Will postpartum depression affect future family plans?

Kate Middleton’s reported struggle with postpartum depression has dampened her plans to have another baby with husband William, according to the media. Whether or not that’s true, this is an important topic that deserves attention: how does a mother who suffered from postpartum depression (PPD) decide on whether or not to have another child?

RELATED: 5 misconceptions about postpartum depression

Suppose you have suffered a dark postpartum period but managed to recover through family support, good friendships, counselling, medication or something else which helped you through. Now, the thought of having another child is making an appearance.

Should I have another baby?

Some women who have recovered may feel that the prospect of depression is just too frightening, and either decide against having another baby or postpone it for as long as they can. Others may be optimistic and think that since they recovered last time, they shouldn’t get depressed again. Some have barely recovered from their postpartum depression and are already trying for number two, often avoiding reality and trying hard not to think about it at all if possible.

RELATED: Who is more prone to postpartum depression?

Here is the “sensible” mum’s approach to having another baby after PPD:

  • Have a plan: List all the things that were helpful to you in recovering from PPD and with your partner’s help draw up a plan to be followed if you feel the same way again.
  • Gather support: Establish a network of trusted friends, relatives and other mothers that you can call upon for practical as well as emotional support when things get tough after the baby’s arrival.
  • Have some “you” time: Engage in activities such as Yoga, meditation, being in nature, enjoying the arts, anything that means you can stop and just “be” for a while. What do you enjoy that brings you that wonderful feeling of being alive? It’s not easy to find the time when you have little ones to care for but when you look after yourself first you can look after others better.
  • Ask for professional help: See a counsellor / psychologist when pregnant as a preventative measure – many of the symptoms of PPD may already be present before childbirth.
  • Keep a diary: it will highlight changes in your mood and thoughts so it should be clearer when you need to reach out and ask for help

Finding the answers

Silvia offers more advice for your family plans after PPD on the next page…