Giving birth and welcoming a baby to the world can be exciting. But it is equally scary. Some parents often report getting overwhelmed by the new experience. This can often lead to feelings of distress that can affect their emotions, mental health, physical well-being, and behavior.
These feelings (often called baby blues) typically start as mood swings, unwanted negative thoughts, and a lack of energy. For most parents, they will usually go away within a few days. But if left unchecked, they can metamorphose into anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, stress disorders, and, worse, postpartum depression (PPD).
So, how can you avoid reaching that stage?
The U.S. Office on Women’s Health recommends that you reach out for help if you feel empty, emotionless, or sad all or most of the time for longer than two weeks during or after pregnancy. According to the NYC Health Department, building a support system is one of the best ways of finding help. This can be achieved through talking to your partner, family members, and trusted support.
With that in mind, how can you build a community and support system during the postpartum period, and why is it important?
Why Moms Need Postpartum Support Group
According to Word Health Organization (WHO), depression and anxiety are common during pregnancy and after childbirth. Support groups offer one of the best ways to prevent them. According to 2022 research, postpartum women with low social support had 4.63-fold higher odds of postpartum depression than those with high social support.
New moms often have to deal with a lot. Without a support group, it can be hard to cope. And that is often why you might find yourself in an unlikely position.
The constant change, uncertainty, feelings of doubt, fear, isolation, and societal expectations can all affect your spirit and emotions. This might prevent you from giving yourself and your baby the care you deserve. A postpartum support group can help you address all these issues. Think of it as the little sanity escape your take to rejuvenate.
The Importance of Postpartum Support Group
According to the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences, peer support in the form of support groups is one of the ways to treat baby blues. New moms can gain a lot when they connect, create a support system and build a community.
A postpartum support group can be a great way to learn coping skills and grow as a parent. You can hear success stories from seasoned parents who have been in your shoes. You can learn amazing tips to deal with your everyday challenges and ensure you overcome all obstacles.
And that’s not all. Let’s explore some more benefits of postpartum support groups:
Find A Judgment-Free Community For Support
As a new parent, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed and stressed sometimes. It can be challenging to navigate all the ups and downs of parenting. It’s common to feel like you need a safe space to vent and express your emotions without fear of judgment.
This is where postpartum support groups come in. They offer a judgment-free community where you can connect with other parents who understand what you’re going through. Whether you’re dealing with intrusive friends and family, sleep deprivation, or any other challenges that come with parenthood, a support group can provide a safe and welcoming space. Here, you can share your experiences and find solace in the fact that you’re not alone.
In these groups, you’ll find other moms who have gone through or are going through the same experiences as you. They’ll listen to you without judgment, offer encouragement and advice, and provide a sense of community and belonging that can be hard to find elsewhere.
Expressing your emotions freely can be incredibly cathartic and help you release any built-up tension or negative thoughts. You’ll find the empathy, understanding, and validation that can be so crucial in navigating the challenges of new parenthood.
A Chance to Connect with Like-Minded Moms
Connecting with like-minded moms in a support group can be a game-changer for postpartum mothers. The mere realization that you’re not alone in your struggles can provide a sense of comfort and relief. The experience of hearing someone else voice similar concerns and issues can be an incredibly validating experience.
Being part of a group that understands what you’re going through can help you accept and appreciate your situation.
Moreover, joining a support group means having access to unlimited help and inspiration from fellow moms who have been there before. You can connect with a mentor who can guide you through the ups and downs of motherhood, offer helpful tips, and answer any questions you may have. Hearing stories of success and perseverance from other moms can inspire you to keep going, even on tough days.
One of the most significant benefits of a support group is its accountability. You’re less likely to feel alone or unsupported when you’re part of a group. You have a built-in system of check-ins and updates.
This accountability can help ensure that you’re taking care of yourself and doing everything possible to improve. And if you’re not getting better, your support group can help you find the best resources you need. This can be getting you into therapy or connecting you with a healthcare professional.
Provide support, encouragement, information, and resources
Becoming a new mother can be both a joyous and challenging experience. You are filled with excitement and love for your little one, but at the same time, you may feel overwhelmed, exhausted, and unsure of your abilities as a parent. This is where a supportive postpartum group can be invaluable.
Support groups can provide a safe environment where you can connect with other mothers going through similar experiences. In these groups, you will find encouragement, support, and resources you may not have access to elsewhere. You’ll be surrounded by a community of individuals who understand what you’re going through and can offer practical advice and emotional support.
And that’s not all; a postpartum support group can help you eliminate self-doubt and start thriving. You will have someone who can be your biggest fan and encourage you on your parenting journey. Sometimes all you need is someone to validate your emotions and tell you, “you are doing a great job.”
Finally, a support group can also help you understand your mistakes. And they can highlight these mistakes less assertively. They will then offer you the resources and information you need to fix those mistakes and be a super mom.
Escape Isolation and Practice Self-care
As a new parent, it’s easy to fall into the trap of making your newborn the center of your universe. While it’s natural to prioritize your baby’s needs, this can leave you feeling isolated and disconnected from the world around you.
Postpartum groups help you escape this type of isolation that can breed loneliness. You can establish a community connection and gain a sense of belonging by joining a support group.
In addition to providing emotional support, many support groups offer practical benefits like organizing get-togethers and simple yoga classes. These events provide a welcome escape from the demands of motherhood and offer an opportunity to connect with other adults. Taking time to care for yourself is essential, as it allows you to recharge and be more present and attentive when caring for your baby.
Joining a postpartum support group is a proactive step towards practicing self-care and prioritizing your well-being as a new parent. Remember, self-care leads to a more fulfilling experience for you and your baby.
Better Understanding of Postpartum Concerns
Postpartum support groups are an excellent resource for new mothers experiencing the challenges of adjusting to motherhood.
One of the significant benefits of joining a postpartum support group is gaining a better understanding of postpartum concerns. These groups provide education about postpartum depression and other conditions, enabling members to comprehend how and why these conditions affect them.
These support groups are even more valuable because they are facilitated and led by professional healthcare providers. As a result, you can rest assured that you are receiving accurate and helpful treatment advice and coping skills from professionals. They can help you understand what you are going through, offer you practical advice, and assist you in dealing with any postpartum concerns.
The Different Types of Postpartum Support Group
While mothers are the ones who are usually at a high risk of postpartum stress, anxiety, and PPD, these conditions can affect anyone connected to the mother. That’s why there are different support groups for everyone.
Affected Mothers: These groups target mothers as they are more likely to suffer from postpartum conditions. They help mothers circumvent their new roles. They offer a welcoming environment, and mothers can sign up during the prenatal stage or years after the birth of their child. You can join one whenever you need a supportive community.
Affected Fathers: According to research published in the National Library of Medicine, prenatal and postpartum depression was evident in about 10% of fathers. The study concluded that they typically manifest within the 3- to 6-month postpartum period. Support groups for fathers provide postpartum resources and a community to prevent fathers and husbands from suffering in silence.
Affected Families: These support groups help families, friends, and loved ones of mothers and husbands suffering from postpartum conditions. They typically offer information on how to help and support the affected mother and father.
Affected Couples: Postpartum conditions often manifest in a manner that might cause marital problems. These support groups are beneficial if you are experiencing marital challenges following the birth of a child. They typically teach couples how to communicate better or look for healthy ways to support each other.
All Moms Can Benefits From Postpartum Support
Whether you are having baby blues or simply want to connect with other parents, postpartum groups offer all kinds of benefits.
Most support groups for new or expecting moms typically meet virtually or online weekly or bi-weekly. Hospitals and birthing centers mostly organize them. Therefore, they are led by licensed therapists or psychologists.
Participants are usually in charge of picking the discussion and themes of the week, and they might vary from week to week. Nonetheless, some of the things you will learn at the support group include:
- How to manage relationships with spouses, family, and friends
- How to cope with and manage mood changes
- How to normalize stressors and worries during the postpartum stage
For all the mamas out there, you should know that you are never alone. If you need a community, talk to your doctor or other mothers you know to connect you to a support group.