Is it possible to prevent Postpartum Depression?

Dear Mama,

Is it possible to prevent Postpartum Depression?   

This is something I have been curious about since having my baby and experiencing a range of emotions that, now looking back, could be categorized as Postpartum Depression & Anxiety.  The feelings began when I realized, just a few days after my daughter was born, that I was unable to breastfeed my daughter. I tried to turn the tide and create milk for 3 months but was unable to do so.  It was unbearably sad. I experienced a loss and I felt alone through it all.

What I craved the most, during my first few months of mothering, was a community of mothers who I could share openly with – who would listen to me, sit with me as I cried, and tell me I was still a good mom even though I couldn’t breastfeed my daughter.  

The fact that I experienced Postpartum Depression and Anxiety is a new realization for me.  I did not resonate with these terms in my first year of motherhood – I wasn’t even that aware of them.  In fact, I didn’t have much knowledge about the postpartum period at all.  When I was pregnant I was solely focused on the pregnancy and birth and gave zero thought to the first weeks and months after birth (beyond what diapers and onesies I would need).

So the entire postpartum period felt like a complete shock.  I felt blindsided by the experience and constantly wondered if this would be my life forever.  We were not prepared logistically – in terms of meals, household support, and pet support – and we were not prepared for how emotional and transformational the time would be.  It was a hard few months!

I wish I would have read a book or taken a course or something that would have helped me realize the physical, emotional, mental, and logistical impact of having a baby.  I know my PPD would not have been so intense had I been more prepared.  

Medical experts believe that because there is no definite way of knowing how a woman’s body will respond to childbirth, they can’t say with 100% certainty that there is a specific prevention for postpartum depression.  

But I believe, as a result of my own experience coupled with research and conversations with midwives, doctors, childbirth educators, and doulas that there is much a woman and her family can do during pregnancy that will lessen her chances of postpartum depression and/or anxiety (or that may, at least, play a role in the reduction of symptoms).

So that’s what I am setting out to do.  I want to help mamas prepare for their postpartum experience so it’s as positive and healthy as can be.  

Here’s what I am doing:

About the Postpartum Planning Course

What I have created is an online postpartum planning program that will provide current as well as holistic information about the postpartum experience including the physical, emotional, mental, and logistical aspects of the postpartum period.  This program will also provide step-by-step guidance on how to prepare for life after birth.

About the Community Group

This group is all about helping new mamas prepare for a positive and empowering postpartum. This is a safe, welcoming, and accepting environment where you can share and ask questions related to pregnancy and postpartum planning.  Join the group here.

The CourageMama online program and community group come straight from my heart and have been created to help mothers have a positive and empowering postpartum experience.  My hope is that they also reduce Postpartum Depression and Anxiety.

May we all shine bright as mothers!

With so much love,