Having a Baby After Postpartum Depression – What to Expect
Updated: Jun 26, 2020
I experienced postpartum depression with my first child? Will I have the same experience again? This is a question many moms ask as they weigh the decision to continue to grow their family.
Postpartum depression (PPD) affects nearly 20% of new mothers after having a baby and is the #1 complication of childbirth. While it’s different from the “baby blues,” it’s a severe form of depression that can cause everything from irritability and guilt to a lot of “highs and lows.”
The good news? In most cases, PPD will go away over time. It can go away even faster if you seek professional treatment to manage your symptoms and get to the root cause(s) of what you’re feeling.
But what if you want to have another baby?
Not all women who experience PPD have only one child. You might be wondering if you’ll have to go through the effects of postpartum depression again. What can you expect if you do have another baby?
Let’s take a look.
The Varying Risk Factors
If you had postpartum depression after having your first child, there is a chance you’ll get it again.
However, there’s also a chance you won’t.
That might not be the concrete answer you want to hear, but it’s the most accurate one. There is anywhere from a 30-70% chance that you’ll experience PPD again after having another child.
That’s a wide range for a risk factor, but it varies depending on how severe your symptoms were when dealing with PPD. The worse your symptoms were before, the higher your risk is for developing PPD again.
Some women have extreme mitigating circumstances (unplanned job change, move to a new city, or other circumstances outside of their control) that contribute to a development of PPD symptoms which are not present when having another subsequent child. This can also go a long way to decreasing the potential for a recurrence of symptoms.
Other Potential Causes
Many women who have another baby after postpartum depression have no problems at all. Several other risk factors can contribute to PPD, and if you don’t experience them with your second child, you may avoid the symptoms. Some of the most common triggers include:
Problems with breastfeeding
Lack of support (from your partner, family, etc.)
Many of these factors are out of your control. If any of the above were a problem with your first child but not your second, you might be less likely to experience postpartum depression.
Can You Prevent PPD from Happening Again?
While it would be nice to put some preventative measures in place, there is no way to control the risk of PPD completely. But, you can certainly be prepared for the symptoms before they start.
One of the best things to do is to have a support system in place. Additionally, you might benefit from talking to a therapist or counselor before your baby is born. Talk to them about any anxieties you might be having surrounding the pregnancy, and work through them now, rather than later.
Your support system should understand the symptoms of postpartum depression and know what to look for. In doing so, they can help you if you start to experience some of those symptoms.
What If You Do Experience PPD After Another Baby?
If you genuinely want another child, don’t let the fear of PPD keep you from trying for a second baby. There’s a good chance you won’t experience the same symptoms, especially if yours were mild the first time.
If you do start to experience symptoms of postpartum depression after a second baby, don’t beat yourself up. Instead, lean on your support system and your partner — remember, they’re going through this with you, too!
If you think you’re at a higher risk for having PPD again, do what you can to prepare yourself ahead of time. In doing so, you can have a better handle on your symptoms, and they may not be as severe.
If you’ve experienced postpartum depression in the past and want to have another baby, feel free to contact me. Together, we can work through what you experienced before, and what you can do now to fight back against common symptoms. I offer a complimentary phone consultation to all potential clients. To schedule yours in a matter of seconds, please check here.
To learn more about how counseling can help you in the postpartum months, please click here.
BRINGING BABY HOME: A NEW PARENT WORKSHOP IS GOING VIRTUAL!!!! A workshop for couples who are thinking about or planning to have a baby, who are expecting a baby or who have children already. Based on years of research and experience and developed by the Gottman Institute, this 12 hour workshop is designed to repair communication skills and jump start your relationship with your partner. For more information, please click here.
Jennifer Perera is a mom, spouse and Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has over a decade’s worth of experience in mental health. She has a private practice in New Jersey, with locations in Cranford and Princeton. Her passion is helping new moms and dads find their joy again in parenthood through individual, group and couples counseling. Jennifer specializes in working with parents during the prenatal and postpartum periods and those coping with a pregnancy loss or infertility. Her other passion is travelling to different parts of the world and her goal is to vacation in a different locale every time. She also has a great fondness for cats!