Guest Blog post from Shana Averbach, LMFT
Maternal, and really ALL parental mental health deeply matters. I wanted to use this space to highlight one amazing resource that meets many needs.
But first, context. Wellbeing in the perinatal (pregnancy through one year postpartum) stage and beyond impacts individuals, couples, families, and society at large. And yet, new parents can feel pretty un- or under-supported on an average day in this country. It’s been an extra tough couple years on mental health overall and certainly for perinatal mental health.
Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs), which are already considered the most common complication of childbirth, have skyrocketed even higher for all the obvious reasons. In the last few years the pandemic has created some unique challenges to parents and parents-to-be connecting to what they need, whether that’s access to healthcare or safe access to the most common informal supports (natural resources, if you will) such as family and friends and community-building organizations.
We know we need to build and access a village, and the pandemic has made that particularly hard to do.
Lucky for all of us, one my absolute favorite resources for all things perinatal mental health - Postpartum Support International - has grown its capacity during the pandemic. Like a deeply supported parent - able to sustainably give their best - they have offerings that range from digestible educational articles to numerous free virtual support groups and a first-of-its-kind National Maternal Mental Health Hotline [accessible by phone or text at 1-833-9-HELP4MOMS (1-833-943-5746) in English and Spanish. TTY Users can use a preferred relay service or dial 711 and then 1-833-943-5746.]
Below is a list of current support group offerings, which I spell out to offer readers a chance to see themselves in the descriptions. All groups are available to view at this link:
- Bipolar Support for Moms and Birthing People
- Birth Mom Support Group
- Black Moms Connect
- Dad Support Group
- Desi Chaat: A Support Group For South-Asian Moms
- Military Moms - Perinatal Mood Support Group
- NICU Parents
- Mental Health Support for Special Needs and Medically Fragile Parenting
- Parents of Multiples
- Perinatal Mood Support for Moms
- Perinatal Mood Support for Parents
- Perinatal OCD Support for Moms
- Postpartum Psychosis Support for Moms
- Pregnancy Mood Support Group
- Queer and Trans Parent Support Group
- Support for Parents of 1-4 Year Old Children
- Teenage Mothers Connect
Finally, for those doing a therapist search, here is the PSI provider directory, the membership having also grown in the last few years: https://psidirectory.com/
Sometimes simply knowing that there is a place to turn in distress can extinguish the fear that we are alone. Even on our hardest day, we are not alone. And with support and connection, our brightest days are ahead.
Shana Averbach is a mom of two delectable and exhausting kiddos, a San Francisco (born and raised)-based therapist in private practice, and a smasher of mental health stigma. You can find her futzing on IG at talk_to_shana and find more resources and practice information at www.shanaaverbach.comHeadline image from Postpartum Support International website.