Recovering from postpartum depression

As understanding of postpartum depression, and concern for the new moms who might suffer from it, has grown, a body of information about recognizing it has grown, too, just as it should. Recognizing the possibility of postpartum depression can feel like an entire battle on its own, but knowing what might come after that recognition is just as important. Recovery from PPD doesn’t happen all at once, and doesn’t happen the same way every time, but that’s no reason not to become a little more familiar with some of the ways it can go.


Women who recognize that they might be suffering from PPD have found the beginning of the journey that is recovery from PPD, but talking to a doctor or healthcare provider is a very important next step. The sooner postpartum depression is identified and treated, the better, as symptoms can accelerate quickly and make it tough to play so many roles at once. Types of treatment a healthcare provider might recommend include:

  • Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy is sometimes called talk therapy, and some new moms who haven’t seen therapists before can feel reluctant to turn to someone they don’t know to help process feelings they may not feel comfortable with, but therapy can help new moms figure out ways to manage their emotional and hormonal reactions. In addition to being a non-judgmental outlet to talk things through, a therapist who specializes in PPD has training in how to approach the emotions and reactions that can feel so scary to women suffering from PPD. Talking to a new therapist will always involve a degree of discomfort, but it’s so important to feel trust and comfort with a therapist, so as you begin looking for one continue to remind yourself that it’s okay to meet with a few until you find one that fits. This is your recovery, so it’s essential that you feel comfortable!
  • Medication: Depending on the level and type of depression, women suffering from PPD may be prescribed an antidepressant until things get back on track. These medications may take several weeks to work.

Women with PPD are often recommended some combination of these two types of treatment, but not every treatment works for every woman, and it can be hard to tell ahead of time if something does or doesn’t. This means that it’s important for women to feel comfortable talking to any doctors or healthcare providers they end up working with about PPD, so that they feel comfortable speaking up and knowing they’ll be heard if a course of treatment isn’t working.

Sometimes women with PPD start out on the wrong medication, or the wrong dose, or are working with a therapist who they don’t click with. This can feel especially frustrating, since reaching out for treatment can be very difficult all of its own, and to have that treatment not work out at first can be incredibly disappointing. Working towards understanding what the right treatment is for each individual takes work, but the end result is worth it.

When treatment starts to work

Even once treatment starts working, women generally don’t feel completely better right away. Recovery takes time, and is more of a phase of moving forward than the destination women are trying to reach. Sometimes recovery happens slowly enough that it can be hard to recognize, which is one of the many reasons why staying in regular touch with a healthcare provider can be helpful.

One thing to keep in mind during the recovery process is that, as the Mayo Clinic warns, it’s a good idea for women to stick with treatment even after they start to feel better.

  • Mayo Clinic Staff. “Postpartum Depression.” MayoClinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, Aug 2015. Web.
  • “Postpartum Depression.” ADAA. Anxiety and Depression Association of America, Jul 2015. Web.
  • “Postpartum Depression.” MedlinePlus. Feb 27 2017. Web.
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