The 5 Stages of Postpartum Depression

The 5 Stage of Grief by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross were engrained into my head during nursing school. These relate perfectly to PPD. Here are my 5 stages of grief Postpartum Depression:

Denial occurs in the stages of postpartum depression first because it helps us to deal with the loss effectively. The loss, in this case, is the loss of your old way of life before baby.

A friend once said to me that after she had her baby she grieved the loss of her old self and life. Now having my own child, I completely understand and agree with what she was saying. You grieve the fact that a baby does change your life and, especially, you as a person.

In this stage you begin to feel overwhelmed and are barely surviving to get from one day to the next. You are in denial because you don’t want to grieve the fact that you had a baby. “This should be a joyous time, not a time when I cry constantly and think scary thoughts about myself and/or my baby. Why don’t I like being a mother?”, you ask yourself.

You eventually become stronger and your denial fades. However, all of the things you were denial about, such as “hating” that you had a baby, come back even stronger and manifest in a different way.


In this stage, you manifest your feelings through anger because it is something that you can actually hold on to, rather than feeling numb from denial. You get angry because you shouldn’t be having this hard of a time at being a new mom.

Anger is actually therapeutic to feel because it helps you channel your feelings into something. DISCLAIMER: If your anger is so strong that it is compelling you to hurt yourself or your baby, it is no longer therapeutic. That is when you need to be honest with yourself and others that you need help.

I once read something along the lines that anger indicates just how much you love your child. That is incredible and completely changes how you can view these feelings. You feel anger because you love your child so much that you don’t understand why it is so difficult for you to be their mother.


In this stage, we want life to return to what it used to be. That doesn’t necessarily mean that we don’t want our baby, more that we don’t’ want to feel the things that have come with having our baby and PPD. We start to bargain with others, and especially with God, in this stage. “If I were only a better mother, then can you take these feelings away?”

For me, bargaining took on the form that I would bargain with God that if I could survive this day while my husband was gone, then I really didn’t need to get help. If I did in fact make it through that day, then I would tell myself that I could do it on my own and continue to act like nothing was wrong.

Bargaining is associated with guilt. Guilt that you are a terrible mother and “hate” your child because you are having such a hard time. Guilt that you are selfish because you wish life was what it used to be without your child.


It seems ironic to have a “depression” stage within the stages of PPD. Let me explain.

In this stage, you begin to feel empty and like things are never going to get better. You are down because the present is starting to set in and you are beginning to recognize that there is a problem. This leads to even more gloom and guilt.

At this point, you start to withdraw from friends and family. You start to wonder if life is even worth going forward if you are going to feel this way.

I would withdraw from my husband. When he would ask what was wrong, I would lash out at him. All of the little things he would do would really irritate me. I really just wanted to be left alone to wallow in my own self-pity.

It is important to recognize that this is an important step to healing. In this stage, you explore the sorrow you feel for having PPD. You begin to understand what it really means to you to have PPD.


In this stage, you fully accept the fact that something is wrong. This is often when women get the help they need by returning to the doctor, starting medication, beginning therapy, or whatever it may be.

Just because you have accepted the fact that you have PPD does not mean that you think it is okay that everything is fine now. It just means that you are willing to recognize that this is greater than yourself. You learn to live with the fact that you have PPD. It becomes the new norm for you and you begin to learn what that means.

Coming to accept PPD could just mean that you have more good days than bad days. It does not mean that it will go away because you have accepted it. It does mean that you have found room in your heart to learn how to cope it.


I have finally made it to the acceptance stage. That does not mean that I don’t revert back to the other stages.

I can honestly say I have more good days than bad days. When the bad days come, they knock me down every single time still. That is when I have to make the decision to keep going and keep being the wife and mama that my family deserves.

Because I am worth it, and so are they.

Much love,

Kaitlyn


45 Comments

  • Rachel

    January 6, 2017

    PPD is tough. I felt the effects after each of my kids were born and each time it was a little different. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • Admin2

      January 6, 2017

      It is tough, and something so many mamas are quiet about unfortunately. It is so strange how it is so individual for every one and can be different after each of our kids. Way to persevere mama!

      Reply
  • Jessica

    January 6, 2017

    When I had my first child fifteen years ago PPD wasn’t a well known term. I had never heard of it and thought I was going crazy when I got home with my new baby. I found that by opening up to my family and sharing about what was going on with me helped me to feel more secure. Thanks for sharing your story with others. I wish you the best!

    Reply
    • Kaitlyn Brough

      January 7, 2017

      Thank you Jessica! It is such a topic that is stigmatized and it really shouldn’t be; it is SO common. I am so glad you reaching out for support, that is so essential. Wishing you the best as well!

      Reply
  • loveyoumoretoo

    January 9, 2017

    Yes! I think with any loss/PPD you experience the various stages of grief. It’s hard for people like me who haven’t a baby to understand, but I have had several friends struggle with it. Go you for raising awareness and talking about it!

    Reply
  • ajmoneymatters

    January 10, 2017

    I haven’t had kids yet, but this is such great insight into PPD!

    Reply
  • Gessell Wolitski

    January 10, 2017

    Thanks for sharing. There is such a stigma attached to mental health that just shouldn’t be there. Hopefully one day we’ll look back on these time as ideas of the distant past.

    Reply
    • Kaitlyn Brough

      January 10, 2017

      I really, really hope so Gessell! So many more people struggle with mental illness than we even realize.

      Reply
  • Chi Le

    January 10, 2017

    The five stages of depression are so true. We just have to let it go all in all.:)

    Reply
  • Divya @ Eat. Teach. Blog.

    January 10, 2017

    I don’t have kids of my own yet, but this is really helpful to keep in mind as we think about growing our family. I think as long as there is an understanding that this is REAL and it happens to many women, it’ll help get through it.

    Reply
  • Amber

    January 10, 2017

    This would be so tough. I’m glad you are open about it so it can help other.

    Reply
  • George

    January 10, 2017

    Post-partum Depression is though. A friend of mine suffers from it, I will send her the link. I’m sure it will be helpful for her. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • Kaitlyn Brough

      January 10, 2017

      Please do. I just want every mama to know they are not alone!

      Reply
  • Author Brandi Kennedy

    January 10, 2017

    Somehow, though I have battled depression, amxiety, and ptsd for most of my adult life, I somehow have had two children and didn’t have post partum depression with either child. Ironically, I felt like something was wrong with me because I DIDN’T have it, when I was depressed through so many other times in my life. I’m glad you’ve come to accept PPD and your struggle through it – that’s when you’re best in a place to lend guidance and understanding to others.

    Reply
    • Kaitlyn Brough

      January 10, 2017

      It has taken me a long time to get to that point. I am glad you didn’t have to go through it because it is a very dark and lonely time, as I am sure you know from battling these things at other times. Depression and anxiety are total liars!

      Reply
  • fashionphases

    January 10, 2017

    My sister went through PPD after her 3rd child. Thank God she got though it. Sorry you had to go through PPD. Hope you’re feeling better.

    Reply
    • Kaitlyn Brough

      January 10, 2017

      I am feeling much better and am so glad you sister got through it as well. It is so tough. I am sure she still has hard days every now and then because we all do. But we choose to get back up and keep going!

      Reply
  • JcCee

    January 10, 2017

    As I read through each stage you have gone through, I admire you for getting to the learning how to cope part. You are a caring and strong mother and wife.

    Reply
    • Kaitlyn Brough

      January 10, 2017

      Thank you JcCee! I really appreciate your kind words. I definitely don’t feel that way most times, but when I read back over these I can recognize that I am so much stronger than I think I am.

      Reply
  • Kiyshia

    January 11, 2017

    PPD is most certainly tough. It’s especially harder for first time mum suffered as it’s a massive shock to the system. They see other mothers ‘coping’ so well, why aren’t they?. Thanks for the post really insightful!

    Reply
    • Kaitlyn Brough

      January 11, 2017

      That is definitely true Kyshia. It is really hard as a first time mom and makes me very scared to have any more children. However, being a mama is the best thing in the world. So it will be worth it, right?!

      Reply
  • theboutiqueadventurer

    January 11, 2017

    it’s great that you recognised that stage 4 is depression rather than this being something different – and that it is part of healing

    Reply
  • Elizabeth O.

    January 11, 2017

    I feel for moms who had to go through this or those who are still going through it. I admire you for your strength and for your determination to share this as well. It’s going to help moms out there who are going through the same thing at the moment. Continue to be a symbol of strength for all the women out there! You’re a gem.

    Reply
    • Kaitlyn Brough

      January 11, 2017

      Thank you Elizabeth, your words are so kind. I hope that I can be that symbol for women! No one should suffer alone, no matter what they are going through.

      Reply
  • Marceline Dementori

    January 11, 2017

    It’s nice that you decided to talk about what you had to go through. I was lucky enough to not have to go through this when I had the twins. You’re such a strong woman! I have nothing but admiration for you.

    Reply
  • Urvi

    January 11, 2017

    I know many people just don’t talk about it. It’s great that you decided to share so other people can know. I don’t have this experience but it’s good to know

    Reply
  • Robin Rue

    January 11, 2017

    Mothers that go through this are so strong. I have had a couple of friends that had to make it past the point of realizing that they even were experiencing it.

    Reply
    • Kaitlyn Brough

      January 11, 2017

      It can take a long time for you to realize that this isn’t just how it feels when you have a baby. I am so glad I was educated and recognized it as quickly as I did. My hope is that I can help other women be educated as well.

      Reply
  • TColeman

    January 11, 2017

    Thank you for sharing all about this. So many out there go through this and some of them go at it alone. Having a support system around you is important.

    Reply
    • Kaitlyn Brough

      January 11, 2017

      It really is so important. No one should have to suffer alone!

      Reply
  • Blonde Seeking Ambition

    January 11, 2017

    Thank you so much for writing so openly and honestly about this… it’s such an important thing, and so many women suffer from this.

    Reply
  • 2momsandababyblog

    January 11, 2017

    Wow. This is insanely accurate, it’s like you read my mind! PPD is so tough.

    Reply
  • Sandra Crespo

    January 11, 2017

    Thank you so much for sharing this I am sure it is not easy but I am sure that you will help many other mommies going through similar feelings

    Reply
  • My Teen Guide

    January 11, 2017

    These are all true. In some cases, anger comes first. You might have shed some light for other people still in these stages, sometimes something has to be explained before realization kicks in. Great read!

    Reply
    • Kaitlyn Brough

      January 11, 2017

      I really think so too. These stages are so personal for everyone and they really can come in any order. You can also experience different stages multiple times.

      Reply
  • Rose A (@mail4rosey)

    January 12, 2017

    I’ve had a touch of this with a family member. I always appreciate information I can find on it.

    Reply
    • Kaitlyn Brough

      January 12, 2017

      Yes please feel free to share it with them, Rose! I just really want everyone to know they don’t have to suffer alone.

      Reply
  • Chrissy Mazzocchi

    January 12, 2017

    I dealt with this with my youngest daughter. I really hope this will help women understand.

    Reply
    • Kaitlyn Brough

      January 12, 2017

      I really hope so too, Chrissy. I am glad you got through it. Keep rocking it mama!

      Reply
  • dearlydainty

    January 12, 2017

    I LOVE THIS POST! I love how honest and raw this post is! A lot more women are going through it and not realizing it. If the awareness of this attracts more attention, then I believe several babies’ lives will be saved.

    Reply
    • Kaitlyn Brough

      January 13, 2017

      That is my hope as well, dearlydainty! I just want to help others see that it is okay and that they are not alone.

      Reply
  • Lisa Rios

    January 12, 2017

    Depression is always going to be tough job to handle and I agree that it is different for every one. To me I always feel that such moms are so stronger than others for able to come though it & they could do wonders if they can guide other women on the same!

    Reply
  • Everything Aliexpress

    January 14, 2017

    Great post, thank you

    Reply
  • Perla

    April 21, 2017

    Took me a year to accept I had PPD. It was a horrible feeling but thanks to my supporting husband and family I got thought it. Now that I know I have it I love to read about how other women got thought it because its super tough and I can relate to them! Thanks for sharing this!

    Reply
    • Kaitlyn Brough

      April 24, 2017

      You are so welcome Perla, thank YOU for reading my post! Those husbands are seriously a God-send. I could not have gotten through it without my sweet, sweet husband by my side. It is so helpful to know there is a community of women going through what you are. I am always here if you need to chat!

      Reply

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