Before I joined a postpartum support group, I felt lost, like I didn’t have a community that understood me, and I barely had anything to call “mine” on my calendar every week.

Once I had been in my support group for a few weeks, and then a few months, I understood all the benefits, and the positives that I was gaining.

If you’re on the fence about looking for a new mom support group, or if you can’t decide if you should join one, see the benefits here that worked wonders for me.

Having the support of a therapist or psychologist

The support group I joined is led by a psychologist who specializes in pregnancy, prenatal and postpartum mood disorders and anxiety. This is highly important because the issues that arise in postpartum are unlike challenges I’ve ever experienced in my life before.

The psychologist who runs the support group that I attend online is a grounding force for the group. She listens, gives everyone a chance to speak and fosters ways for members of the group to comment on one another’s concerns when they bring them up or talk about how things are going.

I feel very grateful to have the support of the psychologist in our group, and when I was dealing with a tough time, she even spoke with me over the phone to guide me through what I could do.

Having a group that understands your struggles

Every new mom who attends my support group has their own sets of struggles. It goes to show that postpartum is one of the hardest times in a woman’s life, and everyone is dealing with something.

For me, it was all about sleep, because it felt like ages til we could sleep through the night. In all the ways I was focusing on to stay healthy after giving birth, sleep was the hardest one to nail down.

This was personal situation, though: other women were dealing with things like health complications in their newborns, or C-section recovery, or issues with a spouse or parent. Among all these types of challenges, there would always be someone else in the group who really “heard” me, or any of the moms.

Having someone else who understood the same struggles and was either able to provide clarity, or some type of general “It’s going to be okay” mantra made me feel so much less alone.

Having a place to share your successes

Of course, a postpartum or new mom support group isn’t just a place to complain and seek advice. I loved when the leader and moderator, our psychologist, would ask us to name something great that happened in the past week, or something we were looking forward to.

I would often talk about some of the unique things I did during maternity leave, like my first time “Mall walking” or when my old college roommates came to see my newborn. Other moms might talk about a milestone for their baby, or a positive thing that happened in their relationships with their partners.

Having other women to applaud my successes, no matter how small they were, made me feel whole.

A way to make new “mom friends”

I didn’t join my support group to make new mom friends, but I would up making some buddies anyway.

The way my support group works is that it’s completely over Zoom. Because of that, all the women who attend can be anywhere within the state (this is governed by rules about psychology and where the psychologist herself is legally able to practice).

I knew that some women might be close by, and some would be an hour’s drive. As it turned out, one of the women who attended semi-frequently like I did, was located just a few miles away in the same town, and our babies were only a few weeks apart. She and I met in person at the new babies meetup from another organization in town that I religiously attended every week!

As for the rest of my virtual mom friends, some of them I have still never met in person, but we are all friendly on Facebook in the corresponding Facebook group for postpartum health that’s run by the hospital where we gave birth.

Having a way to ask advice from real people

It was best for me to be able to ask advice and get support from real moms who were going through the same things I was, around the same time. When I asked (or complained) about new parenthood struggles to friends who had had their babies years ago, they didn’t quite “get” me or give me what I needed to hear at that moment.

My support group for new moms provided all this to me, as well as a way of confirming that what I was feeling was normal, and what I was going through was going to pass.

Creating something to look forward to

It was HARD to find time for myself as a new mom. It was so hard for me that I constantly couldn’t figure out how the hours would just slip away, and I was so beyond tired.

Having my support group on the calendar every Monday and Friday gave me a place to be at a certain time. I would “be there” (on Zoom) whether I needed to feed the baby, or whether I was out for a walk trying to get the baby to sleep in the baby carrier. My calendar was marked with a recurring event for “Support Group,” and it felt great to see things in my agenda when the rest of postpartum life was so difficult at times.

A valid way to spend time during maternity leave (and beyond)

Yes, a support group is a valid way to spend your time during maternity leave! In fact, for me, it was one of the best ways I stayed sane during maternity leave, and one of the best ways I integrated into “parenting life.”

Having the new moms support group in my week even made me feel like I was doing something productive during maternity leave, because I was taking care of my mental health.

Getting a sense of community

I didn’t expect to find community in an online support group for new moms, but that’s something I also got. A community supports one another, and provides ways to help one another.

There was this one time that a new mom was talking about needing baby carriers, and I had an extra one that was a style I was no longer using. I said she could feel free to pick it up, if she had a way to get to where I lived.

The support that everyone in the group got from one another was immense, especially for those going through hardship, whether medical, mental, or relationship-based. We were all there to listen, and create a community-based space for the whole group.

Gaining a safe space to share issues

There was one session from my postpartum support group that one of the moms shared some very sensitive issues about abuse, divorce and other very difficult topics. Everyone listened, and despite us all having our own topics we had planned on sharing for advice that day, we put everything aside so that she could talk.

Another time, a woman shared a difficult situation about her relationship with her mother, and how long years of misunderstanding each other was culminating into some challenging situations. Everyone listened, provided advice and of course, was there to support her.

The safe space never needed to be stated verbatim: rather, our postpartum support group is a place that has the inherent understanding that all issues are confidential and therefore, everyone is safe.

Should you join a postpartum (new mom) support group?

As you probably see in the benefits that I’ve found in my postpartum support group above, joining a support group can be a very special experience to have after giving birth.

I didn’t expect to get any of the advantages and experiences above, but I’m grateful that I discovered them all as I attended my support group week after week. I hope you have access to a postpartum support group, as these reasons are just a start of the many benefits for mental health for new moms like us.

Are postpartum support groups for postpartum depression?

The group I joined is for general postpartum support for new moms; it’s not specifically for depression or anxiety in any way.

Check out Postpartum Support International to find free virtual support groups if you’re just starting your search or are not yet connected to a new mom support group in your area.