We’ve all experienced it. A feeling of heaviness or a dark cloud that seems to be hovering over us. It could be the post-holiday blues. Maybe it’s “Oh, wow, I’m-having-a-baby!” anxiety. If you’ve recently given birth, it could be “the baby blues,” or it could be more than that. It could be a more serious condition known as postpartum depression, an extended chemical imbalance experienced by some after giving birth which calls for more serious intervention and care. Whatever the case is for you–whether it’s your circumstances or your mental health state causing you to feel down, ignoring the problem, or just giving it time probably isn’t the best solution.
You need and deserve to feel whole and have hope. So, if you need help seeing beyond your present circumstances or find yourself feeling down more than you feel neutral or up, it’s definitely worth considering seeking out mental health support options. Knowing where to begin can feel overwhelming, so we’ve put together this guide to help you.
Assess your feelings
Let’s face it: pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period can be stressful times. But, if you are feeling overwhelmed the majority of the time, it may not just be normal stress and anxiety. Postpartum Support International has developed this online tool to help you put words and context to your feelings. They also have a number you can call or text “HELP” to for immediate assistance. It’s 800.944.4773. If you want a description of what postpartum depression feels like, this blog would be a helpful resource to determine the level of help you might need.
Tell others how you’re feeling.
Often we mask our feelings of sadness because we want to feel like we can manage on our own or because we want to be okay for others. But we weren’t meant to go through this life with all its struggles alone or to pretend we’re okay when we’re not. If you’re feeling sad or overwhelmed by your circumstances, reach out to a friend or a family member.
If you are in a time of struggle but don’t have someone to talk to, an organization called 7 Cups provides free 24/7 anonymous access to someone who can provide a listening ear. Locally, you can call the Miami Valley Warmline for confidential mental health support services. For guidance from a Christian perspective, ChatNow.org provides immediate access to someone who will listen and guide you during a difficult time.
While being transparent and vulnerable about your feelings likely won’t be enough to heal you, it is an important step to acknowledge your feelings and find someone you can turn to in times of trouble. Struggle isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s something we all experience, so if we can talk about it together, we’re all better when we reach out to others in some way.
Reach out to a Community Mental Health Center
Local community mental health centers or clinics provide counseling and therapy services at reduced costs for individuals with limited financial means. They often offer sliding-scale fees based on income.
In Montgomery County, The Alcohol, Drug Addiction, and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) of Montgomery County provides help and financial assistance to individuals seeking mental health and/or drug addiction services with contracted agencies based on family size, income, and medical necessity/eligibility. No one is denied services due to lack of insurance. See how fees are adjusted by income level here. Similarly, South Community provides mental health services for residents throughout Montgomery County.
Look for nonprofit organizations that focus on women’s mental health and parenting support. Organizations like Postpartum Support International (mentioned above) and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) both have local chapters or affiliates that can connect you with low-cost or free mental health resources and support groups.
Online Support Groups
You’ve probably noticed that you often feel better when you can relate to people in your circle who are going through circumstances that are similar to yours or who are in the same phase of life as you. If you don’t have access to others in this way or simply prefer a virtual group, consider joining an online support group specifically designed for young mothers. Platforms like Postpartum Support International, Facebook groups, or the website Postpartum Progress can provide helpful articles and a virtual community where mothers can share experiences and find emotional support.
A final option to explore is telehealth counseling services. Many therapists and mental health professionals now offer remote sessions, which can be more convenient and often more affordable than traditional in-person counseling. Resources like the Faithful Counseling website or Betterhelp.com offer online therapy services. If you have health insurance, search on your healthcare provider’s website to see what telehealth options are available. With many plans, these sessions are offered at no cost.
No one should have to experience the dark cloud of depression or the uneasiness of anxiety without support from loved ones or trained mental health professionals. Additionally, local churches, community groups, and women’s shelters may also provide information or referrals for mental health support.
Don’t suffer alone. Help and hope can be found when you know where to look, and your tomorrows can be brighter.