You are likely visiting this page because you or a loved one is suffering postpartum mental illness and I want to congratulate you! Seeking help is the first step in your journey towards feeling better. This list is by no means all-inclusive. Each person's experience with PPD is unique and their recovery plan must meet their own needs and goals. As I move along my own path to rediscovering myself I will add to the list. Similarly, if you would like to suggest other resources please do in the comments section. If something in the list doesn't appeal to you, or if you try something and it doesn't help then move along and try something else. Don't give up - you are worth it and you WILL feel better.
1. Family, friends, and neighbours
The people closest to us are often our best supporters. Although you may, at first, feel anxious or uncomfortable telling your loved ones about your inner struggles, chances are that they will be relieved to know that they can help you along your path to recovery.
2. Mommy friends
Mommy friends get it. Even if they haven't suffered with PPD, they still know how being a Mom is tough work. If you don't have a circle of Mommy friends, try to commit to attending some local Mom and me programs within the community. Baby Time at the library is a good bet. You could also join Worms and Wee Ones Outdoor Play Group. Or try attending your local Strong Start Centre. If you have a larger budget then think about music classes or a MyGym membership. It can be scary to put yourself out there and talk to "strangers" but I promise you that if you give it a chance you WILL make new friends.
3. Family Doctor
Your family doctor is a great person to add to your support team. They can do much more than prescribe drugs. They can assist you in finding community resources that you may have otherwise been unaware. They can also do testing on hormone and nutrient levels which may be an issue for you during the postpartum time.
4. Naturopathic Doctor
I love my ND. She has been such a blessing for me during my struggles. An ND can help identify nutrient and hormone imbalances and food intolerances which may be contributing to your physical symptoms. If you are a candidate, there are some supplements that can be taken to aid in recovering from mental illness.
5. Psychiatrist / Psychologist / Therapist
This was the hardest for me. I don't know why society makes us feel like inferior, crazy beings for seeking help with regards to our mental health. My counsellor has opened doors for me. Doors within myself that were once closed. She is seriously a mind magician. I visit her once per week and we chat over a cup of tea. There is no pendulum swinging or laying on a chaise lounge while she makes me feel like crap. So far it has honestly just been like having a good conversation with my best friend. I leave with practical and simple ideas of how to tackle challenging problems. If I had have known before what I know now I would have gone to visit her a long time ago. Please just give therapy a chance - you really do deserve it.
6. Pacific Postpartum Support Society
Visit the website to see what this wonderful resource can do for you. They have several support groups throughout the Lower Mainland, which I have heard are phenomenal. They even provide childminding while you attend the meetings. I recently read the society's book (Postpartum Depression and Anxiety: A Self-Help Guide for Mothers). It was available on Amazon Kindle and really helped me to understand that what I am going through is so much more normal than I initially thought. Also, it would be a great book for your other "helpers" and loved ones to read.
7. Here to Help
This is another wonderful web-based resource. I recently downloaded and printed off the Coping with Postpartum Depression Workbook. It looks straightforward and simple to follow. I love that I can sit down and work through it on my own time at at my own pace. There are great self-therapy techniques discussed, which I am looking forward to exploring further.
HealthLink is a wonderful resource for new parents - and not just for baby's middle of the night fever or sniffles! You can dial 8-1-1 any time of day to speak with a nurse about your physical symptoms, your thoughts or your stresses.
9. Crisis Line
Dial 310-6789 if you are in distress. It does not need to be an emergency. If you need someone to talk to you can phone at any time, day or night and someone will be there to help.
10. Reproductive Mental Health
I have found this website useful for obtaining information about postpartum depression and anxiety. It also provides many links to other resources.
11. Maple Ridge / Pitt Meadows Community Services
This local charity provides individual clinical counselling and group therapy sessions. They are provided free of cost. Even if you are not a candidate for services, the lovely people at the centre will help you to find appropriate help.
12. Family Education and Support Centre
This local organization offers programming in relation to Adult Mental Health and Family Support. It was started in 1971 by a few concerned parents and has since grown into a wonderful community resource. Again, they will work hard to help you find the help that you need, even if they cannot provide that support first hand.