Maternal Mental Health Resources for Moms and Families
The arrival of an infant brings many changes into the lives of their family members. Amidst the excitement and joy involved in raising a child, there can also be anxiety, fear, and sometimes depression.
While it’s not uncommon for women to experience a mild case of the “baby blues,” research indicates some women experience the more severe condition of postpartum depression or a related condition. One recent study shows that one in seven women may experience depression during pregnancy, and one in five women will experience a maternal mental health disorder, like postpartum depression.
Symptoms of a maternal mood disorder include crying, sadness, hopelessness, irritability, anger, excessive worries, feelings of guilt, appetite disturbance, sleep disturbances, racing thoughts, and scary and unwanted thoughts.
“Navigating motherhood, especially in this present time, can be challenging,” said Richelle Anderson, LCSW, manager of Hospital Care Coordination and Family Support Services for BayCare. “Finding a balance when there doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day can be overwhelming for some mothers and often leaves them feeling defeated, exhausted, depressed or unmotivated.”
Anderson adds that while parenthood can oftentimes feel like a solitary journey, it’s important to know that you’re not alone. Since 2010, BayCare has provided resources and support to mothers currently pregnant and after pregnancy through phone consultations, on-campus support groups and education outreach. Thanks to a grant through the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County, BayCare also hosts virtual group sessions as well as telehealth individual therapy. All the resources are free, and available to anyone who may be experiencing depression during or after pregnancy.
Supporting Motherhood and More Group
Being a mother is one of the hardest jobs to do and struggling with mental health can make that hard job seem impossible. This support group is for women who are experiencing unexpected and difficult emotions during pregnancy and throughout the first year of their baby’s life. This group may be for you if:
- You feel overwhelmed, like “I can’t do this.”
- You feel irritated, angry, or resentful of your baby, your partner, or your friends.
- You worry that if you reach out for help, people will judge you.
- You wonder if you were supposed to be a mother in the first place.
Life After Childbirth
Life After Childbirth is a group designed for women who are currently pregnant or have delivered up to one year ago. If you’re facing challenges adapting to everyday life, adjusting to new roles, or struggling with the expectations of motherhood and/or breastfeeding, this group can help. A trained Lactation Specialist is present at group sessions to address breastfeeding struggles and tips and tricks. You can expect to:
- Build support by connecting with other women
- Share your experience in a judgment-free zone
- Talk about the emotional adjustment through pregnancy and motherhood
- Gain self-care skills
One of our qualified perinatal support specialists will call and check in with you weekly, biweekly, or monthly based on your need. They will provide non-judgmental support, encouragement, and resources, and can connect you with other mothers to help build your support network.
Have you thought about seeking out counseling? Are there barriers preventing you from getting the help you want? You could qualify to receive free telehealth therapy services from the comfort of your own home at a day and time that work for you. Our virtual individual therapy program is offered through a secured network system and lasts 12-16 weeks. Your baby can be present during the 50-minute session.
“We often find that when someone decides to reach out for extra support, they have been struggling for weeks or months,” said Anderson. “If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety during or after pregnancy, don’t wait to seek help. These programs have helped many women and families restore balance, adjust to their new normal, and bring awareness to perinatal mood disorders.”
For more information on BayCare’s maternal mental health resources or to talk to a counselor, please call (813) 872-3925 in Hillsborough County or (727) 462-3200 in Pinellas County. You can also email PerinatalSupportServices@BayCare.org.