6 Ways to Get Online Help for Postpartum Depression

Too many mothers with postpartum depression or anxiety put off seeking help or getting the care they need.  One reason for this is because they just don’t know where to go or who to talk to.  And even if they did know, the idea of leaving the house for appointments can be both inconvenient and terrifying.

The good news is that, thanks to modern technology, there are many ways for a mother to get online help for postpartum depression from the comfort of her own home.  Not only is it convenient, but it makes it easier to find the right person to speak to.  Instead of having to rely on resources available locally, women now have access to an international panel of experts.

Here are some ways that mothers can access online help for postpartum depression

6 Ways to Get Online Help for Postpartum Depression *This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. **Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.


Try Online Therapy

One of the best ways for moms to get help for postpartum depression is by speaking to a therapist.  But it’s also something that many women avoid doing for several reasons:

It’s tough to arrange for childcare during appointments, especially with a brand new or exclusively breastfed baby. 

There is a lot of stigma around “going to therapy” that may deter a mother from choosing to do it in public.  

With so many horror stories of mothers being treated like criminals, they may avoid speaking to someone without knowing how that person will react first.

Finding the right therapist can be difficult.  It sometimes requires a referral from a doctor, which can delay the process.

Having to make phone calls to set up appointments, get dressed to go out, interact with others socially and feel judged by everyone along the way is an exhausting task for mothers with postpartum depression.

Mothers don’t always feel at their worst between 9 – 5, Monday to Friday.  Some therapists might offer an emergency number to call but that would mean inconveniencing someone and mothers aren’t usually down for doing that, no matter how bad it gets.

Signing up for online therapy can solve so many of these problems.  On sites such as Online-Therapy.com, you have a better chance of being matched with a therapist that is right for you.  You have the ability to speak to your therapist through a live chat or e-mail, which makes it much more convenient.  You can even purchase sessions for just one week at a time, so there’s no huge commitment if you find it’s not for you.

With online therapy you also get a variety of other tools and resources at your disposal, 24/7.  You can access an online forum for therapy members, yoga and meditation videos, workbooks and more.  You get so much more than just a therapy session, and you can do it all right from home.

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Make a Phone Call

Sometimes, when you are having a really bad day, you just need to talk to someone who understands.  A helpline is designed specifically for that purpose.  While not technically considered online help for postpartum depression, it’s still something that you can do from the comfort of your own home and have access to 24/7.

If you are having suicidal thoughts and need to speak to someone urgently:

In the US: 

Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8225

In Canada: 

Call the National Crisis Services Canada Number 1-833-456-4566 and you will be connected with the closest provincial crisis center to your location.

Internationally:

On the Befrienders Worldwide website, you can search for suicide helplines by country.  The website is also available in different languages and provides resources and information about mental health.

For general information, support and resources:

Call the Postpartum Support International’s Helpline 1-800-944-4773 (4PPD) It’s a messaging system so you would have to leave a message and then someone would get back to you as soon as possible.  It is NOT meant for emergencies, but rather, to find out where and how to get help.

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Send a Text Message

Texting is a newer way that moms can get online help for postpartum depression and many support groups are making this an option.  It is so much easier for a mother battling a mental illness to send a text message when she’s overwhelmed with thoughts and feelings, rather than speak to someone over the phone or face to face.

In the US:

Text HOME to 741741 for any type of crisis and a trained counselor from the Crisis Text Line will respond 24/7.

In Canada:

Text HOME to 686868 to access the Crisis Text Line in Canada.  This text line is managed by volunteers and is a division of the Kids Help Phone.

Text Crisis Services Canada at 45645 anytime between 5 pm and 1 am and get a response from someone at the crisis center.  A live chat option is also available on their website (also between 5 pm and 1 am).

You can also text the Postpartum Support International’s Warmline at 503-894-9453 for information and to get support and resources close to where you live.

Many local support groups also offer their own text line, so make sure to find out what they are and store them in your phone for emergencies.

Online Help for Postpartum Depression
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Join a Facebook Support Group

Facebook support groups are a great way to get online help for postpartum depression.  Not only will you be able to find some posts that you relate to, but you’ll see that you’re not alone in your struggles.

If you’re not big on communicating with strangers, it helps just to read some of the posts and comments.  If you have a particular question, you can search for it in the group and see if someone else has already asked about it.  It’s a great resource to get peer support and advice for postpartum depression and anxiety.

Some of the groups that I’m in and would recommend:

Postpartum Support International – Group Size: Large (8,000 + Members).

If you have a question about treatment options, symptoms, previous experiences – this is the place to go to get your questions answered.  PSI’s support group is a mix of health care professionals, therapists, sufferers and survivors.  If you have a question about anything related to perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, you will find it here.

Momma’s Postpartum Depression Support Group – Group Size: Medium (4,000 + Members).

This group is a very supportive one and the perfect place to go and vent about what you’re feeling.  If you just need someone to talk to or share your story with someone who will understand, then the women in this group are here for you.

Postpartum Depression & Anxiety Support Group – Group Size: Small (3,000 + Members).

What I love about this smaller group is that you really get the chance to connect with other members.  If you’re seeking more than just a sounding board, and hoping to make friends and build a support system to help you through this difficult time, then consider joining this group.

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Hire a Postpartum Doula

A postpartum doula is someone who comes to your house after you have a baby specifically to help you out.  They are not like a nanny, in that, they are there to support you and not simply to take care of the baby and the house.  They are trained to recognize the early symptoms of a perinatal mood and anxiety disorder and can direct you where to get help.  Most can be hired to work a night shift so that you can get the sleep you desperately need.  I consider this a form of online help for postpartum depression because searching various websites is generally the best way to find the right doula for you.

There are several websites you can use to find a doula in your area:

DONA International

One of the most widely recognized doula certification organizations – you can search their database for a postpartum doula near you!

ICEA (International Childbirth Education Association)

A non-profit organization that supports doulas and other professional childbirth educators.  Their list includes both certified and non-certified doulas.

Doula Match 

You can search a database of over 10,000 doulas in Canada and the US and the best part is that you can enter the dates when you would need their services to make sure that they are available before contacting them.

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Download an App

There are so many apps available to help with almost any kind of problem you’re experiencing.  Online help for postpartum depression in the form of an app is so convenient and always at your fingertips.  Instead of scrolling through social media on your phone, download a meditation or self care app to use regularly instead.

PPD ACT

This is part of an important research study but also provides resources for women with postpartum depression.  Read more about it on the Pact For The Cure website.

MGHPDS (Massachusetts General Hospital Perinatal Depression Scale)

This is a good one for new moms who are concerned about developing postpartum depression or anxiety.  It contains questionnaires to assess your mood and stress level and will remind you to take them again every few weeks so that you can document any changes.  The questions are similar to those used by medical professionals to check for maternal mood disorders.

Virtual Hope Box 

This app was originally designed by the military to help patients coping with PTSD.  It’s recommended by therapists as a supplement to treatment for stress and anxiety disorders, but it can be a great tool for a mother battling postpartum depression.  You have the ability to add happy photos or video memories, favorite songs and quotes and access tools for coping with stress and anxiety.

Headspace 

Practicing meditation and mindfulness are great ways to help with postpartum depression and anxiety. This popular meditation app is easy to use and has sessions ranging from 1 minute up to 10 minutes.  It’s perfect for a busy mom with only a few minutes to spare.

SleepBot or SleepCycle

Sleep problems are a big component of postpartum depression and anxiety.  An app that tracks your sleeping patterns can help you avoid some of the nasty side effects of sleep deprivation.

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Online help for postpartum depression should never be a replacement for help from a medical professional.  Always make sure that your doctor knows what you are feeling.

But also, get educated.  Know who to call and how to take care of yourself.

When my battle with postpartum depression began, 6 years ago, I didn’t even have a smartphone.  Aside from a few brochures that I was given in my doctor’s office, I had very little information about perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.  Now, almost anyone can access online help for postpartum depression.  There is so much more information for struggling mothers, that it would be a shame to let it all go to waste.

6 Ways to Get Online Help for Postpartum Depression 6 Ways to Get Online Help for Postpartum Depression

6 Ways to Get Online Help for Postpartum Depression

The Truth About Scary and Intrusive Thoughts

Scary and intrusive thoughts are a common symptom of postpartum depression.

Intrusive thoughts lead many women to believe that they are terrible people, unfit mothers or a danger to their children.  While many women experience them in some form, they don’t always recognize that they are intrusive or involuntary.  Instead, they believe that the thoughts are how they truly feel, or what they are thinking subconsciously.  They don’t talk about them for fear of what others will think of them.

It’s important to speak up about intrusive thoughts, but before a woman can do that – she needs to understand what they are, where they come from and what they mean.  This is the only way she will be able to accept that the thoughts she is having are not who she has become, but rather, a side effect of her mental illness.

*This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. **Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.


What are Intrusive Thoughts?

Intrusive thoughts are an idea or image that come to your mind involuntarily.  The thoughts may be extremely out-of-character and can be shocking when they happen.  They are almost exactly the same as the thoughts and images that you normally have, except that they are not created nor welcomed by you.  Intrusive thoughts are a sign of mental illness and prove that your mind is playing tricks on you.


What are NOT Intrusive Thoughts?

They are not hallucinations.

They are not third party voices in your head.

They are not an indication of postpartum psychosis.

They are not subconscious thoughts or images.

They are not part of your normal train of thought.

They are not how you truly feel deep down inside.

9 Reasons Why Moms Don't Talk About Postpartum Depression
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Types of Intrusive Thoughts

The most common type of intrusive thoughts or images are of doing something bad to the baby.  They can be “what if…” type of thoughts such as “what if I drop my baby down the stairs” or “what if I stab my baby with a knife.”  They can also be images such as watching the baby drown in the bathtub or crashing the car with the baby in the backseat.

Intrusive thoughts can also be about harming yourself.  Many women experience suicidal thoughts but have no actual desire to commit suicide.  Postpartum depression can cause women to experience thoughts of running away, jumping out of a moving car or falling asleep and never waking up again.  Intrusive thoughts often make a woman believe she is unfit to be a mother and that her children would be better off without her.

Another type of intrusive thought includes harming a spouse or another loved one.  It’s normal to complain about the annoying things a spouse does and imagine doing something bad to them, but when it affects your relationship or comes out of nowhere it could be an intrusive thought.  Postpartum depression, and especially postpartum rage, are often misdirected towards spouses and partners – making a woman believe that she really does hate her husband.  Add in intrusive thoughts like running them over with the car and it’s a relationship nightmare…

Some intrusive thoughts are inappropriate and violent.  Many can be sexual in nature or include things like harming animals or setting the house on fire.

Basically, any thought or image that enters your head and feels scary and unnatural is an unwanted or intrusive thought.
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The Danger of Intrusive Thoughts

Thoughts and images alone are not dangerous.  But intrusive thoughts can cause several unwanted side effects that can become dangerous both physically and mentally.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  Intrusive thoughts can cause a woman to develop postpartum OCD and become obsessed with certain thoughts and images.  If she imagines the baby dying in their sleep, she may stop sleeping in order to check on baby several times through the night.

Stress and Anxiety. Knowing that intrusive thoughts are a possibility is a big source of stress and anxiety, which can worsen symptoms of postpartum depression.  For a woman suffering from postpartum anxiety, scary thoughts can cause panic attacks and other symptoms.

Acting on Intrusive Thoughts.  It’s rare that a woman would go so far as to act on her intrusive thoughts but the danger that she might still exists.

Stigmatizing.  Intrusive thoughts play a major role in the stigma of postpartum depression.  Many mothers who try to open up about them are treated like crazy people or seen as dangerous and suicidal.  If intrusive thoughts are confessed to a person (even a medical professional) without enough knowledge about them, the consequences could be dangerous.  Its important to find a safe place to discuss intrusive thoughts.

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The Truth About Intrusive Thoughts

The truth is, they are not real.  They may stem from the feelings of inadequacy or overwhelm caused by postpartum depression but they are not part of the subconscious mind.  They are a figment of your imagination and a by-product of mental illness.  In order to eliminate them, and avoid having them control your life, you need to accept that they are coming from somewhere else, and not from what’s within your heart.

How to Get Rid of Intrusive Thoughts

As long as a woman is suffering from a mental illness, the intrusive thoughts will always be a possibility.  So the only way to eliminate them altogether is to treat the underlying condition.  There are still several things a person can do to keep intrusive thoughts from affecting their lives.

Document Them.  Writing down scary thoughts as they happen can help make them less frightening.  You can write them on paper, in a journal or workbook, on your phone or even using an app.

Release Them.  Intrusive thoughts are perhaps one of the hardest things to speak out loud when battling postpartum depression.  Many people are not nearly as informed about intrusive thoughts as they should be, and this makes talking openly about them risky.  The best place to express the scary thoughts you’re having is to find a safe and positive space, such as a support group. The Postpartum Stress Center offers a safe place online for women to anonymously #SpeaktheSecret.  It helps to read some of the thoughts other women have had, and even submit your own to release them from your mind.

Online Therapy.  Speaking to a mental health professional is always a good course of action for women battling intrusive thoughts.  With online therapy, you have the option to chat with your therapist anytime throughout the day, as opposed to waiting for a scheduled appointment.  This is a great option to be able to discuss scary thoughts as they occur.  (If this is an option you’d like to explore, you can get 20% off of online therapy using my affiliate link: http://runningintriangles.com/OnlineTherapy).

Meditation.  Clearing the mind on a daily basis can help reduce the instances of intrusive thoughts.  Meditation can also help to create mindfulness in general, making you feel a little bit more in control of the thoughts and images in your own head.  Meditation, either alone or while doing yoga, should become an important part of your self-care routine for battling postpartum depression and intrusive thoughts.

Positive Imagery.  Surround yourself with sights that make you feel happy.  You can put together a photo album of some of your happiest photos and look at it regularly.  Or keep flowers and plants in your home.  Hang motivational posters or family photos on the walls.  Subconsciously, your mind will soak up all the beauty around you and be a happier place.

Distraction.  Keeping the mind distracted will allow less time for scary thoughts to creep in.  Try playing music in the background while you’re home, call or visit with a friend, read a book or put on the television.

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The most important factor in dealing with intrusive thoughts is to know the difference between your actual thoughts and the unwanted ones.  Having intrusive thoughts may make you feel like a bad mother with the potential to do something harmful but it’s not the truth.  Focus on the positive thoughts and try your best to ignore the ones that make you feel anything but joy.  Accept that they are a side effect of postpartum depression and not who you have become.  It may take a while for the thoughts and images to go away, but as long as you remember that you are still you inside, you can defeat them.

The Ultimate Collection of Postpartum Depression Stories

Continue reading “The Ultimate Collection of Postpartum Depression Stories”

14 Ways to Help a Mother With Postpartum Depression

If a woman in your life has recently given birth then there’s a 1 in 5 chance they are struggling with postpartum depression.

It might be your partner, daughter, sister or friend but no matter who they are to you, it’s normal to feel helpless seeing them in pain.  It can be even more discouraging when you try to help them and they shut you out.  But don’t be offended, mental illness is a tricky situation and displays in many different ways.

From a mother who has battled it first hand, here are a few tips that might help you understand her better and be able to provide the right type of support.

14 Ways to Help a Mother with Postpartum Depression 14 Ways to Help a Mother with Postpartum Depression

*This post contains affiliate links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust.

1. Know the symptoms

It’s very common for a mother to be in denial about their postpartum depression at first.  Even if she does have her suspicions, it’s unlikely that she will admit it out loud.  This is why it’s important to recognize the symptoms in someone else so that, even if she doesn’t want to talk about it, you can be there to support her.

Resources:

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2. Believe her

There is a lot of stigma around postpartum depression and many people still don’t believe it’s a real disease.  If she does open up to you about having postpartum depression – believe that her pain is real.  She is not being overly dramatic.  She is not “just tired.” Motherhood is overwhelming in general and it will be for a very long time but postpartum depression is different – it’s uncontrollable.

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3. Help her get some rest

Sleep deprivation can aggravate postpartum depression but postpartum depression can cause insomnia so it’s a lose-lose situation.  Do whatever you can to help her rest.  If she cannot sleep at night, then make sure she gets frequent, short naps in throughout the day.

With a new baby, it’s natural and understandable to be sleep deprived.  If you’re having a lot of difficulty getting baby to sleep, consider hiring a sleep training expert.

But if baby is sleeping through the night and mom isn’t, then there’s definitely something wrong. 

How to Sleep Train a Newborn
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4. Don’t tell her things could be worse

It’s natural to want to tell her stories about someone else who had it worse in the hopes of making her feel better but it will have the opposite effect.  Instead of being thankful that she isn’t having suicidal thoughts, she might see her pain as insignificant and feel guilty for having such a difficult time when others are going through “things that are worse.”

It’s still important to make sure that she knows she isn’t alone – as long as she knows that debilitating pain from postpartum depression comes in all forms.

Postpartum Depression Blog Posts
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5. Don’t try to explain why

It’s not her fault. But she will try to blame herself anyway.  Trying to find a reason why this has happened can inadvertently put more guilt on her.

Yes, she’s tired, yes, breastfeeding is hard, yes, labor was intense but those are not the reasons why she has postpartum depression.  If labor and recovery were a breeze, baby was nursing fine and sleeping well she could STILL have it.

Knowing that postpartum depression does not discriminate and there was nothing she could have done to avoid it will relieve some of her guilt.

Encourage her to take part in the free genetic research study to help determine the root cause of postpartum depression.

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6. Keep it on the down low

For some reason, having a mental illness is embarrassing.  The last thing she wants is everyone at your office knowing about her postpartum depression and offering to help.  She will be mortified if someone she barely knows asks her how she’s feeling, no matter how good their intentions might be.

The day will come when she will openly want to talk about it but it should be her who decides when that is.

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7. Send her a text message but don’t expect a reply right away

Don’t expect her to answer the phone when you call.  Better yet, don’t phone her.  For someone with postpartum depression, their emotions change throughout the day without warning.  Chances are, when you want to talk, won’t be when she wants to talk and vice versa.  A text message is a great way to check in and see how she’s doing while allowing her to reply when SHE feels up to it.  You can even write something like “you don’t have to reply right away – whenever you feel like talking just text me.”

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8. Don’t force her to socialize

And don’t be offended if she doesn’t want to see you.  She’s not trying to keep the baby all to herself.  Going out or hosting visitors means putting on a smile and talking to people when all she wants to do is be alone.  Even her inner circle can be extremely irritating.  Let her know that she can take all the time she needs and that you will be there for her when she’s ready.

Download this FREE printable PDF workbook for her to use as a safe place to write down her thoughts and feelings.
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9. Cook food for her

Appetite changes are a major symptom of postpartum depression.  She will either not want to eat anything at all or not be able to stop eating. Having a fridge stocked with healthy ready-to-eat food will help her get the calories and nutrition she so desperately needs (especially if she’s breastfeeding) without all the added exhaustion of having to prepare it.

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10. Clean the house but don’t make a big deal about it

Moms are infamous for not asking for help.  Do it while she’s napping so she can’t tell you to stop.  Cleaning will be the last thing on her mind but looking around at piles of laundry, overflowing garbages or dishes in the sink will cause her more anxiety. It’s one thing to tell her not to worry about the cleaning, it’s another to make the clutter magically disappear.

If you notice that she starts to become obsessed about cleaning, she could be suffering from Postpartum Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  Check out Jordan’s story to see if it relates.

Postpartum Depression, Anxiety and OCD
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11. Get up with her in the middle of the night

If she’s breastfeeding, you may feel like there’s no point in getting up for night time feedings.  But those dark, lonely hours can be the scariest times for a mother with postpartum depression.  If for no other reason than to keep her company – get up with her. She may tell you that she’s OK and to go back to bed but at least get up and check on her – check if she needs anything, rub her feet or her back while she nurses.

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12. Help her find strangers to talk to

Don’t try to force her to talk to you about her feelings.  It’s much easier to talk to strangers who understand and won’t judge her and who she may never see or talk to again.  She can be completely honest and vulnerable without having to worry about hurting someone’s feelings or having them take things the wrong way.

Whether it’s an online forum, support group or a therapist – she will be much more comfortable talking to someone who has been in her position before and/or who has experience to share.

The Postpartum Support International’s Helpline is always available.

postpartum depression Facebook groups

Postpartum Support International
Momma’s Postpartum Depression Support Group
Postpartum Anxiety Support Group
Postpartum Depression Awareness

Postpartum Depression Resources in Canada
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13. Take pictures of her

Not happy, dressed up, perfectly posed pictures but real pictures.  Pictures of her nursing in her pajamas.  Pictures of her holding or sleeping beside the baby.  Pictures of her when she hasn’t showered in 3 days and has dried breast milk all over her shirt.  Take pictures of her crying.  Aim for honest pictures of her so that she can look back at them when she is better and remember this part of her life.

Reassure her that you will never show them to anyone else or post them anywhere, they are only for her.

Prenatal & Postpartum Depression - Vanessa's Story
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14. Wait it out

Don’t try to rush her recovery. Helping her find the right path to recovery is important but don’t keep asking if she’s feeling better yet. If she has a good day, don’t assume she’s past the worst of it.

Know that there is no cure for mental illness, only treatment options to keep it under control.  

She may go years without an episode, only to have it triggered by stress or sleep deprivation or something else entirely.  Many women will battle postpartum depression for years, if not forever, so if you’re in this with her – prepare to go the lengths for her.

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For more information on the recovery process, check out this post: How long does Postpartum Depression Last? Accelerate Your Recovery!


Postpartum depression is one of the most under-diagnosed conditions in North America for a reason.  Women, moms in particular, pride themselves in being able to handle it all and admitting that they are struggling or need help is one of the biggest hurdles to overcome.  While these tips may help the woman in your life open up to you, nothing is ever for certain when it comes to postpartum depression and many women experience it in different ways.  If all else fail – love her and support her and don’t ever give up on her.


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postpartum depression
postpartum depression