The Chutes & Ladders of PPD Recovery

As I meet with women daily in the hospital that are at high risk for developing postpartum depression or anxiety, it always makes me feel good to tell them that PPD/Anxiety is completely treatable. The sooner it is recognized and mothers begin getting the support and treatment they need, the sooner they begin to feel like themselves again.

Every woman’s recovery is different. For some a support group is just what they need. For others it is individual therapy. For some it is medication. And for many it is a combination of or all of these three options.

Some women recover very quickly. For others it takes more time. But a common theme that I have noticed in my work with these moms in our PPA Support Groups is that most of them experience “ups and downs” in their recovery journey. The other day I read an article by Katherine Stone that described the recovery process perfectly. As I read, I found myself nodding my head. I thought I would share it to give you a picture of what some of our moms experience after they leave the hospital with their baby.

How Recovery From Postpartum Depression Is Like Playing Chutes & Ladders

Have you ever played the children’s board game Chutes & Ladders? As players move through the game, they advance along the board, sometimes skipping ahead several spaces by landing on a ladder and sometimes falling behind several spaces by landing on a chute.

I like to describe recovery from postpartum depression and anxiety as being like a game of Chutes & Ladders. For a while you’ll be moving along nicely, maybe even having such a great day that you feel you’ve shot forward to the end. You’ve reached out for treatment, you’ve been doing what you’re supposed to do and you are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Then, for whatever reason, you fall back into a hole of despair. A bad day, or a string of bad days, hits and you become convinced that you’ll never get better.

Setbacks are a completely normal part of recovery from PPD, PPOCD and PPA. I can’t tell you how many women I hear from who are worried about them and want to find out if other women experience them. The answer is a resounding yes. I can’t tell you that I know exactly why they happen, because I’m still not very clear on how the brain works, but I do know they happen all the time. I also know that they don’t last and that you should never give up.

If you just keep going, despite temporary obstacles, you’ll realize the same thing that pre-school players of Chutes & Ladders learn: No matter what happens, the players always make it to the end of the game.

–Kelly Ryan, MSW, Parenting Program Postpartum Adjustment Coordinator

5 Responses to “The Chutes & Ladders of PPD Recovery”


  1. 1 Anonymous July 13, 2011 at 10:03 am

    Great article, Kelly! It is spot on for explaining the “ups and downs” that many experience with postpartum depression. Thank you for all that you do to help support our families…at Beaumont and in the community. You are changing lives with your message of hope and recovery.

  2. 2 Anonymous July 13, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    Also true a lot of the time when you have a premature baby…one step forward…two steps back…

  3. 3 AmyinMotown July 13, 2011 at 11:47 pm

    I love this! So true–and also a good metaphor for new motherhood. I could see this being helpful with IFS families too!

  4. 4 childminder didsbury south manchester babysitting overnight before and after school pick up www.childcare.co.uk February 25, 2013 at 11:57 pm

    I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own blog and was wondering what all is required to get setup? I’m assuming having a blog like
    yours would cost a pretty penny? I’m not very web savvy so I’m not 100% certain. Any recommendations or advice would be greatly appreciated. Cheers


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