I was oblivious that I had postpartum depression. I was saying I had all of the symptoms, I knew I was close, but I was maybe afraid to say it or just in denial. Finding the strength to admit to yourself you are struggling and then opening up to everyone is hard enough – but what now? You are in the trench’s mama. Whether you are bracing the storm without any chemical imbalance occurring, having some degree of baby blues, or starting to experience the effects of postpartum depression – this is a tough phase of motherhood. It is overly emotional because of how precious it is that you want to be present, rested, enjoy every moment, ‘soak it all in’ – but you have a brand-new tiny baby who is crying and hungry and needing you more hours than are in a day. And you are tired mama. On top of everything else you are feeling the effects, the physical effects of postpartum depression. Fatigue, excessive crying, intrusive thoughts, lack of appetite, irritability, and so much more. It is a tough time as it is and adding the stress and pressures of postpartum depression in a reality where most people don’t really understand depression, let alone postpartum depression it can be very challenging to navigate.
This is where I found myself. I was ready to find help. I had done therapy in the past, I have scheduled plenty of doctor’s appointments, and know how to check my insurance for covered providers, and I am familiar with how to research these doctors and find the best one for you. It sounds so much easier than it is. When you have an issue with a body part and you are trying to find a doctor, but they may not be accepting new patients, or take your insurance, it can be frustration for sure – but when you are seeking a counselor, therapist, or psychologist… there is something more personal about this process and it can be daunting and more stressful than it needs to be. In hindsight, and thanks to Instagram I have recently seen SO many online resources for mommies struggling with postpartum challenges.
my favorite online resources
- @mybestmomfriend is a blogger who posts relatable mom content on her page you will find a list of resources for maternal mental health: https://www.postpartum.net/get-help/psi-online-support-meetings/
@emily.sanders.therapy is another Instagram account that I follow. I love reading her posts. They are inspirational and great affirmations to tell yourself to help you work through any issues from the past or present you are working through.
@themothermission is a virtual mom community on Instagram and another one of the accounts I choose to fill my feed with. These types of accounts give me peace and positivity when I open my phone to scroll, rather than stressful news, or brash opinions.
@ourmamaillage is another therapist account I follow on Instagram. I find myself resharing her posts constantly because she not only is super educated and an amazingly educated therapist, but she is a mother too – so she gets it and she’s relatable. She has great advice on handling those tough situations with autonomous toddlers testing their boundaries.
@the.mom.therapist is a licensed and certified perinatal therapist and a mom of 2! She posts hilarious and relatable reels, in addition to posts containing real therapy advice.
Following accounts like these help me to stay consistent with those daily mantras, and words of affirmations we are supposed to be telling ourselves. Intrusive thoughts are a real and daily problem from almost all new moms, and it really doesn’t go away… ever. I remember postpartum with Carli, in a world pre covid and everything…. And I was still up all night, checking to see if they were breathing and worrying about everything realistic and unrealistic. Now moms are facing a myriad of challenges. From reproductive rights to formula shortages, covid quarantine for our babies and toddlers, women giving birth without support partners in the room, and the list goes on and on and on. We have been plummeted with shocking news that we need to process on a daily basis. We can barely keep up. So prioritizing your mental health right now is so important.
I love seeing accounts like these on social media supporting women. Instagram has become a safe place for me. I follow only account like these and I engage with so many women from all over, sharing our struggles, and supporting one another. The Instagram Mom Community is STRONG! Come join us! Find your mom gang – even if its virtual. So often our actual support system, however great they are, they don’t always get it the way another mom does.
When I finally realized I had postpartum depression my baby was 18 months old. My body was suffering mentally and physically and I really needed help. Finding a therapist that accepted my insurance and was accepting new patients seemed like an impossible feat. It was stressful but mostly emotional. It felt like rejection. I was in such a low mental space, that finding someone to hear me out was a fragile thing, and it made me feel for all the other mamas in the same boat. I would recommend finding a therapist before you give birth and scheduling an appointment for a few months out just in case – just to check in and establish a rapport in case you end up feeling like you need it. I wish I did. I had a really hard time with this and ended up getting so lucky. I ended up with the best therapist ever, who squeezed me into her full practice, and didn’t even accept my insurance. But I just paid out of pocket because I was desperate and felt like I owed it to my babies to get better and be the best version of myself for them. I friend reminded me that a mutual friend of ours was a therapist- while that would be too close for comfort, I reached out to her for recommendations. She had a great referral and even texted her to let her know id be reaching out, which I’m sure helped me to get squeezed in for an immediate video visit.
But why is this so hard!!! Why IS the postpartum doctor visit just a quick peek at your cervix and you’re sent on your way, approved for working out? Why is maternal mental health so overlooked?
How to Find a Therapist
- INSURANCE? For some people insurance can be really confusing. If you have an HMO you typically need to go to your primary care doctor to get a referral to see any specialist. If you have a PPO you just visit in-network providers at your own will. (generally…) There are some exceptions to this- mental health/acupuncture/ chiropractic benefits… on some insurance plans, you have coverage for these services, but you might have to go about it in a different way. Calling a different number, or just finding an in-network doctor on your own. If you call your health insurance provider or check your benefits online you can see if you have mental health coverage. If so, you can look into finding a therapist in-network which can cost you usually some type of copay. If you do no have mental health insurance or want to see a therapist regardless you can typically pay around $200 for a session.
- Visiting a resource like this can help lead you to free therapy: https://www.postpartum.net/get-help/psi-online-support-meetings/
- When you search for providers, you can check their specialty and some specialize in womens health.
- Hang in there- calling and getting told that they aren’t accepting new patients can be frustrating but eventually you will find someone to talk to.
- Word of mouth -Even though you may not need a referral from your primary care, you can still ask for recommendations in case they know of anyone. But for me, asking around to people I knew and if they had any local recommendations is what eventually paid off for me.