Sadness After Childbirth: When is it more than the baby blues?

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See our list of PPD support groups in Massachusetts. Please check with the listed organization for participant openings and registration details.

Welcome to motherhood! Your baby has arrived, and you may be faced with a myriad of feelings – happiness, relief, hope, as well as worries, exhaustion, and uncertainty. Motherhood brings multiple demands and expectations. You are expected to be a good mother – one that is responsive to her child, knows how to comfort and nurture her baby. But what if you don't feel at all comfortable? What if you feel sad and exhausted and not sure about what to do for your baby? If you are feeling this way, you are definitely not alone. It is not unusual for new moms to feel sad, tired and unsure of their parenting skills. In fact, many new moms go through these feelings, and as many as 80% may experience the "baby blues." Baby blues are characterized by periods of crying for no apparent reason, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, and restlessness. For many women, these symptoms usually diminish approximately within 10-12 days after delivery.

For some women, however, these feelings may persist and even increase over time. This is no longer part of the “baby blues,” but may signal a more serious illness. While the most commonly known emotional disorder is post-partum depression, there are actually a number of emotional complications that may occur both during and after pregnancy.  These disorders are called perinatal emotional disorders.  Below is a brief description of each.   

Resource Organizations » Perinatal Emotional Concerns » Leominster

In Massachusetts

Center for Early Relationship Support, Jewish Family & Children's Services (JF&CS)

781-647-5327

Email: info@jfcsboston.org

The Center for Early Relationship Support is a center of excellence for direct services, training, supervision, and consultation that focus on the earliest parent-infant relationship. Programs include free home visits for new parents, support groups for new parents, specialized treatment for parents with postpartum adjustment disorders, sleep and feeding consultations, services for premature infants, and programs for parents under 21 years old.

First Connections

(978) 429-8284 x202 (Office Manager-Linda Jensen)

Email: lmatthews@jri.org

First Connections is a non-profit, family support organization that provides comprehensive services to families with young children birth through age five. Created in 1994 as part of the Massachusetts Family Network initiative, First Connections serves a large geographic area that encompasses twelve metro-west communities, including Acton, Bedford, Boxborough, Carlisle, Concord, Harvard, Lincoln, Littleton, Maynard, Stow, Sudbury, and Westford as well as Hanscom Air Force Base. The mission of First Connections is to assist parents, through free or low cost education and support, in developing the skills they need to be involved and effective parents and to connect these parents to each other and to their communities.

Journey Recovery Project

The Journey Project is an interactive Web resource for pregnant and parenting women who have questions or concerns about opioid and other substance use. The Journey focuses on the stories of women with lived experience, offering information, hope, encouragement, and resources for every step of their perinatal journey. With videos, informational slideshows, resource links, and worksheets, the Journey Project seeks to empower and inform women about opioid and other substance use and pregnancy.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health Bureau of Substance Addiction Services (BSAS), in collaboration with the Institute for Health and Recovery and the Center for Social Innovation, created the Journey Project.

La Leche League International

1-800-525-3243

1-877-452-5324 (Helpline)

Email: info@llli.org

La Leche League is an international, nonprofit, nonsectarian organization dedicated to providing support, encouragement, information, and education to women who choose to breastfeed. Our Mission is to help mothers in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont to breastfeed through mother-to-mother support, encouragement, information, and education, and to promote a better understanding of breastfeeding as an important element in the healthy development of the baby and mother.

MCPAP for Moms

MCPAP for Moms promotes maternal and child health by building the capacity of providers serving pregnant and postpartum women and their children up to one year after delivery to effectively prevent, identify, and manage depression.   MCPAP for Moms partners with William James College Interface Referral Service to develop and maintain community-based resources to support mothers and fathers experiencing mental health issues related to the challenges of becoming parents. Interface maintains a comprehensive listing of support groups by geographic area.

MGH Center for Women's Mental Health

For appointments: 617-724-7792

This website provides a range of current information including discussion of new research findings in women's mental health and how such investigations inform day-to-day clinical practice. Despite the growing number of studies being conducted in women's health, the clinical implications of such work are frequently controversial, leaving patients with questions regarding the most appropriate path to follow. Providing these resources to patients and their doctors so that individual clinical decisions can be made in a thoughtful and collaborative fashion dovetails with the mission of our Center.

MotherWoman

(413) 275-8623

Email: info@motherwoman.org

MotherWoman supports and empowers mothers to create personal and social change by building community safety nets, impacting family policy and promoting the leadership and resilience of mothers. MotherWoman provides various services including running support groups for new Moms in various locations in Western Massachusetts, providing training both for group facilitators as well as professionals and advocating for policy change.

Postpartum Support International of Massachusetts

MA Warmline: 866-472-1897

Helpline; English and Spanish: 800-944-4773

Email: psiofmass@gmail.com

The purpose of Postpartum Support International is to increase awareness among public and professional communities about the emotional changes that women experience during pregnancy and postpartum. Approximately 15% of all women will experience postpartum depression following the birth of a child. Up to 10% will experience depression or anxiety during pregnancy. When the mental health of the mother is compromised, it affects the entire family. PSI disseminates information and resources through the volunteer coordinators, its website, and an annual conference. PSI of Massachusetts is a volunteer organization of providers, survivors and other concerned individuals dedicated to the mission of PSI International. These support volunteers provide telephone and email support, information, and access to informed local resources.

Pregnancy Exposure InfoLine

(800) 322-5014

The Pregnancy Exposure InfoLine (PEIL) is a service provided free of charge to clinicians and the general public that offers practical evidence-based information about exposures during pregnancy and potential effects to the developing fetus. We provide non-judgmental counseling and information on common daily exposures such as hair dye, paint, and herbal products to more specific exposures including illicit drugs, medications, infections, chemicals and many more.  The service is available Monday - Friday 9AM to 4PM EST.

Outside Massachusetts

Organizations with hotlines

Postpartum Education for Parents

805-564-3888, 805-852-1595 (Spanish-Speaking)
Email: PEPBOARD@SBPEP.ORG

PEP (Postpartum Education for Parents), a group of trained parent volunteers, offers numerous programs to help parents and families thrive with their new children. PEP believes that there is no one right way to parent. Your confidence in being a parent will increase with the knowledge that other parents, through PEP, are there to help you. PEP recognizes that adding a child to the family is not a simple process and that there are significant problems inherent in postpartum adjustment for both parents, but especially for the mother. This website includes a variety of information for new parents, including information about postpartum depression, information for new fathers unique to their experience, a self-assessment questionnaire regarding postpartum depression, and new parent discussion groups.

Postpartum Support International

Helpline: 800-944-4PPD (4773)

Office: 503-894-9453

Email: support@postpartum.net

Postpartum Support International (PSI) was founded in 1987 by Jane Honikman in Santa Barbara, California. The purpose of the organization is to increase awareness among public and professional communities about the emotional changes that women experience during pregnancy and postpartum. PSI disseminates information and resources through its volunteer coordinators, website and annual conference. Its goal is to provide current information, resources, education, and to advocate for further research and legislation to support perinatal mental health. PSI operates a "chat with experts" phone conferences weekly, with separate sessions for Moms and Dads, as well as a membership directory to help those in need find help in their area.

PPD Moms

1-800-PPD-MOMS
Email: info@hopeline.com

PPD Moms provides information about postpartum depression, including a quiz to assess symptoms, information about treatment options, and most importantly, the National Postpartum Depression Hotline.

Organizations without hotlines

2020 Mom Project

626-390-4173

Email: info@2020mom.org

The 2020 Mom Project is a national call to action that sets forth an aggressive new path for solving what some have called one of the biggest public health concerns of our time: the silent maternal mental health crisis which impacts up to 20% of expecting and new moms. The project seeks to bring about change by the year 2020. Because of a complicated set of long-standing barriers, expecting and new moms are not consistently screened for emotional problems and therefore not diagnosed and offered treatment, and consequently these moms and families largely suffer in silence. Research suggests that when moderate to severe cases of maternal mental health disorders are left untreated, not only does the mother's health suffer, but so does her infant's, the stability of her marriage or partner relationship, and the long-term health and well being of all of her children. The 2020 Mom Project provides avenues for advocacy to encourage all systems to get involved to better support expecting and new moms, as well as information about maternal mental health and resources for where to get help.

All-Options

1-888-493-0092 (Talkline available M-Fri 10-1am, Sa-Su 10-6 EST)

(510) 817-0781 (Office)

All-Options (formerly Backline) promotes unconditional and judgment-free support for people in their decisions, feelings and experiences with pregnancy, parenting, adoption and abortion.  Our Talkline offers peer counseling and support to people throughout the United States and Canada. They are the only national talkline that welcomes calls at any point during or after pregnancy, whether callers are looking for options counseling, support before or after abortion, or a chance to talk about parenting, pregnancy loss, adoption, or infertility.

 

AnxietyBC

(604) 620-0744

AnxietyBC contains a wealth of information to help people learn about and practice effective strategies to manage anxiety on their own, at their own pace. All content is grounded in scientific research and developed by professionals who specialize in helping people with anxiety.

MedEd Postpartum Depression for Mothers and Others

MedEdPPD.org is a website developed with the support of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to provide education about postpartum depression (PPD). This part of the site, Mothers and Others,  has many resources for women with PPD and their families. There is a simple, easy-to-use online test that can help figure out if you might have PPD. There is information about the top 10 myths about PPD and what the real facts are. There are also videos about experiences of other mothers, and read answers to questions from experts in the field. There is also information that can help your friends and family learn more about PPD and how they can support you.

Mother to Baby

866-626-6847

855-999-3525 (Text Msg Line)

Email: ContactUs@mothertobaby.org

MotherToBaby, a service of the non-profit Organization of Teratology Information Specialists, is dedicated to providing evidence-based information to mothers, health care professionals, and the general public about medications and other exposures during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.

National Women's Health Information Center

800-994-9662

Provides straight-forward factual information about depression, postpartum depression, including symptoms and frequency of occurrences, as well as providing links to organizations that might provide help. The organization also provides a phone number that can be called to receive additional information.

Postpartum Dads

Email: info@postpartumdads.org

Postpartum Depression (PPD) is a common illness that impacts the entire family.  Without effective intervention the impacts on the mom, the children, and the entire family can be very damaging. However, in most cases, with proper treatment and support, a woman and her family can fully recover from PPD.  This website is intended to help dads and families by providing firsthand information and guidance through the experience of PPD.  This site also includes information and resources that can be used by professionals to assist families dealing with PPD. 

Postpartum Men

415-346-6719

Email: DrWill@TheMensDoc.com

PostpartumMen is a place for men with concerns about depression, anxiety or other problems with mood after the birth of a child. It promotes self-help, provides important information for fathers – including a self-assessment for postpartum depression – hosts an online forum for dads to talk to each other, offers resources, gathers new information about men’s experiences postpartum, and – most importantly – helps fathers to beat the baby blues.

Postpartum Progress

Email: help@postpartumprogress.org

This blog is a program of the national nonprofit Postpartum Progress®. It offers in-depth information, support and hope for all pregnant and new moms who have postpartum depression and all other mental illnesses related to pregnancy and childbirth, including postpartum anxiety, postpartum OCD, depression or anxiety during pregnancy, post-adoption depression, postpartum PTSD, bipolar, peripartum onset/postpartum bipolar, depression after miscarriage or perinatal loss and postpartum psychosis. 

PPD: Silence Sucks

PPD Silence Sucks seeks to give objective information about the most common medical complication of childbirth, and provide a place where individuals can learn more about the signs, the risks, and how to talk to your doctor or loved ones about it.  This organization is seeking to break the silence around postpartum depression and other mood disorders after childbirth.

Project Semicolon

1-866-707-3177

Email: michael@projectsemicolon.com

"Project Semicolon is an organization devoted to the prevention of suicide. Our work is based on the foundation and belief that suicide is preventable and everyone has a role to play in preventing suicide. Through raising public awareness, educating communities, and equipping every person with the right tools, we know we can save lives."

 

This organization also provides information and resources about other mental health topics and disorders as well as the chance to share one's own story, personal screenings tools, and helps one find services right on their website.

Solace for Mothers: Healing After Traumatic Birth

Solace for Mothers is an organization designed for the sole purpose of providing and creating support for women who have experienced childbirth as traumatic. The resources available through this site offer immediate, personal support to mothers and others who are struggling with birth trauma, PTSD after childbirth and anxiety caused by their birthing experiences. If you believe that you have been traumatized by your experiences of giving birth to your child, or by witnessing a birth of someone else’s child, Solace for Mothers has resources and supportive communities available for you. We are pleased to host two online communities where women and those who support them can connect around birth trauma concerns.

The Birth Trauma Association

The Birth Trauma Association (BTA) was established in 2004 to support women suffering from Post Natal Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or birth trauma. The organization's staff are not trained counsellors or therapists or medical professionals; they are mothers who wish to support other women who have suffered difficult births.  The BTA aims to offer advice and support to all women who are finding it hard to cope with their childbirth experience.  The website includes information for mothers, fathers, and family members about Post Natal PTSD, information about how to connect with other Mom's who have had similar experiences to get support, as well as lists of resources, including books and websites, that may be helpful to families experiencing Post Natal PTSD.

The Period of Purple Crying

801-447-9360

The Period of PURPLE Crying is a new way to help parents understand this time in their baby's life, which is a normal part of every infant's development. The acronym is a meaningful and memorable way to describe what parents and their babies are going through. The Period of PURPLE Crying begins at about 2 weeks of age and continues until about 3-4 months of age. There are other common characteristics of this phase, or period, which are better described by the acronym PURPLE.  Purple stands for "Peak of Crying", "Unexpected", "Resists Soothing", "Pain-Like Face", "Long Lasting",  and "Evening".  This website provides information about coping with this period of child development including information about soothing, assessing the crying, impact on sleep, and information for Dads.