Benefits of Support Groups in the Postpartum Period
Updated: May 15, 2020
When you have a baby your whole life changes. You now have a little human to care for. You are not sleeping well, you will probably spend the first few weeks at home. Your hormones are up, down, and all around. You may be dealing with mood swings and frustrations with your partner. It can feel isolating; like you are the only one experiencing all of these changes at once. See my blog post here about more ways your life changes after having a child.
Enter support groups.
A support group can be such an important place for new moms. Some benefits from attending a support group are:
1. It is a place where you can share your happy moments and your difficulties with other people who are experiencing similar things. These are your people, and they get it.
2. It can help with the isolation you may be feeling. A support group brings you into a room with other people, and even just being around others one day a week can help with the feelings of isolation.
3. You can ask other moms how they are handling the same issues you are having. Moms love sharing advice. From brands of diapers to how they transition baby from bottle to food. It's a place where you can ask questions and get lots of feedback.
4. It can be a reason to get dressed, brush your teeth, and get out of the house. Sometimes as a new mom, we don't have many reasons to leave the house. Or shower. Having a set time and place to be somewhere can encourage you back into a little bit of a normal routine of self-care.
5. It can give you something to look forward to. In the group I used to run a lot of moms looked forward to the morning we had group. Some would arrive early and talk with the other moms before we started.
6. It is something that is just for you. As a new mom you may be running low on things that you do just for you. This can be one to two hours of time that are just for you to connect with other women, have some social time. Some moms that came to my group would go to Target afterwards, or get coffee just before. It's a time to treat yourself and focus on yourself.
Where can I find a support group?
1. The first place I suggest is searching www.postpartum.net. Postpartum Support International (PSI) has a list of support groups that you can search by your zip code. The support groups are free and led by PSI members who are trained to run support groups.
2. You can talk with your child's pediatrician to see if they know of any support groups for new moms in your area.
3. Talk with your OBGYN or Midwife. They may have a list of local support groups for new moms.
Where can I meet new moms if I don't feel comfortable with a support group?
You may be feeling wary of attending something called a support group. If that is the case, you can try a few of the places listed below to meet new mom friends.
1. Mommy and me groups. There are Mommy and Me workouts, Mommy and Me yoga, Mommy and me dance classes, etc. These would all be great places to get out and meet new moms that have children around the same age as yours.
2. Library story time. Most local public libraries have story times for babies, toddlers, and preschool-aged children. You can arrive to the library a little bit before story time, or stay a little bit after, to allow your child to see and play with other children, and to allow yourself some social time to meet other parents.
Postpartum Depression Support
If you find that you are having more prolonged periods of sadness, anger, anxiety, or other symptoms of depression check in with your OBGYN or General Practitioner. You may need more specialized support for symptoms of Postpartum Depression. This can include individual counseling, group counseling, and/or medication to help you cope with your symptoms. PSI's website has a list of therapists and doctors that you can search by Zip Code as well if you would like to begin your search there.