Just Talkin’ Tuesday 06.01.10: Should I or shouldn’t I? Having another baby after Postpartum Depression

Last night’s #PPDChat centered on this topic.

Given the varied responses and concern, I wanted to offer an extra outlet to continue the discussion.

Many women struggle with this decision after they’ve experienced a Postpartum Mood Disorder. Prior to having depression, these are moms who may have dreamed of a large family. Or at least a family with more than one child. But then a Postpartum Mood Disorder crashed down across their tracks, making the future seem beyond an impassable obstacle. Once we’ve cleared the tree, hacked it into little pieces and shredded it up, we’re exhausted. The mere thought of speeding headlong into another impasse may immobilize some.

So unintentionally, we are at an impasse. Do we or don’t we? What if… how can I prevent this from happening again? What effect will another episode have on my relationship with my older child? Will my marriage survive another round? Will I survive another round? What if I’m ready but my husband isn’t? What if my husband is ready and I’m not? What if my family is pressuring me? How do I handle this?

So we wonder. We worry. We talk. We cry. We mourn what might have been. We make a decision but don’t publicize it until we are ready to defend it. Because we feel we have to defend ourselves. We shouldn’t have to – but we do. It’s what we do.

I was not ready to have our second daughter. I had not healed from my first episode. I did not know if I wanted a second child. But my husband did. And deep down I did too. I just hadn’t made peace with the decision yet. So we started to try. And then stopped. And then started again. I went through hell – worse than the first time around. But somehow I made it through. It was my third pregnancy that scared the crap out of me. I spent so much more time getting ready for me and my potential relapse instead of on getting ready for baby. Combined with therapy and meds, my pro-active approach proved to be what worked for me this time. I am thankful I had a postpartum where I got to enjoy that newborn time. But after that, a couple of months in, I got pissed. Why? Because my PMD robbed me of this experience with my daughters, irreparably harming our bond. Sure, we’re bonded now and we love each other but it’s different. We don’t have that from the start bond. And that breaks my heart. All.the.time.

So let’s get to Just Talking – even if it is late.

Where are you on this journey? Have you? Thinking about it? Have advice/tips? What’s keeping you from having another baby? What’s your biggest fear? Share it with us – we won’t judge.


7 thoughts on “Just Talkin’ Tuesday 06.01.10: Should I or shouldn’t I? Having another baby after Postpartum Depression

  1. Well I have decided never to have any more children again. I am 36 and waited 8 years. I thought I did everything write but then PPD/PPOCD happened and I have been in such a dark place. I am getting my tubes tied this summer and I think it is the right decision for me. In all reality we only wanted once child anyway. I am also thinking of fostering/adopting in the future. I feel so jipped out of my daughters infancy. Nine months and still suffering terrible OCD. I can say my depression is so much better. I just cant put my family or myself through this again.

  2. My first experience was so bad, when I became pregnant (while using an IUD) the second time, I opted for an abortion. I couldnt’ do it; I was too scared. So unready. My husband wanted to keep it but I couldn’t do it. Now our first child is nearly four and we’re wondering if we’ll ever have another one. Now isn’t a good time due to a lot of factors, but that ‘if’ is always there. I do feel robbed of bonding with my son, of the first few months of his life, because of mental illness. I worry that it will happen again.

    • Oh hon – That HAD to be tough. ((hugs)) I can’t even imagine.

      When I was unexpectedly pregnant with my son, I often prayed the doctors wouldn’t find his heartbeat at the visits because then the “problem” would be solved without me having to make a decision. At one visit they had a hard time finding the heartbeat. I was happy until they found it and said he was fine. Oh, the guilt from that visit at me up. I had been hell and so felt like I was on the express right back to it.

      I hope you found someone to talk to about all of this and haven’t been holding it all in this entire time. Take care of you. There is help, there is hope. You don’t have to do this alone.


  3. The timing on this is helpful. I’m expecting #3 and have been worrying about this very issue. We had a miscarriage in December which also complicated the, “Are we going to do this again?” issue… It’s tough. And I’m scared. But… I’m also armed with knowledge and awareness this go around. Anyway. I’m anxious to hear others’ thoughts too. Thank you for this.

    • I worried so much with my third. SO SO SO much. The unexpected aspect of the pregnancy threw me for a loop – it’s why I started this blog. Honestly, starting this blog was probably a huge part of my mindfulness toward PPD. The relapse rate for an episode after two episodes is insanely high – like 90% or higher. I was fully prepared to fall again. I hope you are able to have a good experience this time around but thank GOD you know where to go to get help if you don’t. ((hugs))

  4. Ahh this weighs on my mind so much. I envisioned myself the mother of a bunch of little cuties frolicking happily. Is that a reality now? Not so sure. I so want to get pregnant again, but am terrified. I am waiting until my son is one to go off of my antidepressant. My fears are that I will go through the whole horrific mess again. I worry that this time I will have an older child who would know that mama isn’t acting like she usually does. I worry it could be worse…what if I don’t make it out this time? My counselor gave me some good advice. I can’t go into it thinking I will definitely suffer from PPD again, but to be prepared if I do. Hopefully getting on meds asap, foregoing breastfeeding from the start and having my family on board with me will perhaps make things better.

    • Your counselor gave you GREAT advice. It’s so important to head into it knowing that it’s a possibility but not convinced it will happen again. Plus next time you (and those around you) will be more adept at recognizing the signs and symptoms of postpartum depression. Build that net instead of the nest! ((hugs))

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