The best postpartum depression books

1 authors have picked their favorite books about postpartum depression and why they recommend each book.

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Life as a mother

By Chantelle Lambert,

Book cover of Life as a mother: From the Diamonds to the Dirt of Motherhood

Motherhood is a gift. But sometimes it doesn’t feel like it. Chantelle, the author, touches on the less pleasant parts of motherhood. I cried 11 pages in because I empathized with a lot of what Chantelle was saying. I think I related to the author’s story so much because she struggled with her own mental health issues throughout her time as a mother. The book touches on postpartum depression (for moms and dads). Yes, dads can have postpartum too!

The book is raw, emotional, and the absolute truth.


Who am I?

I started this book in 2007. It was a compilation of stories from my experience as a parent; there was no structure to it at all. When my second husband passed in 2017, an ad appeared in Facebook for Author Academy Elite (AAE). I knew it was my late husband giving me that one final push to get the book done. As a (non) perfect parent of three children, I felt my experience could benefit others as I am continuing my journey along my Path to Perfection. As a person who has struggled with depression for her entire life, I can honestly say that parenting is hard. We are all doing the best we can with what we have. And that’s why I think you’ll enjoy these books!


I wrote...

The Path to Perfection: Parenting without a roadmap: tales from a (non) perfect parent

By Dawn Thomas-Cameron,

Book cover of The Path to Perfection: Parenting without a roadmap: tales from a (non) perfect parent

What is my book about?

If Perfection were an actual place, like a city or town, would there be one clearly marked exit on the road there? One that would result in you winding up in a specific location with a plethora of other perfect parents? Would this Path to Perfection be smooth and straight? Or would it be curvy, bumpy, and fraught with detours? More importantly, would anyone actually be there when (or if) you arrived?

Join author, Dawn Thomas-Cameron, as she explores the answers to these questions and more! The Path to Perfection is broken into three main sections: Things That Could Have Been Done Differently, Things I Handled Like a Rock Star! and Pearls of Wisdom. This book is sure to evoke a rollercoaster of emotions as you journey along. And yes, you will cry during parts. That’s the nature of parenting.

The Smiling Mask

By Carla Joan O'Reilly, Peggy Collins, Tania Bird, Elita Paterson

Book cover of The Smiling Mask: Truths about Postpartum Depression and Parenthood

This book focused on three stories from women who experienced postpartum depression in varying degrees. Through the stories, it raises awareness about various degrees of postpartum depression and the spectrum of symptoms. The stories are raw and emotional.  And yes, I cried through many parts of the story.

The title refers to how we try to hide from the realities of parenting by wearing smiling masks even when we are depressed. A must-read for ANY parent – any gender, any experience level.


Who am I?

I started this book in 2007. It was a compilation of stories from my experience as a parent; there was no structure to it at all. When my second husband passed in 2017, an ad appeared in Facebook for Author Academy Elite (AAE). I knew it was my late husband giving me that one final push to get the book done. As a (non) perfect parent of three children, I felt my experience could benefit others as I am continuing my journey along my Path to Perfection. As a person who has struggled with depression for her entire life, I can honestly say that parenting is hard. We are all doing the best we can with what we have. And that’s why I think you’ll enjoy these books!


I wrote...

The Path to Perfection: Parenting without a roadmap: tales from a (non) perfect parent

By Dawn Thomas-Cameron,

Book cover of The Path to Perfection: Parenting without a roadmap: tales from a (non) perfect parent

What is my book about?

If Perfection were an actual place, like a city or town, would there be one clearly marked exit on the road there? One that would result in you winding up in a specific location with a plethora of other perfect parents? Would this Path to Perfection be smooth and straight? Or would it be curvy, bumpy, and fraught with detours? More importantly, would anyone actually be there when (or if) you arrived?

Join author, Dawn Thomas-Cameron, as she explores the answers to these questions and more! The Path to Perfection is broken into three main sections: Things That Could Have Been Done Differently, Things I Handled Like a Rock Star! and Pearls of Wisdom. This book is sure to evoke a rollercoaster of emotions as you journey along. And yes, you will cry during parts. That’s the nature of parenting.

Sad Dad

By Olivia Spencer,

Book cover of Sad Dad: An Exploration of Postnatal Depression in Fathers

The book includes a review of recent studies and research in this area, looking at the effects of postnatal depression on children and relationships, and an investigation into the reasons behind male postnatal depression, including the social and psychoanalytic factors which go some way to explaining why men experience this depression as well as women.

Who am I?

Mark Williams is a keynote speaker, author, and international campaigner. In 2004 he himself experienced depression and suffered in silence for years until he entered community mental health services. He founded International Fathers Mental Health Day and #Howareyoudad campaign to make sure all parents are having support for the whole family. In 2020 Mark published the report called "Fathers Reaching Out - Why Dads Matter" to explain the importance of paternal mental health which has far better outcomes for the whole family and the development of the child when we include fathers. Mark is also an ambassador for Mothers For Mothers Charity.


I wrote...

Fathers and Perinatal Mental Health: A Guide for Recognition, Treatment and Management

By Jane Hanley, Mark Williams,

Book cover of Fathers and Perinatal Mental Health: A Guide for Recognition, Treatment and Management

What is my book about?

It is only in recent years that there has been development in the awareness of the father’s mental health. Yet, the father’s mental health can influence the mother, the infant, the family, and society. This book seeks to address the reasons why the father or the potential father could suffer from a mental disorder or illness during the perinatal period, his reactions, and what can be done to help him.

The book explores the way in which fathers’ mental health has presented in the past and how it presents now. It looks at the father’s attitudes towards his mental well-being and how he may self-manage and self-medicate. It examines the impact and influences the potential father and the father’s mental health has on his partner, infant, and children.

Happy With Baby

By Catherine O'Brien,

Book cover of Happy With Baby: Essential Relationship Advice When Partners Become Parents

I love Catherine’s sense of humor. Even the contents page makes me laugh out loud! Catherine shares anecdotes from her own relationship with her husband Rick and examples from other couples that make this book really relatable and easy to digest. Happy With Baby provides concrete, real-world advice, lots of compassion, and inspiration for some specific topics not covered by other books including: overcoming a hard pregnancy, three questions to ask daily for better communication between partners, what to say when mom needs to take self-care and handling unwanted parenting advice that can sometimes create conflict between parents. There’s plenty of empathy in here and also some good laughs.

Best for: new parents and friends of new parents to recommend to them.


Who am I?

Around 25 years ago, I thought my husband and I were ready for parenthood…until we got there. And as a relationship counselor, I was listening to countless stories of couples struggling through the rollercoaster ride of becoming a family too. So I wondered: can couples actually prepare for this? For years I waited for a book to recommend to my clients to guide them after our sessions ended and I ended up writing (an award-winning) one instead. This turned into training for professionals, and now expectant couples are doing Becoming Us courses at the hospitals where our three children were born. And, thankfully, there are more books to support new families too!


I wrote...

Becoming Us: The Couple's Guide to Parenthood

By Elly Taylor,

Book cover of Becoming Us: The Couple's Guide to Parenthood

What is my book about?

For expecting couples to plan ahead, new parents in the thick of it, and those wondering what to expect next, Becoming Us is a map for the journey. There are insights and practical step-by-step guidance on every page to navigate the wilds and wonders of life and love during pregnancy, birth, and beyond. Topics include work/life balance (is this our new normal?), financial pressures (can we afford this?), including grandparents and inlaws (bring a casserole!), identity shifts (who am I now?), common relationship issues (are we OK?), intimacy, sex and more. There’s also help and hope for perinatal anxiety and depression, relationship distress (what happened to us?), a challenging birth experience—and how to support each other through it all. Parents at any stage of the journey will find places to circle back, get on track, and move forward together as a team.

Best for: expecting and new mothers, fathers, and parents, and parenthood-related professionals wanting to work in a holistic, “whole family” way.

DAD

By Elliott Rae,

Book cover of DAD: Untold stories of Fatherhood, Love, Mental Health and Masculinity

DAD is a deeply moving and inspiring collection of stories that represent the diversity of modern fatherhood and seeks to start a conversation that challenges the traditions associated with masculinity.

Including 20 powerful and defiant stories about postnatal depression, becoming a new dad during the pandemic, miscarriage, widowhood, stillbirth, co-parenting, childbirth trauma, work-life balance, new dads at work, shared parental leave, being a stay-at-home dad, gay fatherhood, and surrogacy, being a stepdad, black fatherhood, raising a child of dual heritage, being a single dad, faith, and fatherhood, raising a child with autism, gender stereotypes and more. Elliot Rae and MFF


Who am I?

Mark Williams is a keynote speaker, author, and international campaigner. In 2004 he himself experienced depression and suffered in silence for years until he entered community mental health services. He founded International Fathers Mental Health Day and #Howareyoudad campaign to make sure all parents are having support for the whole family. In 2020 Mark published the report called "Fathers Reaching Out - Why Dads Matter" to explain the importance of paternal mental health which has far better outcomes for the whole family and the development of the child when we include fathers. Mark is also an ambassador for Mothers For Mothers Charity.


I wrote...

Fathers and Perinatal Mental Health: A Guide for Recognition, Treatment and Management

By Jane Hanley, Mark Williams,

Book cover of Fathers and Perinatal Mental Health: A Guide for Recognition, Treatment and Management

What is my book about?

It is only in recent years that there has been development in the awareness of the father’s mental health. Yet, the father’s mental health can influence the mother, the infant, the family, and society. This book seeks to address the reasons why the father or the potential father could suffer from a mental disorder or illness during the perinatal period, his reactions, and what can be done to help him.

The book explores the way in which fathers’ mental health has presented in the past and how it presents now. It looks at the father’s attitudes towards his mental well-being and how he may self-manage and self-medicate. It examines the impact and influences the potential father and the father’s mental health has on his partner, infant, and children.

Little Darlings

By Melanie Golding,

Book cover of Little Darlings

Less devils and more changeling babies, but the gothic feel of Golding’s novel makes it a must for this list. Lauren Tranter gives birth to twin boys in what, based on my personal experience, may be the worst hospital in the world. While there, a woman arrives to swap them, then disappears without a trace. Was Lauren hallucinating? The effects of postpartum depression and exhaustion make it tempting to explain away Lauren’s complaints, but that makes it no less terrifying. What happens when a mother believes that her babies are not hers? I listened to the audiobook of this title and there is a creepy voice used in one part that made me stop in my tracks and press rewind, just to listen again and indulge in the delicious horror. Highly recommended. 


Who am I?

I enjoy shadowy histories, both in my reading and writing. Having experienced anxiety and depression, I know very well the feeling of darkness entering my mind, consuming it, doling out spirals of negative thoughts. My fascination with devils is two-fold: would I have made a deal with a devil to release myself from those spirals? Or, could the spirals themselves be the devil, invading my mind? Reading books like these gives me a glimpse into dark psyches, which have helped me better understand and accept my own.


I wrote...

The Blood Confession

By Alisa M. Libby,

Book cover of The Blood Confession

What is my book about?

The only heir of a powerful Hungarian count, Erzebet Bizecka’s birth is marked by a prophecy that she will die young or live forever. Determined to survive despite the grim prediction, Erzebet becomes obsessed with preserving her youth and beauty. Only the enigmatic Sinestra understands Erzebet's mania, pulling her into a dark world of blood rituals. Luring her victims to her tower room, Erzebet is determined to thwart God's plan for her life and create her own. How far will she be willing to go to protect herself? A gothic horror exploring beauty and power, The Blood Confession is inspired by the legendary crimes of Erzebet Bathory, a seventeenth-century countess who believed that bathing in human blood would keep her forever beautiful.

Grace Under Pressure

By Tori Haschka,

Book cover of Grace Under Pressure

I absolutely love being a mother – but becoming a mum wasn’t the simple experience I thought it would be. I suffered from post-natal depression after the birth of both of my daughters and it was a shock for me to discover that motherhood wasn’t as easy and natural as I’d imagined. That’s why I loved reading Grace Under Pressure – it perfectly captures the ups and downs of motherhood and the terrifying loneliness, while simultaneously incorporating humour, heart, and comradery between women.


Who am I?

Mental illness has been such a huge part of my life for so long now that it has become second nature for me to incorporate it into my work. After suffering postnatal depression, anxiety, and panic attacks, I’ve been on anti-depressants for 11 years and regularly see a wonderful psychologist. Recently, I added a psychiatrist into the mix who diagnosed me with ADHD, so now I’m learning to juggle ADHD meds alongside the antidepressants. I’ve always been passionate about talking and writing openly and honestly about my own personal experiences because if there is any chance that I can help someone else with my words, then I’m going to take it.


I wrote...

You Need To Know

By Nicola Moriarty,

Book cover of You Need To Know

What is my book about?

Jill's three grown-up sons mean everything to her.

She would do anything for her boys - protect them, lie for them, even die for them. Then one day she receives an email with the subject line: 'You Need To Know.' Jill doesn't want to know. She leaves the warning unread. But some truths you can't hide from. Soon Jill will start to wonder if she knows her sons at all...

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