Postpartum depression (PPD) is a disorder that women develop after giving birth. The symptoms can include feeling sad, anxious, and exhausted, making it difficult for the mother to take care of herself and her child. PPD can emerge right after birth but commonly emerges one to three weeks after delivery.

Often, women who experience PPD have never experienced another form of depression. A lack of understanding and experience with PPD can be a barrier to seeking help. Because of this, many new moms feel that these symptoms are their fault, or they are weak or inadequate moms. This is not true.

While various factors influence the prevalence of post-partum depression, on average, 10-15% of women develop PPD. It is important for the mother, child, and the existing family that PPD be diagnosed and addressed. Caring for a newborn is difficult enough, and the symptoms of PPD cause the mother to struggle mentally and emotionally.

This makes it difficult for her to care for herself and her child(ren). When a mother struggles this way, it affects the bonding process between mother and infant. Less-than-ideal bonding can then affect the overall development of the infant. Women often struggle with feelings of guilt and shame when struggling with post-partum depression due to an inability to be the mom they want to be. All of this can also impact the family unit.

Women who suspect they might have post-partum depression should seek medical attention. Many women need medication to help them with the symptoms of PPD. Antidepressants can help alleviate the symptoms of depression. For people in faith communities, taking medication for depression can be “controversial.”

It is essential to realize that treating mental health issues with medication is not much different than treating physical ailments with medication. It might be necessary to help one through a difficult time, but it does not mean you will take them forever. No matter how you feel about taking antidepressants, if you think you might have PPD, it is a good idea to be evaluated by a medical professional to understand your options.

According to the March of Dimes, there are several things to look out for if you suspect you might have post-partum depression. They say if you have five or more of the following symptoms for more than two weeks, you might have PPD:

  • Feeling depressed most of the day every day.
  • Feeling shame, guilt, or like a failure.
  • Feeling panicked or scared a lot of the time.
  • Having severe mood swings.
  • Having little interest in things you normally like to do.
  • Feeling tired all the time.
  • Eating a lot more or a lot less than is normal for you.
  • Gaining or losing weight.
  • Having trouble sleeping or sleeping too much.
  • Having trouble making decisions.
  • Having trouble bonding with your baby.
  • Thinking about hurting yourself or your baby.
  • Thinking about suicide.

Therapy can help treat post-partum depression. With PPD, there can be overwhelming feelings that make it difficult to navigate daily life. Often time accompanying this are thoughts. Our feelings, especially when they are big and powerful, often overwhelm our ability to step back and think clearly.

People operate on autopilot, reacting to their thoughts and feelings without the ability to evaluate them and choose a response. A counselor will help you slow down and talk through all the overwhelming thoughts and feelings in therapy.

When one talks about their feelings in the presence of an attuned person who truly cares about how they feel, mirror neurons fire in our brains, giving them a sense that they are no longer alone and no longer carrying whatever burden they have on their own. Additionally, therapy can be a place to address the struggles practically. The life situations resulting from navigating PPD can be discussed, and solutions can be found.

Therapy can also be a place to talk through the impact of postpartum depression on the family. Learning about PPD and how to talk about it with family can bring relief to everyone. Improving communication among family members will ease tensions and foster greater connection and understanding of each other. Counselors are also equipped to provide support to the parenting process.

Easing high expectations and applying self-compassion to yourself can aid in walking through PPD. Counselors can help people figure out what it means to be an effective parent while finding their way through PPD. Minor adjustments to our expectations of ourselves, our spouses, and family members often yield the needed psychological “breathing room.”

Sometimes, post-partum depression can be connected to or exacerbated by things that have happened in our past. There might be unresolved trauma or emotional difficulties that rise to the surface due to PPD.

Therapy can help to explore the root causes of unresolved trauma and emotional stress. In this way, therapy for PPD would be like therapy for other kinds of depression. Understanding the triggers for emotional struggles can bring coherence to one’s life and help a person find a path through PPD.

A therapist can help a person struggling with post-partum depression find ways to practice self-care. Finding what self-care routines and activities help alleviate the symptoms of PPD is different for each person. Some people find relief by increasing their exercise, while others benefit from slowing down and being reflective.

How one is fueling their body with food and their sleep patterns can also be explored with a therapist. Everyday activities can be adjusted to help one move through and alleviate the symptoms of PPD.

Moms navigating post-partum depression might benefit from bringing family members into therapy to discuss the dynamics of relationships at home. PPD causes moms to feel sad, anxious, and overwhelmed, among other things. This can strain spouse relationships and relationships with other children and extended family.

Being able to talk about these issues and gain an understanding of what is going on can help family members support each other during this difficult time. Understanding each other and how this is hard for everyone in the family makes room for more grace and compassion toward each other.

Support groups for post-partum depression can also be helpful. Support groups help individuals not feel so alone with their struggles. They are also a place where one can hear about what others are going through and how they are coping with their struggles.

Realizing that one is not alone and that one’s struggle is not unique can help to reduce the amount of guilt, shame, and feelings of being overwhelmed that a person is experiencing. Finally, support groups for PPD can provide a support system so one feels they have others to turn to and help them through their difficult time.

Many women find it difficult to seek help for post-partum depression. Often, it goes undiagnosed because they are hesitant to disclose their struggles to people for fear of being judged or losing support from those they need as new moms.

If you feel you may be struggling with post-partum depression, please consult with your primary care provider. Taking this brave step could make you feel much better and find the support and resources you and your new baby need. It is not a sign of weakness to ask for help! There are also resources available at the Postpartum Support International website:

Here, you can find educational resources and information about support groups. You can also call the PSI helpline at 1-800-944-4773. Please reach out for help today!


Postpartum depression. March of Dimes. (n.d.).,of%20yourself%20and%20your%20baby.

Mughal S, Azhar Y, Siddiqui W. Postpartum Depression. [Updated 2022 Oct 7]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 Jan. Available from:

“Feeling Down”, Courtesy of Molnar Balint,, CC0 License; “Mother and Child”, Courtesy of Jenna Norman,, CC0 License; “Grief and Shame”, Courtesy of Anthony Tran,, CC0 License; “Mother and Child”, Courtesy of Daiga Ellaby,, CC0 License