Hope and Help for Postpartum Depression

By Erica Patino
Reviewed by Jessie Everts, Ph.D.
March 14, 2023

If you have postpartum depression (PPD) or think you might, you’re probably struggling at a time you’d expected would be joyful. PPD can deeply affect birthing parents, their partners, their babies, and other family members.

Postpartum depression is when major depression happens during or after pregnancy. It’s most common in the first six weeks after giving birth. This is the kind of depression that causes extreme distress or affects your ability to function.

“There is a two-week period after birth where mood shifts called the 'baby blues' are expected,” explains Kelli Cavaliere, a psychotherapist in New York City who specializes in treating people with postpartum mood issues. “After that time, symptoms such as feelings of extreme sadness, mood swings, difficulty connecting with the baby, feeling empty, crying a lot, or feeling worthless or like a bad parent, could lead to a diagnosis of PPD.” Many people with PPD will also experience anxiety.