Today is the birthday of a dear friend of mine named Yael Saar. I promised I would write a blog post on her birthday, and I am just barely making it before midnight!
Yael is an amazingly kind, supportive, gracious, and caring individual that I have had the fortune of meeting first online and then recently at the Blogher12 conference in New York City. She is the author of the blog PPD to Joy and the founder/leader of a Facebook support groups for moms called Mama’s Comfort Camp, a closed forum consisting of over 300 moms from around the world who provide one another with encouragement, support, reminders to be kind to ourselves and a non-judgmental ear to listen and share the ups and downs of our parenting experiences. It’s a place where moms can vent and seek advice on a situation with which they are experiencing difficulty (i.e., in-law challenges, childcare challenges). There have been all sorts of posts, spanning the whole range of emotions from humor, elation and excitement to sadness, anger, concern, and anxiety. Members have been encouraged to share pictures, stories and blog posts to help them get to know each other better. Yael calls the group a “refueling station: a safe haven of self care and self kindness for moms.” Hence, the name of the group.
Until I joined this group, I had no idea just how much company I have in terms of the feelings of being overwhelmed, fatigued, uncertain and anxious. Yes, indeed, there are other moms out there with similar experiences as me. I just needed to know where to look for them! I didn’t join Facebook until 2009, and my daughter was over 4 years old already by that time and I no longer felt the need new mom support any longer at that point. It’s great to see it’s not all just about mommy wars and moms competing with moms. There are many supportive women out there. Ideally, you should already have some in your life that are prepared to assist BEFORE you embark on your journey to motherhood.
I learned AFTER my postpartum depression (PPD) experience that:
- there are PPD blogs to provide support and help you feel less alone in your experience,
- social support is critical in the first weeks after childbirth and there are doulas and baby nurses for those who don’t have loved ones available to help in the first weeks postpartum, and
- there are PPD support groups (like Lauren Hale’s Facebook PPDChat Support group and #PPDChat on Twitter at 1:30 pm EST and 8:30 pm EST on Mondays), infant feeding support groups (like Fearless Formula Feeder and Bottle Babies), and mom support groups (like Mama’s Comfort Camp).
Oh, how I wish I knew about all this BEFORE my own motherhood journey began. I could’ve used all these resources to help feel less alone, anxious, and miserable in thinking I was the ONLY mother who felt the way I did. While everyone else around me gave the appearance that motherhood was a piece of cake, I felt like an utter failure right from the get-go. As part of my commitment to spread awareness about PPD, I want to also spread awareness of these online support groups that are available as wonderful resources for new moms.