Postpartum Depression

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



City of Toronto. (2018). Pregnancy and Parenting. Retrieved from

Canadian Mental Health Association. (2018). Postpartum Depression. Retrieved from

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. (2018). Postpartum Depression. Retrieved from

Anxiety Canada. (2018). New moms: Feeling anxious? Retrieved from

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.