Having a baby is a huge life change which can cause parents to experience a wide range of feelings from joy and excitement to guilt and sadness
One in every five parents experiences depression and/or anxiety
Postpartum depression is a deeper depression that lasts much longer than other types of depression. You may feel:
Exhausted and overwhelmed
A loss of interest in activities that once made you happy
Sadness, anger, loneliness, worthless, hopeless
Changes in appetite
Constant worry and guilt
Thoughts of hurting yourself or your baby
Diagnostic criteria for major depressive episode – please seek help from a professional!
At least 5 symptoms present for at least 2 weeks, for most of nearly every day
One symptom must include – depressed mood or diminished interest in activities
Other symptoms include – weight loss or weight gain, insomnia, fatigue, loss of energy, feeling worthless, inappropriate guilt, diminished ability to think or concentrate, indecisiveness
Symptoms cause distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of function
Depression is a mental illness that affects your mood and how you feel. Our mood impacts how we think about ourselves, how we relate to others, and how we interact with the world
A parent with postpartum depression may not enjoy the baby and have frequent thoughts that they are a bad parent
Take care of yourself!
The first step is recognizing that you are going through a major change in your life
Don’t be scared or embarrassed to ask for help, whether from a loved one or a professional
Get a healthy amount of sleep each night
Eat plenty of healthy foods
Be active each day
Integrate one activity into each day that makes you happy
How can you help your loved one dealing with postpartum depression?
Adjust your expectations of them and ensure their day-to-day abilities are realistic
Never compare them to another person who is struggling with postpartum depression – we are all unique!
Accept that they may wish to spend some time alone – they are trying to cope with their illness
Offer help with their responsibilities – take a chore off their hands so they can have some time to relax
Help with child care, especially during the night – take turns getting up at night
Recognize their efforts to manage their illness, regardless of outcomes
Counselling and support
Cognitive behaviour therapy is common to treat postpartum depression – it teaches you how your thoughts, feelings, and behaviours work together. It also teaches life skills such as stress management and problem solving
Support groups are a safe place where you can share experiences and connect with others who are going through the same challenges as you!
If you require urgent assistance, please call 911 or visit the nearest emergency department.
Over-the-phone crisis supports exist.
Gerstein Crisis Centre (416-929-5200) and Toronto Distress Centre (416-408-4357) are 24/7 services
South Riverdale Community Health Centre offers Post-Partum Adjustment Support on Monday’s from 1:00PM-3:30PM. Free childcare and snacks are provided during the duration of the program. Please visit https://www.srchc.ca/programs/family-programs/post-partum-adjustment-support/ for more information.
Michael Garron Hospital runs a depression group which helps to support individuals struggling with depression to develop an understanding about their depression, obtain skills to cope, and plans for relapse prevention. Please visit https://www.tehn.ca/programs-services/mental-health-addiction/depression-group for more information
Mothers Matters is an 8-week online, confidential support group that is run by the Mental Health Program at Women’s College Hospital. Please visit their website to find out more information. https://www.womenscollegehospital.ca/programs-and-services/mental-health/Mother-Matters
Woodgreen Community Services offers a variety of programs for counselling and support services over 36 locations. Visit their website for more information on their locations and programs. https://www.woodgreen.org/OurServices/MentalHealthandAddictions.aspx
Bridgepoint Active Healthcare offers cognitive behavioural therapy for adults. Speak with your primary care provider for more information. Visit https://www.bridgepointhealth.ca/en/what-we-do/programs-and-services.asp#CBT for more information
Michael Garron Hospital’s Consultation Assessment Time-Limited Therapy Clinic provides cognitive behaviour therapy. Please visit https://www.tehn.ca/programs-services/mental-health-addiction/consultation-assessment-time-limited-therapy-clinic-catt for more information
City of Toronto. (2018). Pregnancy and Parenting. Retrieved from https://www.toronto.ca/community-people/children-parenting/
Canadian Mental Health Association. (2018). Postpartum Depression. Retrieved from https://cmha.ca/documents/postpartum-depression
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. (2018). Postpartum Depression. Retrieved from
Anxiety Canada. (2018). New moms: Feeling anxious? Retrieved from https://www.anxietycanada.com/parents/new-moms/feeling-anxious/recognizing-post-partum-anxiety
Steward, D., & Vigod, S. (2016). Postpartum Depression. The New England Journal of Medicine. doi:10.1056/NEJMcp1607649
Beck, C. (2006). Postpartum Depression. American Journal of Nursing, 106(5), 40-50.