Depressed woman


Emotional Health

We all feel stressed or upset sometimes. It may help to share your feelings with a family member or friend. This is one way that the people close to you can support you as a new parent. You may also want to think about the causes of your stress or unhappiness, and see if you can figure out ways to manage them.

Where to Find Help

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
Education and support for people with mental illness and their families.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
24-hour phone access to trained counselors and local crisis centers.

Postpartum Support International
24-hour support for new mothers with depression.

SAMHSA National Helpline
24-hour confidential treatment referral and information service.

More Resources

Things You Can Do

Tips to Help You Manage Your Stress

  • Make a list of things that cause you stress. Choose a few to change.

  • Do not try to change everything at once. Start with something you think you can do. When you succeed at that, keep going.

  • Talk over problems with friends or relatives.

  • Focus on what is going well in your life.

  • Make some time for yourself every day.

  • Get extra support during holidays, anniversaries, and birthdays.

  • Try to avoid getting into debt. If you have debt, visit to learn about credit counseling and other types of financial advice.

Tips to Help Children Manage Their Stress

  • Reassure your children and hug them often.

  • Hold them and read to them.

  • Try to keep regular routines. Children feel more secure when they know what to expect.

  • Let children ask questions and talk about distressing events. Tell them it is OK to feel scared, angry, worried, or sad.

To Prevent Suicide

If you feel you might take your life, or if someone you know threatens to kill herself, call 9-1-1 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Or visit to chat online with a trained volunteer.

If You Feel Depressed After Your Baby Is Born

New moms are often exhausted in the early weeks after a baby’s birth. It’s normal to feel stressed or overwhelmed, or have mood swings, including sadness and worry. These feelings usually last about 2 weeks and are not serious.
But get help right away if you have strong feelings of anxiety or depression, or you have been depressed in the past. You could have postpartum depression.

Postpartum depression is very serious. If it is not treated, it can last for months or even years. It can keep you from caring for and enjoying your baby. Counseling, support groups, and medicines can help. There are medicines that are safe to take while you are breastfeeding. Talk to your doctor, or contact Postpartum Support International. Getting treatment will help you feel better and enjoy your family. Don’t wait to get help if you need it.

What Is Depression?

If you are depressed, you may feel bad about yourself. You may lack energy or have no interest in your relationships or work. You may have trouble sleeping or eating, or have frequent head or stomach aches. Counseling and medicine can help. If a medicine does not help or you have too many side effects, tell your doctor. Support groups and exercise may help, too.

About Counseling

Counseling can help you deal with relationship problems, depression, low self-esteem, stress, and grieving. Find a counselor you trust. Health plans cover some treatments. Ask your plan what treatments it covers. For more information, visit


To lower your stress level, think about your breathing for a few minutes. Take a slow, deep breath in, then let it out twice as slowly. See if you feel calmer after taking 5 breaths like this.

Children Feel Stress Too

Like adults, children can feel anxious and upset. Problems like fighting in the family and school difficulties can cause these feelings. Divorce and moving can also be hard.

If you are worried about your child, talk to her. Children feel better when their parents hold them and talk to them in a loving way.

Help Your Child Manage Stress

After a long or difficult day, your child may need help to calm down. Try to keep regular routines for meals and bedtime. Give her a warm bath, hold her and read a storybook, or listen to music together. For more about the effects of long-term stress on children, see Giving Your Baby the Best Start.