postpartum depression, mental health, maternal mental healthDear New Mom,

Are you one of those moms who have had PPD and wonder how – or if – you could ever have another child? This is for you.

When your early path through motherhood includes a detour through a postpartum mood disorder like postpartum depression, the once-simple idea of having more than one child becomes a whole lot more complicated.

But you know that.

I know that too, because I wrestled with it for a long time.

I always wanted more than one child, and I always assumed I’d have them a couple of years apart. Isn’t that how it’s done?

It wasn’t how I did it.

When my son reached the age where I thought we’d be trying for a second, it just wasn’t something I could do. I’d been dealing with PPD for well over a year and had only just started getting some help. Six months after that I was still struggling and we were no closer to adding to our family.

Maybe in the fall, I thought. And then, maybe next month. Well, maybe the month after that? But the wait turned out to be longer than I’d imagined.

My first child had turned three before having another baby even started to feel like a possibility, but eventually it did start to feel manageable. It felt like it might be okay, even.

“How did you know you were ready?” is the question I’ve been asked a lot. And the answer is actually the same as deciding to have a first child: You’re never really ready. You just know you’re ready to give it a try.

The difference with having a baby after PPD is that you know so much more. You know being a mom is hard. You know you’re at risk for PPD and you know how awful PPD is to deal with.

But you also know what to look for. You know what your symptoms are and what triggers you. You know where to turn for support.

It’s all that knowledge that makes the second time okay.

When you go from thinking, “I couldn’t possibly” to, “I think I could,” that’s when you’re ready.

True, maybe you’ll never feel ready. Maybe you’ll get past the wretchedness that is PPD and decide never again. Lots of people have made that decision before you, and it’s perfectly okay.

But if – when – you’re ready, you’ll know. And all of us will be here, ready to support you.

~ Robin

Robin Farr is a woman, a writer, a wife, a runner, and a mom – chronologically, at least. She got mixed up philosophically during her struggle with postpartum depression but wrote her way out of it on her blog, Farewell, Stranger. You can also find Robin on Twitter @FarewellStrangr or on Facebook.

* * *

Postpartum Progress, the world’s most widely-read blog on all things related to emotional health around pregnancy & childbirth, is a service of Postpartum Progress Inc., a 501c3 nonprofit devoted to raising awareness of postpartum depression and similar illnesses. Please consider making a donation today, Mother’s Day, so we can continue and expand our work supporting maternal mental health. Thank you!