The period following the birth of a child can be challenging in a number of ways. Even the most prepared new parents must become accustomed to the needs of their child, a process likely to include disruption of their usual routine, and those who lack resources and/or support may be especially affected. Parents are likely to experience altered or frequently disrupted sleep schedules and face added financial strain, for example, and stress, frustration, and irritability may result. As many as 70% of new mothers might also experience what are known as “baby blues,” mild to moderate changes in mood that typically clear up without treatment.
In addition to these common concerns, nearly 20% of new mothers (parents of any gender may be affected, but the condition appears most commonly in the individual who gave birth) develop what is known as postpartum or postnatal depression. In the past, this condition was not widely recognized and often attributed to hormone shifts or baby blues. Many women were—and still sometimes are—told their feelings were all in their head and that they should simply “tough them out.”
However, postpartum depression is a serious concern, one that is recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. It can cause symptoms such as feelings of hopelessness, hostility, anxiety, in addition to difficulty with coordination and self-care. Those who experience postpartum depression may also find it difficult to care for a baby or older children. Symptoms may worsen over time, and many do not improve without professional help.
Awareness of postpartum depression has expanded in recent years. Greater recognition of the condition, along with less stigmatization and diminishment of the varied and often severe challenges facing new parents, mothers in particular, is still needed. However, the availability of resources for mothers coping with postpartum depression has increased, especially online. While health care providers typically recommend that those who believe they are experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression seek support from a qualified mental health professional, in many cases online support can also be beneficial. We have compiled a list of 10 of the best websites in 2016 that offer information, support, and other resources to individuals (and their partners and families) coping with postpartum depression. Some selections came from visitors to GoodTherapy.org, and we based our final list on website content, presentation, and quality.
- What to Expect: This site was created in 2005 by Heidi Murkoff, author of the bestseller What to Expect When You’re Expecting. In addition to having a large social media community, the site offers a range of parenting information and features a section exclusively dedicated to the recognition and treatment of postpartum depression.
- Postpartum Support International: When a mother’s mental health is affected by postpartum depression, all family members may be affected. Postpartum Support International (PSI) is dedicated to providing information to those experiencing postpartum depression and advocating for legislation that supports mental health before and after childbirth. In addition to educational resources, PSI provides a toll-free help line in both English and Spanish to help parents find local resources and emergency services.
- Netmums: This United Kingdom-based parenting network is an online space for moms to discuss parenting and get advice from other moms. In addition to hosting a large supportive community, Netmums also provides a space for mothers to talk about postpartum depression and share resources with others experiencing it.
- Postpartum Progress: This nonprofit organization’s website features a popular blog, peer support, and resources to fight stigma and raise awareness for maternal mental health. In addition to resources for postpartum depression, Postpartum Progress also includes resources for mothers experiencing a wider range of mental health issues during and after childbirth.
- Maternal Health Task Force: A project created by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Maternal Health Task Force strives to share the latest evidence and information with parents, policy makers, health care professionals, and advocates. In addition to its educational and scholarly resources, the website also hosts a maternal mental health advocacy blog where others can learn about worldwide efforts to improve maternal mental and reproductive health.
- Centre for Perinatal Excellence: The Centre for Perinatal Excellence (COPE) was created to help foster good mental and emotional health for parents before, during, and after pregnancy. COPE’s website includes helpful resources and information for mothers, fathers, family, friends, and health care professionals. Visitors can find local help lines, read information about therapies, and learn more about what to expect throughout the childbirth process.
- Mom-mentum: This nonprofit was originally created as a space for mothers to offer other mothers support. What began as an online peer support website has since expanded to include educational and advocacy resources to support mothers through of personal and professional challenges many mothers face. Site users can access information to navigate the many challenges new mothers face, learn ways to get involved and work toward better public policy, and offer support to each other through the site’s member community.
- PPD Moms: This simple website can be a good first stop for parents experiencing postpartum depression. It addresses many of the myths associated with postpartum depression, gives information on a wide variety of viable treatment options, and explains what symptoms often feel like to those who experience the condition.
- 2020 Mom: The California Maternal Mental Health Collaborative, founded in 2011, launched 2020 Mom to promote education, advocacy, and collaboration for better maternal mental health. It has since evolved into a national organization with the same mission in mind. 2020 Mom invites people to get involved and further provides a range of information and resources to promote maternal mental health.
- Maternal Mental Health NOW: One of Maternal Mental Health NOW’s primary goals is to advocate for better postpartum depression screening. Their website features information on symptoms and risk factors for those affected and also hosts a large section of videos in which mothers share stories of their own experiences with postpartum depression.
Do you know of a good postpartum depression-related website that isn’t on our list? Nominate helpful websites here.
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