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Trigger Warning: Mentions of mental health distress, self-harm, and suicide.
Postpartum depression (PPD) is a common mental health condition that can affect anyone. While it can feel hard or lonely, healing from PPD is possible.
About 1 in 8 women report symptoms of PPD in the year after giving birth. Everyone experiences PPD differently. Feeling sad, anxious, or overwhelmed are some of the signs. You might not feel connected to your baby, or you might not feel love or care for the baby. If these feelings last longer than two weeks, you may have PPD.
To learn more about PPD, including the signs and symptoms, check out our fact sheet.
Meet the women. Watch their stories.
Everyone’s PPD journey is different. Hear from women who experienced PPD and found their path toward healing.
While Allison, Clarissa, Emily, Sara, and Shawnette come from different backgrounds, they have one important thing in common: they made the decision to get help for PPD. Watch them discuss their PPD experiences and the ways they found support.
Watch each woman's individual story below
"There are people out there that will help you, and you just have to look for it.” - Clarissa
"Be strong and find your support system to give you that courage to make the first steps." - Sara
“I might have went through the worst, but the days are getting better.” - Shawnette
“I was able to give trust and let go of the little things that I was so anxious about prior.” - Allison
"I just knew from a couple of other friends having PPD that I needed to do something.” - Emily
About 1 in 8 women report symptoms of PPD
About 1 in 8 women report symptoms of PPD in the year after giving birth. PPD is different for everyone.
Read more stories of hope and healing:
My PPD journey began June 20, 2015. I was miscarrying my first child and was completely shattered. Shortly after I was pregnant again and was anxious and fearful the entire pregnancy, waiting for a doctor to tell me there was no heartbeat. That never happened and on May 6, 2016, my first son was born. Everyday intrusive thoughts flooded my mind, I kept imagining the worst-case scenario, and was terrified to leave him for a second, while also wanting to just be alone and sleep the day away. My husband seemed so much more emotionally equipped at parenting and it seemed to come easy to him. Once my husband went back to work 2 weeks after our son was born, I struggled. I struggled with breastfeeding, I struggled with getting out of the house, I struggled with any type of self care. This went on for months, I wasn't myself, but I was trying my hardest to mask all of these emotions, because I was ashamed.
After months of struggling, crying by myself in the shower, and avoiding friends, I finally joined an online support group for newly post partum moms and moms who were grieving a loss. Sharing my feelings and journey with other women empowered me, showed me that I wasn't alone. Their support and encouragement convinced me to share how I was feeling with my husband, all of the shame started to vanish, and he immediately supported me through the struggles. He insisted on me getting out in the fresh air each day, showering each day, and we alternated nights so that we shared the around the clock baby duties. This helped immensely, and I really started to enjoy motherhood. Everyday isn't perfect or easy, but now I don't feel alone, I don't feel ashamed, I can speak up and advocate for myself.
My healing journey has had its ups and downs, my husband and I lost two more babies to miscarriage and birthed three other healthy full-term babies over the last 6 years. These losses have caused me fear and uncertainty during my pregnancies, but now I don't suffer in silence. Both my care team and my husband have done a wonderful job at recognizing when I'm anxious or fearful and they've been a constant support over the last 7 years.
Motherhood and postpartum is not linear, I think all mothers struggle sometimes, but having support, sharing my feelings and taking care of myself, has made an incredible difference in my life and allowed me to enjoy this incredible role of mother. Seeing my children smile, grow and look up to me makes me so proud and they encourage me each day.
A few weeks after my daughter’s birth, I found myself very on edge. My mind was racing and I couldn’t stop thinking about every bad thing that could happen. I worried about whether she was breathing. Then I would check—and check again. I kept telling myself it would get better as she got a little older, but my anxiety just got more out of control. My husband noticed it getting in the way of my ability to sleep. It was also interfering with my ability to enjoy my baby. I tried to convince myself—and my husband—it was all okay; that I could handle it by myself. But another complicating factor was my own guilt.
I’m a child of immigrants. I was raised to believe when things are hard, I just need to try harder, I was taught to be grateful for what I have. My parents struggled, suffered, and sacrificed for me—so I felt guilty for being anxious instead of just being thankful for having a healthy baby. The guilt made my anxiety even worse. I was finally able to talk to a therapist and get a handle on my feelings. She was wonderfully supportive and a survivor of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders herself. It was incredibly helpful to have my experience validated and see that you can come out on the other side.
I’ve worked hard to understand and un-learn old patterns of guilt and self-blame. I’m now a perinatal psychotherapist working with adult children of immigrants, examining how narratives of struggle and sacrifice interfere with our ability to give ourselves compassion and grace during the postpartum period. I’m grateful for the opportunity to share my story so children of immigrants—and all new parents—can understand they’re not alone, and that help is available.
I first experienced PPD when I was weaning my daughter – it was shocking, unexpected. I didn’t know that PPD could happen so late. The simplest of things were hard – waking up, getting out of bed, dressing my daughter. I felt frozen and uncomfortable in my own skin. I didn’t know how to move forward.
When I got to the point that every day was harder and harder to get through, I knew I needed help. I found a therapist, but PPD didn’t come up. Then I found a peer support group for women with PPD, and it literally saved my life. Being part of a community of women who were experiencing the same challenges that I was, gave me hope and faith that I could get better.
My PPD healing journey has been long and beautiful. I just wanted to feel better – but it didn’t happen overnight. Once I found support, help and a community, I got stronger and a little better each day. It has not been a straight path, but when I struggle, I know where to go for love, support, and help.
My PPD symptoms came on when my youngest was around 3 months old and my oldest was 2.5 - my husband who is in the military just deployed, and it was during COVID. I felt extremely alone and like I was suffocating - because I was physically isolated and alone. Every day, I woke up and said: "just try to keep yourself and the kids alive." I wasn't eating, was angry, and agitated. It went on for too long, and I realized that these were symptoms of PPD.
Months before my husband left, I tried to be proactive and contacted a therapist, but it didn't go well. Isolated and alone, I finally accepted my parents' offer to move in with them. We stayed with them, and they cared for me and the kids - that gave me the time, space, and support to get out of the dark space I was in. Throughout this time, I reached out to other women in my circle who struggled - that community support was important. It was invaluable.
At first, I felt some guilt because I'm a perinatal mental health therapist. I know the signs, I know the symptoms. But that doesn't make me exempt from experiencing symptoms of PPD. Now, when I look back, I feel like an overcomer, not just a survivor. I feel empowered to share my story with others. At the time I wanted help my way and on my terms. But that was unrealistic. It's okay to accept the "good enough" help even if it is not ideal - good is way better than no support. I'm proud to share and more importantly, celebrate what I overcame!
Start a healing journey
PPD is common, but there's help available for you if you are experiencing PPD and for those who support women with PPD.
- Click here to view our Finding Support for Postpartum Depression webpage, it’s filled with tips and resources for navigating and healing from PPD.
- Click here to download Supporting Someone with Postpartum Depression for more tips on how you can support someone experiencing PPD.
- Click here to view our webpage of shareable PPD media assets and educational materials.