Today, I’d like to introduce you to Dr. Jessica Michaelson. I’m so happy to have her here to write about a topic that I struggled over – deciding to have another baby after a postpartum mood disorder. If you’re currently making that decision, I hope you’ll find this post very helpful. Thank you, Dr.!
If you suffered through postpartum depression, anxiety, OCD, or psychosis with your first child, the thought of trying to have another brings up complicated and intense feelings.
These feelings often range from terror and resolve to never get pregnant again to excitement and hope that this time you’ll be able to do it without unnecessary suffering.
Whether you’re considering having another child, or already have one on the way, here is some information that might be helpful:
First…..The Bad News
- If you had postpartum mood, anxiety, or psychosis before you are at 50-80% risk of developing symptoms again postpartum
- You might experience symptoms during pregnancy
- If you are on medication and you discontinue medication during pregnancy, you are at 50-75% risk of relapsing during your pregnancy
- Having two children is more stressful than one in terms of physical and emotional demands on you, and stress can increase risk
Now….The Good News
- You know what being sick looks and feels like
- You know what being well looks and feels like
- You know how to ask for help when you start noticing symptoms (or others around you do)
- You know that individual therapy, support groups, and sometimes medication can really work to bring your symptoms to remission
- You know that many medications are safe to take while breastfeeding
- You know that if you need a medication that isn’t safe while breastfeeding, formula will be just fine
- You know that sleep, food, and family support are essential to good mental health
- You know that being a mother is hard work, but it doesn’t cause intense and endless suffering; it’s the illness that does that.
Above all else, you know that you never want to be sick like that again.
Take responsibility for your care, get information, and surround yourself with people who truly support you. If you do get sick again, it is not your fault, you will get better, and you can’t do it alone.
With love and optimism,
Dr. Jessica Michaelson
Dr. Jessica Michaelson is a psychologist, mother of two, and survivor of postpartum depression and anxiety. www.DrJMichaelson.com