There’s no doubt about it, having a baby is a big life-changing event. On top of the excitement, there are many other emotions and feelings which come into play. You may feel nervous, overwhelmed and worried about this new responsibility. The avalanche of visitors and the sleep deprivation lead to an uncertain time for many parents.
For some, those feelings escalate, rather than settle down and can be a symptom of Postnatal Depression.
We would always advocate seeking support from your doctor and health visitor in the first instance, as well as family and friends. But we also understand that Postnatal Depression can be a source of shame – a time where you may feel to blame and very much alone. And whilst, you are absolutely not to blame nor are you alone, we wanted to help you add to your support network. We’ve found five sources of online support for you. Spaces where you can find comfort and support from people who understand what you are going through, because they’ve been there too. You can dip in and out of these resources as you choose.
#PNDHOUR and #PNDCHAT
Rosey AKA @PNDandme is a Mum who facilitates #PNDHour which is an online peer support group that runs every Wednesday at 8pm, on Twitter.
#PNDHour tweetchat 8-9pm. We discuss what happens when you seek help for antenatal or postnatal depression? Debunking some myths. Please RT
— Rosey (@PNDandMe) March 30, 2016
- Anyone can join in the conversation. You can discuss topics about antenatal and postnatal depression, self-care, medication and seeking help.
In addition to #PNDHOUR, Rosey also facilitates #PNDCHAT:
The hashtag #PNDChat can be used to access peer support for those affected by Postnatal Depression(not monitored 24/7,checked daily).PlsRT
— Rosey (@PNDandMe) March 30, 2016
What we find so useful with these, is that if you don’t yet feel brave enough to actively take part, you can search Twitter for those hashtags. In doing so, you can read about other people’s experiences and use their hindsight as your foresight.
- This is an online community run and moderated by Mind, the mental health charity. Mind moderate the community and help to keep those who use the site safe. The Ele team are available to respond to any questions. They are also on hand to help with difficult situations during these hours:
- Monday-Friday: 10am to midnight
- Saturday-Sunday: 10am to 2pm/5pm to midnight
Elefriends is a place where you can give, and receive, support from your peers. You can sign-up via Facebook or with a username and password. Either way, you can choose to enter your real name or choose to remain anonymous and use a nickname.
The Postpartum Psychosis (PP) forum is open to anyone that has PP. If you are recovering, if you are a partner, family member, or friend, or even if you had PP many years ago.
It is an open forum which is moderated by volunteers. Everyone there has personal experience of PP. That really helps when you want practical ideas and inspiration about how to deal with Postnatal Depression or PP.
The online forum is part of the HealthUnlocked community which is a social network for health. It’s a peer-to-peer support network made up of patients, carers and healthcare specialists. You can sign up via Facebook too and as with some of the other groups, you don’t have to use your real name if you don’t want to.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be suicidal to use any of The Samaritans’ facilities. The email service is perfect for those who struggle to pick up the phone, who might find it difficult to talk about the way they are feeling. It’s also a great way to have an outlet in the middle of the night, when negative thoughts can feel particularly relentless.
You start a conversation with one of their volunteers, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. None of the volunteers will see your email address, the service is completely confidential. The Samaritans aim to reply within 12 hours.
This is a great online support forum. If you’d like to read previous posts, you can do so without registering on the site. You only need to register if you’d like to post or comment.
Conversations are really varied too. From tips on how to get through those first few months with your little one, to those who are struggling with Postnatal Depression at the moment.If you do post something you will get a response quite quickly from either another Mum, or a NetMums Parent Supporter.
Postnatal Depression is not an indication that you are a bad parent. It’s an illness which requires help and support. There is no assumption either by healthcare professionals, that your baby is at risk. However, if you feel as though your safety, and that of your baby’s, are at risk please seek help immediately.