How to Find Postpartum Depression Support Groups

As many as 1 in 7 women suffers from postpartum depression. More serious and long-lasting than the “baby blues,” postpartum depression can involve devastating feelings of sadness, guilt, anxiety, listlessness, and a host of other symptoms after the birth of a child. It outlasts the common 1 to 2 week period of mixed feelings that many new mothers experience, and can continue for many weeks or months, particularly if left untreated. For many women, therapy and, in some cases, medication, can resolve the symptoms of postpartum depression. Support groups help many women identify with other mothers who have experienced similar feelings, and can offer hope and a steady path toward recovery. Support groups are often very effective at starting or aiding the healing process, and can offer a free or low cost alternative to medication and professional counseling. Knowing how to find a postpartum depression support group is half the battle, and by attending, you can begin your road to freedom from postpartum depression.


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    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.
    • 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.
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    Discuss your feelings and worries with family and friends.
    • 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.
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    Enquire within your community. 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.
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    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.
    • 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.


  • Acquaintances may make unlikely impromptu supporters. Because postpartum depression is so common, events that bring many new mothers together can be an opportunity to connect with other women experiencing the same stressors and challenges as you. Be open to talking about your troubles with other women you run into at mommy yoga classes, day care drop-off, and other activities.
  • Combine a healthy diet and moderate exercise with support group therapy to reap the greatest benefit. Diet and exercise can help speed the recovery process by rebalancing chemicals in your brain and providing your body with the necessary energy and nutrients it needs to repair itself.
  • Tell a friend or family member about your desire to attend the support group and ask that he or she please baby-sit for the duration of the session. Knowing that your child is in good hands will allow you to focus on your own healing.
  • Acknowledge that postpartum depression is a medical condition, grouped with other mental illnesses known as mood disorders. Feeling symptoms of postpartum depression do not mean you are a bad mother, and it is important to know that you did nothing wrong or deserving of these emotions. Seeking professional advice and the support of a group of women who have shared your experiences can help you get back to your usual self.


  • Women experiencing postpartum depression occasionally fear they may hurt their own babies, although they virtually never act on these thoughts. If you are afraid of hurting your child, ask someone to watch the baby and call a helpline, health professional, or trusted friend.
  • Postpartum depression can sometimes lead women to consider suicide or self-harm. If you are having such thoughts, call a health professional, helpline, or friend or relative immediately and tell them so.
  • Do not attempt to self-medicate. If you require medical treatment or pharmaceuticals to recover, begin treatment only under the supervision of a medical professional.
  • In rare cases, postpartum depression can be the beginning of more serious postpartum psychosis. This may require more than support groups and therapy to resolve, and treatment should be chosen in concert with a health professional experienced in addressing such illnesses.

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Categories: Pregnancy