I was just asked a really good question: how can you tell when your PPD is gone? The mom who asked this question is feeling better, her PPD symptoms have disappeared, and yet …. there is still this persistent fear that PPD might sneak back around and bite her. I can so relate to this, as can probably any woman who has recovered from PPD, because it’s so frightening and can be so incredibly devastating. I know when I got pregnant my last time, I was ready to do anything and I mean anything to avoid suffering through PPD again.
When it comes to knowing for sure when you’re well past the nightmare days of PPD, I think it just takes time. I remember when I was still in the throes of PPD and had started on an anti-depressant while going to a psychologist, I honestly couldn’t even see an end to it. I couldn’t imagine ever being well and functioning the way I used to. But gradually, as my PPD symptoms started to disappear and I regained a sense of my old familiar self, my confidence and self esteem started to build. The more time went by, the more activities I started doing with my kids, and the more confident I became. I saw my psychologist for one year before she told me that she felt I was doing great and that I no longer needed talk therapy. This was a huge milestone for me and I think that with her doing that, it kind of gave me permission to tell myself that my PPD was gone forever. That horrible, stomach-churning fear that my symptoms would come back unannounced just disappeared. I was finally well. But, I honestly think that this realization of being well could have happened much sooner than one year out. I just didn’t have the confidence yet. Fortunately, my psychologist nudged me in the right direction.
So, I guess long story short, it’s important to take each day as it comes, whether you’re in the midst of PPD or in recovery from it. The more “good” days you have under your belt, the more confident you’ll get and at some point you’ll come to the realization that you’re well and can put PPD behind you. The realization may come in an “ah-ha” moment or it may come gradually. But it will happen and you’ll go forward knowing that you can do anything.