If you’re like me, there are a lot of things in life that don’t come easy to you. For me, one of them is motherhood. I have days when I feel like I’m rocking it and days when I feel like a failure. My oldest is soon to be 3 years old and my youngest is 7 months. I’m still very much in the perinatal period. My hormones are a mess and I feel like my brain is not operating at full capacity.
Most of the time, I feel incredibly grateful for the gifts that are my children. However, there are times when the stresses of life mixed with the demands of my career, and the obligations of family combine with the glass shattering screams of an infuriated toddler or an infant who doesn’t want to be put down and I secretly wonder if there’s a space somewhere I can hide and maybe even disappear. I’m not alone in having these thoughts, I know. I know this mostly because I’m a mental health professional. I’ve pretty much heard it all over the years since I first left grad school, degree in hand all bright-eyed and bushy tailed.
I also know this because I have been very open about my mental health struggles and have found that being open usually creates a safe space for others to be open as well. That’s the great thing about letting your guard down, it inspires vulnerability in others . That is, unless they are a complete jerk, in which case, you now know that is not somebody you need in your life. When you have people engaging with one another in an honest and vulnerable way, the magic happens and healing starts.
Unfortunately, there is still so much learning to be done in the medical and mental health communities when it comes to Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMAD). It’s not as simple as finding any old counsellor or doctor to talk to. If that counsellor or doctor doesn’t know anything about treating PMAD, then you could end up really regretting putting yourself out there and asking for help. That’s why I’d like to share with you what I have found to be the most helpful places on the internet to start your search.
Postpartum Support International
By far, the most comprehensive resource out there is Postpartum Support International. PSI has volunteer coordinators in all 50 US states as well as in over 36 countries. It has a toll-free help line available in English and Spanish (800) 944-4773. They also offer online support groups and specialized training and education. I personally have attended their 2 day PMAD: Components of Care seminar last summer, and found it to be powerful and inspiring.
Seleni Institute is another resource that offers support groups and workshops as well trainings and screening tools. What’s great about Seleni is that they also provide specialized support in coping with infertility, miscarriage and infant loss.
Additional resources are available in the UK:
As well as in Canada:
There are plenty of other resources online and a multitude of smaller and more regionalized organizations. The goal of this article is to assure you that there absolutely is help out there and you are most definitely not alone.