FAQs About the Life After Birth Postpartum Support Group Program
We know there are a lot of questions on your mind, so we’ve compiled the most common ones right here. If you have a question that isn’t already on the list, send us an email message, and we’ll be glad to answer it.
If we get the same question more than 2-3 times, we’ll even add it to the list of FAQs.
1. Who can benefit from Life After Birth?
If you are a mother with a baby or toddler, you can. In fact, all moms are welcome, because this group is about connection and support for women with a shared experience. We know that, while postpartum feelings and experiences are always temporary, they’re experienced with more joy and ease when women have connection and genuine support. It doesn’t matter how old your baby is, how many children you have, or whether you’re working or at home.
2. Is this program especially for women struggling in some way, or suffering from PPD (postpartum depression)?
No – in fact, our primary objective is to help mitigate emotional struggles or PPD in the first place since “isolation” is a core contributor to postpartum anxiety and depression. If you think you have PPD, we know the ideal protocol would be for you to receive clinical support while attending a peer support group like this. However, this group is predominantly for women who don’t necessarily have PPD, but are feeling some of the common postpartum emotions that could lead to PPD down the road – such as, isolation and loneliness, anger/resentment, exhaustion, feeling removed from your former self and lifestyle, anxiety (about breastfeeding, sleep, baby’s health, etc.), and/or guilt. While some women share difficult struggles they’re experiencing, there is plenty of joyful connection at our meetings as well, and each meeting centers on a new topic. If you think you have PPD or PPA, we are professionally qualified to screen you for those conditions and refer you to an therapist specializing in individual clinical care.
3. Is it really possible that postpartum blues/depression can be avoided?
Yes, randomized controlled studies show professionally-moderated postpartum support groups can both “detect and prevent” postpartum anxiety and depression within just four to six sessions. (Chabrol, H. Encephale, 2002 Jan-Feb;28(1):65-70: “At 4 to 6 weeks, women in the prevention group had significant reductions in the frequency of probable depression.”)
Ideally, Life After Birth group sessions should begin as early as possible in your postpartum period to help you avert or avoid experiencing postpartum anxiety or depression – conditions that can develop rapidly as a result of “isolation” and “lack of a safety-net of support”. But even if early symptoms have begun – loneliness, resentment, rage, overwhelm, stress, “not feeling like myself” and/or anxiety – research shows that attending a minimum of 4 to 6 PSI-moderated (Postpartum Support International) support group sessions make a measurable and lasting difference.
4. Can fathers suffer from PPD or anxiety too?
Believe it or not, yes, and it affects as many as one in ten fathers. While moms have plenty of stress factors unique to mothers – breastfeeding struggles, hormonal adjustments, body-image and career changes, etc. – partners have their own life-changes, needs and struggles as well. Neither our government nor our culture provides postpartum support to women, let alone men. We’re here for either of you, though our group meetings are for women only. If the father is struggling with his own emotions or is unsure how to best support you through yours, let’s have a talk. This can be highly beneficial for both partners – and ultimately for the relationship and the baby as well.
5. What if I feel I need immediate attention for my postpartum anxiety?
Call us; we can get you in the right clinical hands quickly and confidentially – and we’ll only do so at your request. Because we are professionally-trained support specialists in postpartum care and we aren’t clinicians with legal reporting requirements, we don’t have to ‘report’ anything you share with us. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help and consider our suggestions for clinical support, if that’s what you’re looking for. We are affiliated with some of Connecticut’s most experienced licensed experts specializing in perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. If you’re already registered for our support program, then you know we will give you their contact information so you can reach out to them on your own, and you also have us, your program specialists, between meetings for supplemental support as well.
6. What if I’m uncomfortable sharing my feelings in a group?
Then you’ll fit right in! This is the normal way women feel before our first gathering, and that’s why the moderators are happy to do the talking in the meantime – until the invariable shift occurs, when the moms start taking over the discussion. Simply come with the intention of listening. Before you know it, sharing and bonding occurs as the women discover how much they understand each other. Ours is a relaxed, judgment-free zone where nothing is off-limits, and there’s never pressure to speak at all. That said, if you try a group session but decide after the first visit that you’d prefer one-on-one counseling, we can apply the balance of your pro-rata fee without penalty. This has always been our policy; it’s never happened yet – and we doubt it ever will – but we want you to know our commitment is to give you the support you need the way you need it.
7. What if the Westport location, or the scheduled session times/dates are not convenient for me?
Postpartum support is severely lacking in our culture, and we’re prepared to support you no matter where you live. If you cannot attend our meetings, we’ll use phone or Skype to provide you with communication and support. You’ll get individualized attention and all the same information we’d provide in the group sessions (minus peer friendship/support).
Still have more questions about Life After Birth?
Call or text 203-952-7299 and we’ll fill in any blanks.