POSTPARTUM RESOURCES

Find Your Village for Postpartum Support

You may have heard the saying, “it takes a village to raise a baby,” and the longer I am a mother, the more I believe this to be true. You truly do need a village to support you if you are struggling with postpartum depression.

Your village, or what is commonly known as social support, is crucial to your mental health. Even the idea of having social support can help, as a 2011 study shows that the mere perception of support improves health and well-being by reducing stress levels. 1

During COVID, rates of postpartum depression and anxiety skyrocketed and social isolation played a big factor.

What is social support?

Social support is defined as support which is considered functional, and which leads the receiver of the support feeling cared for, valued and with a sense of belonging to a larger network. 2 It may take the form of practical help (e.g., doing chores, offering advice), tangible support that involves giving money or other direct material assistance, and emotional support that allows the individual to feel valued, accepted, and understood.3

Where can you find social support or village:

  • Family and friends
  • Neighbors
  • Coworkers
  • Faith Communities
  • Local Peer Support Groups
  • Cultural Communities
  • Online Support Groups
  • Virtual Communities

A great exercise is to spend 5 minutes, when you are not stressed, and write down all the names and/or groups that you can talk with and get help.

Every person may have a different helpful skill for you – for example, your neighbor may be able to watch your child while you nap for 2 hours once a week, while your coworker might drop off a meal or provide you with conversations about work to keep your mind engaged. A virtual community, like Thrive, might give you connection with other moms like you and ideas to make it through rough days.

Write down your list and proactively plan a few asks for this week. Keep your list on your phone or visible so when an urgent need arrives, you already know whom to ask first.

A common self-help motto says it best – “You alone can do it, but you can’t do it alone” – and this is true with postpartum depression.

Sources:

1 JBI Evidence Synthesis, Ni Phang Koi: The role of family and friends in providing social support towards enchancing the wellbeing of postpartum women: a comprehensive systematic review.

2 Sage Journal, De Sousa Machando, Tiffany. First-time mothers’ perceptions of social support: recommendations for best practices. 

3 American Psychological Association

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