Post-Partum Depression: One Mother’s Story

Post-Partum Depression: One Mother’s Story

The following is the final excerpt I will be featuring from Dr. Chana Katan’s wonderful book Woman’s Life.

It’s late at night. The house is silent. Everyone’s sleeping. The baby fell asleep hours ago. For these past 2 hours she’s been trying to sleep, but instead she is tossing in her bed from side to side, and cannot relax. She is so sad. She waited so long for this birth, how much she prayed, how hard she worked, how much she yearned for this great day—and when it arrived, to her surprise, her springs of joy dried up, and today she cannot even summon up a little smile to her lips. She cannot find the strength to clean her home, she has no desire to dress nicely, and even the nice outfit that her mother bought her for the bris just hangs forgotten in her closet. She has no appetite. She forces herself to taste the food that her wonderful neighbors made for her. The baby that she holds in her arms does not succeed in awakening within her emotion or excitement or elation. She doesn’t feel any connection with him, and the truth is that she doesn’t really love him. He cries a lot, doesn’t let her sleep day or night, slips out of her hands in the bath. How different things are from her first birth.

When her husband is at work she is alone with the baby, that is the hardest time for her. She feels lack of confidence and panicky, she worries that when he is not there something terrible will happen to her or the baby. Her husband actually tries to understand her.

He comforts her, tries to make her smile, cleans up the apartment when he returns home from work, the disorder in the living room and the rooms and the piles of laundry that collect around the house, prepares himself dinner, and doesn’t complain. But it seems to her that he is also getting depleted. He looks sad, sometimes angry, and sometimes just powerless.

Only 3 weeks have passed since the birth, but it feels like years. She is not herself, the loving mother, the vibrant, smiling, energetic woman she was—she is a different person.

Sadness affects up to 85% of woman during the first 10 days following the birth. During these days, the woman tends to cry easily. But this postpartum sadness tends to pass quickly.

By contrast, between 10 and 15% of women suffer from post-partum depression like the woman in this story.

I am sharing this story from Dr. Katan’s book because it was similar to my own. I also suffered from post-partum depression and anxiety following my first few births.

But B”H, I have found ways to ease the post-partum period for myself.

Through changes in diet (no caffeine, sugar, or white flour), through the wonders of classical homeopathy (yep, it really does work), through daily vigorous exercise (starting a few weeks after the birth), through arranging additional cleaning and childcare support for the months following the birth.

JewishMOMs, what helps you to cope and to feel better emotionally during your postpartum period?

Photo courtesy of user Ashley Webb


  1. Rachel Shifra

    Not making decisions when I am down. And getting out of the house after birth, even just to the mall or the park helps a lot. I also get dressed and go back to bed so I feel good. I ask people not to visit at the birth time but to come a few weeks later. I also try to get meals for later not when I have all the help of my mother around. I pray to Hashem to have summer births–this helps the most! Thank G-d two times were and just one birth was in the winter.

  2. Definitely when people bring food, and when my kids go to friends or relatives, without my having to arrange or transport. Basically, having things taken care of for me so I don’t have to be “program director” on the micro and macro levels when I am just too tired. My last maternity leave gave me no chance for recuperation (no exaggeration) due to unforeseen factors, and I had post-partum stress. I couldn’t smile, (and my kids are so cute!), everything felt hard, and I was just focused on getting through the day. I wish now I had had the strength to ask for even more help, including someone to watch my infant for a couple of hours. My sister actually offered, but I was too overwhelmed to plan the logistics.
    I managed to add healthy foods to my diet (wheat germ, etc.) and just knowing I was taking care of myself a few minutes a day made me feel stronger.

  3. My ex- wife had postpardum dpression and refused to deal with it. It ruined our marriage.

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