Emotional support for postpartum parents

Bringing a new baby home knocks everyone a bit off course. It’s normal to feel very tired, weepy, and out of sorts in the beginning! Both parents can be profoundly affected by these changes. Some “baby blues” are to be expected, but it’s important to equip yourself and your loved ones with the tools to recognize the signs of postpartum depression and anxiety. If your symptoms aren’t going away, or are getting worse, it’s a good idea to check in with your healthcare provider.

As many as 1 in 7 parents will suffer a perinatal mood and anxiety disorder (PMAD). Symptoms can appear any time during pregnancy through many months after childbirth. People of every culture, age, income level, and race can be affected — even birth partners!

Beyond sadness or worry, PMADs can masquerade as unexplainable dread, disconnection, rage, or a desperate need to escape from the new life you’ve created for yourself. It’s a bewildering, isolating experience, but it is temporary. This is not who you are, this is is a symptom of illness. There are effective, well-researched treatment options to help you recover. There is no reason to continue to suffer. You will not always feel like this.

You are not alone. You are not to blame. With help, you will be well.

If you know something is just not right with you, but you’re not sure how to describe it, this online quiz can provide you with the language to talk to your healthcare provider about your feelings.

If you feel like you might hurt yourself or your baby, or for any other
mental health emergencies, call 911 or 774-HELP (774-4357).

Where to find help for PMADs

Postpartum Support International (PSI) is dedicated to connecting parents with the help you need, no matter where you live. Their web site offers online support groups, chat sessions with mental health experts, and discussion forums, as well as specialized support for military families and Spanish and Arabic speakers.  

PSI Text Support 503-894-9453
PSI Warm Line 800-944-4773
PSI Web Site http://www.postpartum.net

Get connected

Social support is a huge factor in reducing postpartum isolation. Connecting with people who understand what it’s like to have a baby at home is a great way to take care of yourself and your baby. There are many free and low-cost meetups in greater Portland for parents and babies. Even if they are not specifically focused on postpartum health, they can still be supportive places for you to feel less alone. Check out my list of parenting groups for days, times, and descriptions.

in person

Bangor: Tree of HOPE (Healthy Outlooks on Postpartum Experiences) at EMMC

Belfast/Rockport: Postpartum Support Group

Falmouth — Maternal Health Alliance of Maine empathy circle

Waterville: Tree of HOPE at Northern Light Inland Hospital

online

PSI Online Support Meetings: free but registration required
English: Tuesdays at 6:30 PM Eastern
Spanish: Tuesdays at 8:30 PM Eastern
Military: Wednesdays at 6:30 PM Eastern

PSI Chat With an Expert: free and no registration required
Moms: Wednesdays at varying times
Dads: First Monday of the month