CBT for Postpartum Depression

Examples of Mia's online exercises

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Mia's Thought Challenge Exercises Watch the Stress Log Tutorial

Mia's Stress Log Example - 1

In this Stress Log Mia writes about the day when her daughter, Emma was born. She identifies the intense emotions she has and her negative thoughts at the moment

Mia has challenged the thoughts in blue

Click on them to see her Thought Challenge exercises

8/4/2012 9:30PM

Holding baby in the hospital, day after birth

Sad 100%

Anxious 90%

I should be very happy now


I must be a very bad person not to be happy to have a daughter


I won’t be able to take care of her



Mia is having many thoughts that explain why she is feeling so depressed. The word "should," as well as rules in general, is a common thinking pattern in people with depression. Questioning these rules might be a very important part of their treatment.

Predicting the future is also a very common thinking pattern that can make people feel depressed. When Mia thinks "I won't be able to take care of her", she is predicting something that has not happened yet. When Mia learns to catch herself making these kind of negative predictions of the future, she will be able to question their validity and as a consequence feel less depressed.


Mia's Stress Log Example - 2

It is Mia's first night at home after delivering Emma. Mia has woken up twice already to breast feed Emma, but she just started crying again.

In this Stress Log Mia reports how depressed, tired and irritated she was feeling. She was also able to describe several negative thoughts she had at the moment.

9/7/2012 2:30AM

Trying to sleep, baby crying

Depressed 95%

Irritated 80%

Tired 90%

I no longer have a life


I’ll be changing diapers and taking care of kids for the rest of my life


All my other plans and ambitions are now out of reach



Obvious exaggerations, like "I don’t have a life" and "for the rest of my life" are often part of the culture we live in and not unique to people undergoing emotional stress, like Mia. Nonetheless, Mia would suffer less if she interpreted her situation in a more balanced way


Mia's Stress Log Example - 3

Mia takes Emma to her first check-up with a pediatrician. Even before seeing the doctor her mind can't stop imagining all sorts of possible problems.

9/14/2012 11:30AM

Took Emma to first pediatrician check-up, was told she needs to gain weight faster

Overwhelmed 100%

Depressed 95%

Emma will get sick and have some permanent damage


Emma could die


It is all my fault



Being a bad person and being incapable of being a good mother are two of Mia's core beliefs. They make her prone to interpret situations like this negatively

Mia’s charged negative thoughts explain why she felt so depressed after the visit to the pediatrician. But it goes both ways. Her negative emotions also predispose her to think negatively. Challenging her negative thinking can help her break the vicious cycle