Book Review: This Isn’t What I Expected – Overcoming Postpartum Depression

Posted On: June 3, 2018

This Isn’t What I Expected is a great book about postpartum depression (PPD). One in seven women suffer from it and this book explains what causes it (essentially hormones), the different types of PPD, and what can be done.

When I got to page 22 of this book, I was blown away by how I was learning more about postpartum depression than I ever have any talk or movie. Honestly I wish some speakers from events I’ve attended could just have been more succid in their presentations instead of leading us on a merry go round, with much ado with very little substance! For instance, there is a difference between baby blues, postpartum stress, stress syndrome, postpartum panic disorder, and postpartum obsessive-compulsive disorder! The book explained what each was, and how to deal with each of them.

Then there is a very heady chapter explaining all about medications. The book highlighted how doctors looking for depression might be failing to ask about stress or panic for instance. I like the checklists. This book is for anybody who suspect they have PPD or are supporting people who have or might have PPD – this would include medical professionals, healthcare providers, sexuality educators, all other helping professionals.

I absolutely loved the distinction between baby blues, postpartum stress, stress syndrome, postpartum panic disorder, and postpartum obsessive-compulsive disorder, and what to do about each.

I was also blown away by the chapter on fantasies and expectations of motherhood. This resonated with me because I was planning a workshop on healing the mother (or parent) wound, and the entire chapter could have been a workshop by itself. This book has a lot of substance and I love this book a lot.

I already love this book a lot. I supposed to improve it, one could include more stories, quotes, and anecdotes though too many of them can become wary and tiresome. I was very overwhelmed by the medical chapter with the drugs – and perhaps a less USA centric book (the world doesn’t revolve around USA!) would be beneficial. Images of the drugs might be helpful for us when identifying and researching them.

I also suppose the book could address PPD that happens due to still born, miscarriage, death of a child as opposed to assuming that PDD only happens to those with living children.

The most significant thing was already mentioned: the difference baby blues, postpartum stress, stress syndrome, postpartum panic disorder, and postpartum obsessive-compulsive disorder. The book made me realise that PDD is more complex than I originally thought. It would definitely better equip me to work with clients. I see this as a great reference book that deserves to be read in more detail, especially the chapter on medicine which overwhelmed me.

The book is a book that needs to be re-read especially the part about medicine. My eyes would go into some kind of daze, and my head would just go into some kind fog just looking at the breakdown of the medications. Each deserves more reading up on, and understanding, and my clients would deserve me taking the time to learn about them. So this book would be my go-to reference to start understanding more about drugs and their side effects so I can better support and advice clients.

I can see myself being about to extract parts of the book like the checklists to make sure I get a comprehensive history from clients. This is useful when there are so many things to ask about in a session, and this would be useful since I haven’t actually worked with many clients with PPD.

About the Authors

Karen Kleiman, MSW, LCSW, an international expert on postpartum depression, is the founder of The Postpartum Stress Center. Her other books include”Dropping the Baby and Other Scary Thoughts”and”Therapy and the Postpartum Woman.”

Valerie Davis Raskin, MD, is a Regional Medical Officer-Psychiatrist with the United States Foreign Service. She was formerly Chief of the Psychiatry Service and the Hines Veterans Administration Hospital, where she worked in the Women’s Health Clinic, and was cofounder of the Women’s Psychiatry Service in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago.”

About the Reviewer

Dr. Martha Tara Lee is Founder, Relationship Counselor Clinical Sexologist of Eros Coaching. She is a certified sexologist with a Doctorate in Human Sexuality. She provides sexuality and relationship coaching and counseling for individuals and couples, conducts sexual education workshops and speaks at public events. She is the author of the books Love, Sex and Everything In-Between, and Orgasmic Yoga. She is also the host of the weekly radio show Eros Evolution on OMTimes Radio. For more, visit or email

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