is used. I do notice a difference when I eat better and exercise more. I can tell when it’s working. It is not normal to feel the way I feel, but that doesn’t mean I (and other women) are ignoring their symptoms of depression because they don’t take medication for it. I hope this doesn’t come across as rude, I apologize if it does, I just thought I should mention it. Everyone is different and needs different help. Acceptance isn’t always about medication. It’s about accepting that you feel this way and need to change what you are doing. Thank you.

  53. Interesting post. Now i have question that i hope someone would tell me what to do. I gave birth to my 2nd daughter, it was wonderful..i love them very much. I am still not clear about this postpartum etc, i suddenly have this uncontrollable anger, mood swing, extreme anxiety . and few days ago i have this guilt feeling that make me think i should end my life..this is all happen after i started taking birth control shortly after having 2nd daughter. I am afraid of myself that i am losing control and end up hurting my children. Do you thing i have these symptom? Should i seek medical help..I dont know and i am not sure or i should just let this go. Thank you.

    • Heather King says:

      Hello Nelly,

      Please reach out for help. You are describing symptoms that require help. Maybe this birth control is not a good fit for you. Many women experience hormonal changes that cause these symptoms after starting birth control. PLease talk with your prescribing doctor and let them know what you’ve been experiencing since starting the birth control. I’m sorry this has happened, but hang in there and reach out for help and you will see it improve! If your doc says it can’t be birth control, talk to someone else. Your gut feeling about YOUR body is most likely spot on, and you deserve good help and for a doctor to trust that you are advocating for yourself for a reason.

  54. I just found this site and it has been very helpful to read. I am 5 weeks PP and I am wondering if it’s possible for me to have gone through the 5 stages in this short time. I have depressed feelings of inadequacy most of the time and I don’t feel a strong connection with my baby. This is my second and my first is 2.5. I have guilt that I am not a good mother and I am not giving my children what they need and I cry a lot. Thank you.

    • Heather King says:

      Hi Heather, welcome. If you have these symptoms, no matter when or for how long, it’s time to talk with a professional about it and get some help. You don’t have to carry this guilt. It isn’t your fault that you’re struggling. It’s an illness and it’s treatable. It will get better with help and time!

  55. I experience them All…off and on Every Day. Thanx for Your article.

  56. I went to my gp three days ago as I had reached acceptance I have found I can totally relate to everything you have described. I have four children and and 7 months postpartum with my 4th. I am on anti anxiety meds and can I say what a difference they make. I feel calmer than I have for a long time and I can’t believe I was reluctant to take medicine. Acceptance you should add is the point where you hot rock bottom the place where you realise you can’t possibly wake up another day feeling like you are in a very dark place. I am thankful I got help when I did for the sake of my sanity. I am reading up on postpartum depression and am comforted to know I am not alone. The mere fact that Adele has went through this gives me hope. I think this article should be given to everyone once they reach the acceptance stage. It is a very personal thing my sister was in shock I have it as I wore my mask well although looking back I can see all the signs. I am sure this journey has many hard days ahead but what I am clinging on too is the fact I am aware now of what I am going through. It’s like a relief to know I am going to come through this as it’s a terrible thing to suffer from 😢

  57. Thank you for this.
    I think I am in stage 4 and have been here for while. My youngest is 2 months old and I feel terrible. I had PPD after my second but did not pursue help as I got pregnant with my third. Plus I have a lot of resentment towards my husband. I love and adore my kids but I had no idea what the hell I signed up for.
    Thanks for letting me vent!

    • Heather King says:

      Hello Si, yeah none of us knew what we were getting into 🙂 It’s HARD, especially when struggling with PPD/PPA, etc.

      It’s time to make that call for help, mama. Even the resentment can be a symptom of PPD. You can get better, with help!

      Peace to you….

  58. Nadia Caudle says:

    Thank you so much I really do still have postpartum depression right now


  1. […] I guess the epilogue is most resonant with me. I am also in what Katherine Stone calls the ‘PTSD stage‘ of postpartum depression and anxiety: ‘I still worry that PPD will return. I’m […]

  2. […] Undiagnosed PPD Question Two more articles that were enlightening. http://www.postpartumprogress.com/si…tum-depression 6 Surprising Symptoms of Postpartum Depression and […]

  3. […] 6 Things: The 6 Stages of Postpartum Depression – postpartum depression | Postpartum Progress Reply With Quote […]

  4. […] article describes the 7 stages of PPD.  This article encourages me, helping me to know that I’m not crazy, just […]

  5. […] A different way to look at postpartum depression: The six stages of PPD […]

  6. […] Then I found the wonderful site created by Katherine Stone – this was different to any other site I’d seen. For starters there was a photo of Katherine – she was real, her warm smile was so welcoming. It was regularly updated with relevant information and new posts all of which seemed to have points where I was nodding along… It gave me hope, particularly The 6 Stages. […]

  7. […] happen to mothers with maternal mental illness so often. I watched women suffer the PTSD in that sixth stage of PPD for years after they fully recovered from the PPD itself precisely because of that kind of lack of […]

  8. […] the time of this writing if I do or if I don’t, but I finally have some peace after reading The 6 Stages of Postpartum Depression by the amazing Katherine Stone the other night. So if I had to guess, I would say that I do in […]

  9. […] article from Postpartum Progress is really helpful in explaining that […]

  10. […] 6 Stages of Postpartum Depression, Knowing the stages and understanding them really helped me to climb out of denial and face this head on. I was also better equipped to identify where I was emotionally, and admit to what I was feeling. […]

  11. […] decision to grow one’s family is never a simple one, but for those who’ve had postpartum depression before, it comes with an extra layer of emotional distress. Those who’ve had postpartum depression […]

  12. […] to that of grief. Katherine Stone, who won a Media Award from Mental Health America for her blog post, applied Kübler-Ross’ five stages of grief to PPD. As a therapist who treats mothers struggling […]

  13. […] This is an excerpt from the website Post Partum Progress that I did find to be super helpful. Everything I read I swear I could have written myself because it hit so close to home. This came from The Six Stages of Post Partum Depression: […]