Figure out whether you have postpartum depression or just the “baby blues.” Although you should seek the evaluation of a health professional, you may be able to determine whether your symptoms are a passing phase or a more permanent state of mind.,
Discuss your feelings and worries with family and friends.,
Enquire within your community.,
Make sure you like the group you have found; if not, continue the search until you find a support group that makes you feel comfortable and safe.
If your feelings of anxiety, sadness, guilt, or ambivalence last more than a week or two after your baby is born, you should consult a therapist or health professional to see if you have postpartum depression.
Postpartum depression may involve more worrying symptoms, such as thoughts of self-harm or fearing you may harm your baby, than the “baby blues” typically do. If you feel the need for a support group or therapy, keep in mind that you can attend even without an official diagnosis of postpartum depression.;
Acknowledge that your best support group could be closer than you think; family and friends may be able to offer necessary support and a sympathetic ear. Because postpartum depression is so common, it is possible that a friend or relative may have even experienced postpartum depression as well.
Alerting your family and friends to the fact that you have postpartum depression may help ease your concerns about caring for the baby, taking care of yourself, and getting things done around the house. Assistance with babysitting and housework can give you extra time and space to work through your feelings and seek the care you need.
, Ask a health services center, depression hotline, or counseling agency whether they know of any postpartum depression support groups that meet on a regular basis.
In-person support groups may offer significant benefits for your mental health, as they let you connect on a personal basis. They allow visible and physical connections that can have a positive impact on your depression, and getting to know local women with the same struggles can help build a support network for outside activities and connections.
If you are unable to get information from a therapist or health professional, many websites keep track of permanent groups. Take advantage of online databases that maintain lists of local postpartum depression support groups or group therapy events that appeal to you.
If there are no local groups available or if you prefer to start with online support, consider using Internet chat groups. In some cases, the anonymity of online support groups may help you share your feelings without fear of judgment or the constraints of local support group meeting times. These online chat groups may also be able to offer suggestions for alternate local support groups, such as general depression or mental illness support groups that can substitute for postpartum depression groups if necessary.
A good support group will validate your feelings and help you work through them. Knowing you are not alone may go a long way toward helping you heal.
Talk therapy in support groups should also be beneficial to you in other ways, introducing you to women with similar experiences who can serve as supportive friends even after you recover from your postpartum depression.
Not all support groups are the same. Some will be lead by a therapist or counselor, while others will be dominated by member discussion. Still others may just be small groups of women who do different activities while offering emotional support to each other. Find the type of group you prefer and stick with it for as long as you feel it helps you.