Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Monday 30 January 2023

Pregnancy after PND

Post natal depression, and/or post natal anxiety are no small matter. When you’re in it you can’t see through the fog to trust there is ever going to be an end. When you’re out of it, you never want to go back there. It’s easy to decide in those moments that any future pregnancies are off the cards, simply because the risk of spiralling back feels too great…
pregnant lady with her hands over her face. text reads pregnancy after pnd post natal depression

...but what if that tiny little flicker somewhere inside that clings onto the possibility of another baby never goes out? What if that small flame turns into a roaring fire of determination to do it all again and all of the risks feel worth it for the sake of a new life… because here you are, and you made it through. Should you reside yourself to the fact that PND is your destiny? Are you certain to suffer again? Will you definitely get PND again after your pregnancy??

How can you prepare yourself for pregnancy and post-partum after previous PND?

Seek out friends and family who champion you - gravitate towards those who already know your worth and will be able to remind you of this if the going gets tough. Take note of who claps for you when you win, encourages you and sees you for all you do, rather than questioning you for the opposite. Surround yourself with this type of positivity as a minimum to safeguard for any future eventualities. This inner circle need not be big, it doesn’t take much more than one positive voice at a critical moment to see a little more light. Unhealthy relationships can be harmful to your mental health.

Set boundaries - boundaries are for your own well being and safety. By setting boundaries you control how you handle a situation and let others know what you will and won’t tolerate. This usually applies to the behaviour of others around you, their expectations or their judgements. It can be hard to do without facing some resistance if you have allowed poor behaviours in the past, but you teach people how to treat you by what you stop, what you allow and what you reinforce.

Ask for help - this is often the hardest thing to do, but if you are struggling with something and the load becomes too much, try to offload or delegate wherever possible. This might be as simple as asking your spouse to handle a certain task instead of you, or hiring a cleaner to help around the house if it becomes too much. Don’t try to do everything- you will likely burn out and have no time for self care.

Rest - ideally sleep, but if this isn’t possible, rest as much as you can. Start going to bed earlier and ‘stop’ when you feel yourself tiring of a task. Take more breaks and make it part of your ‘normal’ to take care of your health and well-being in this way. Don’t worry how others judge you for resting - it is an investment into your future health and NOT a sign of laziness.

Keep a gratitude journal- or at the very least try to spend 5 mins at the end of each day identifying a few things that you’re thankful for, positive moments or small accomplishments. They don’t need to be big things, even just getting dressed that day may feel like a big win.

Therapy - if you have the time and resources, then it may be helpful to seek out a therapist BEFORE you’re in a mental health crisis. They will be able to give you tools and expertise to navigate what lies ahead and will be on hand to help from the very start, perhaps even noticing a slide in your mental health before you do.

I am now 7 months post partum with my 3rd child after struggling with PND and anxiety after the birth of my 2nd child and PTSD after the birth of my 1st... Although I wrote this post when  I was pregnant, I wanted to wait before I posted this blog post, as symptoms usually appear within the first 6 months after having a baby. I am also aware that in spite of putting protective measures in place such as those mentioned above, hormones and chemical imbalances can lead to mental health issues regardless of how much you try to avoid this. There have been a number of issues over the last few months, including a bereavement, which could have very easily sent me spiraling downwards - I feel incredibly lucky that I have managed to put into practise the skills I learnt during my previous therapy sessions and so far, I'm doing okay. 

 A huge thank you to the friends and family who have been so positive and supportive towards me over the last few months x