"In our lives, we have seasons of giving and seasons of receiving...as a new mother/father, you are in the season of receiving."
This page is designed to offer resources and support to new and new again parents, of all genders, ethnicities, socio-economic status, and religions.
Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADS) do not discriminate - they can impact anyone of any gender, and SES, any religion or ethnicity.
Common perinatal disorders that parents experience are Perinatal Depression, Anxiety, OCD, Bipolar, PTSD. Perinatal Psychosis is rare but possible.
Moms are ordinary people and this is okay!
Moms cannot do everything and that is okay!
Moms are humans. They cannot do it all and that is okay!
Dads are not babysitters or secondary parents, they are invaluable parents!
Research shows that when dad’s have the opportunity to parent and raise their child, there are positive outcomes. Paternal leave is important!
Dads are highly capable and valuable parents who do know what they are doing when it comes to raiding and caring for their children! We need to stop endorsing the incapable Dad stereotype.
This means that 14-20% of women experience perinatal depression.
This means that 10% of new fathers experience postpartum depression.
Baby blues are a normal experience, not a psychological or psychiatric disorder. Not a mild form of depression but still something very important to be aware of and seek support for, if needed.
Occurs due to the hormone fluctuation at the time of the birth and acute sleep deprivation.
Lasts between 2 days to 2 weeks. If lasting longer than 2 weeks, is not baby blues but potentially Perinatal Depression or another Perinatal Mood or Anxiety Disorder. Please seek help and support.
Usually peaks between 3-5 days after delivery.
Symptoms: tearfulness, lability, reactivity, exhaustion. Does not include suicidal thinking.
Pregnancy: Mood is labile, teary, self-esteem is unchanged, no suicidal thoughts, energy may be low/tired, can sleep but may wake up due to bladder or heartburn, experience joy and anticipation as well as some worry, appetite increase.
Depression: mood is gloomy, irritable, agitated, rage, low self-esteem, guilt, difficulty falling asleep and/or staying asleep, may have suicidal thoughts, plans, or intentions, energy does not restore after rest, feel fatigued, anhedonia (inability to feel pleasure), dysregulation of appetite.
Overwhelmed, "I feel like I cannot cope."
Lack of feelings of connection towards baby.
Inability to take care of oneself or family.
Feeling isolated or socially withdrawn.
Unable to experience pleasure or joy.
"This doesn't feel like me." "I just don't feel like myself."
Increased somatic symptoms such as headaches, back pain, GI issues etc.
15.8% experience prenatal anxiety as well.
4.1-16% of fathers experience prenatal anxiety as well.
Excessive worry, often about one's health or baby's health.
Difficulty controlling worry (persistent thoughts, rumination).
Restlessness, feeling on edge, unable to relax or sit still.
Easily fatigued, difficulties with sleep.
Increased somatic symptoms such as headaches, back pain, GI issues.
Intrusive (unwanted), repetitive thoughts, urges, or impulses - usually about harm coming to baby but can be related to other concerns.
Common types of thoughts: deliberate harm to baby, contamination (e.g. didn't clean bottle out properly, detergent from soap in clothing, accidental harm to baby (e.g. what if I drop the baby, or hurt the baby in some way), ordering/arranging things (e.g. bottles must be arranged just so), religious (e.g. baby is a demon), checking (e.g. checking if the baby is okay, breathing, more than what is healthy.)
"What if" thinking.
Intense shame and guilt.
Horrified by these thoughts. Thoughts or impulses are experienced as distressing, unwanted, unacceptable, or inconsistent with one's self-concept.
Engaging in behaviours to avoid harm or minimize triggers.
OCD: parent recognizes thoughts or urges are unhealthy, experiences extreme anxiety about thoughts or urges, overly concerned about being or becoming "crazy" or "snapping."
Psychosis: parent does not recognize thoughts/actions are unhealthy, may have less anxiety about thoughts or behaviours, may have delusional beliefs about the baby (e.g. baby is a demon, baby is a baby doll), does not have insight about the distortion of thoughts (meaning they may think their thoughts or urges are reasonable).
Average prevalence of prenatal PTSD is 3.3% of parents.
An event occurring during the labor and/or birth process that can involve actual or threatened serious injury or death to the mother or her infant.
An event occurring during the labor and/or birth process wherein then woman is stripped of her dignity.
Witnessing the traumatic event (e.g. witnessing parent's traumatic birth process).
Examples: Emergency C-section, postpartum hemorrhage, prematurity or stillbirth, unexpected NICU admission, forceps or vacuum extraction, severe pre-ecplampsia, 3rd or 4th degree laceration, Hypermesis Gravidarum, traumatic vaginal birth, fetal anomaly diagnosis in pregnancy, witnessing partner's birth experience, shoulder dystocia, long labor process, failed pain medications or poor response to anesthesia.
Avoidance of postpartum care.
Impaired parental-infant bonding.
Sexual dysfunction or distress related to sexual acts.
Avoidance of future pregnancies.
Difficulties with breastfeeding.
Yearly anniversary of traumatic birth.
41.7 deaths per 100,000 live births for black women.
28.3 deaths per 100,000 live births for American Indian or Alaska Native.
13.4 deaths per 100,000 live births for white women.
Statistics are based on the Center of Disease Control (CDC) for 2014-2017.
Only 1-2 in 1,000 women will develop Perinatal Psychosis.
First baby, discontinuation of mood stabilizer, obstetric complications, perinatal or neonatal loss, previous bipolar episodes, psychosis or postpartum psychosis, family history of bipolar disorder or postpartum psychosis, sleep deprivation.
Bipolar Disorder is a significant risk factor for Perinatal Psychosis, which occurs in 20% to 30% of women with Bipolar Disorder. If you are pregnant and have Bipolar Disorder it can be very helpful to have a mental health professional support you through your pregnancy and postpartum care.
Poor concentration or disorientation.
Agitated, hyperactivity, emotionally distant, aloof, lack of self-care.
Mood is elated, labile, dysphoric or depressed.
Speech can be rambling, tangential, or nonsensical.
With adequate treatment, nearly all individuals experiencing postpartum psychosis achieve full remission and then majority achieve good functional recovery.
If you believe you or someone you know may be experiencing Perinatal Psychosis please seek professional help right away.
FREE and open to all members of the queer community who are expecting, adopting, and/or parenting babies up to 2 years. This group is intended for gestational, non-gestational and adoptive parents.
An organization designed for the sole purpose of providing and creating support for women who have experienced childbirth as traumatic. Offers online forums for mothers and caregivers/families.
Online facilitated peer support group for Military Moms is here to help you connect with other parents, talk about your experience, and learn about helpful tools and resources. Military spouses, active duty personnel and veteran moms are welcome to attend. Trained facilitators are military spouses and understand the unique stress of the military family life.
This online NICU group is intended for parents of babies who are currently or formerly in the NICU. Connecting with others who have experienced the uniquely stressful environment of a NICU will provide parents with understanding, as well as helpful tools and resources. Whether your baby is currently in the NICU or you have finally returned home, our NICU parents support group is here for you.
Online Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support group provides connection for mothers grieving the loss of their baby. Led by PSI trained facilitators, this group helps bereaved mothers find support as well as provides useful information and resources to help them navigate the pain of their loss. Losing a baby can be a lonely experience and this group helps provide an avenue for healing and hope.
Online Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support group provides connection for parents grieving the loss of their baby. Led by PSI trained facilitators, this group helps bereaved mothers find support as well as provides useful information and resources to help them navigate the pain of their loss. Losing a baby can be a lonely experience and this group helps provide an avenue for healing and hope.
Online support group for moms experiencing mood or emotional challenges during the perinatal period (pregnancy and 1 year post birth). This group is here to help you connect with other parents, talk about your experience, and learn about helpful tools and resources. Whether you are going through stress, adjustment to parenting, Baby Blues, pregnancy or postpartum depression/anxiety, this group is here for you
This group is for Black mothers who are seeking peer support during the perinatal period up to 2 years postpartum. Our online groups are here to help you connect with other moms, talk about your experience, and learn about helpful tools and resources. Whether you are going through stress, adjustment to parenting, baby blues, or pregnancy or postpartum depression/anxiety, this group is here for you.
The Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy for Lesbians: How to Stay Sane and Care for Yourself from Pre-conception through Birth, by Rachel Pepper
Journey to Same-Sex Parenthood: Firsthand Advice, Tips and Stories from Lesbian and Gay Couples, by Eric Rosswood
Confessions of the Other Mother: Non-Biological Lesbian Moms Tell All, edited by Harlyn Aizley
And Baby Makes More: Known Donors, Queer Parents, and Our Unexpected Families, by Susan Goldberg and Chloe Brushwood Rose
Subversive Motherhood: Orgasmic birth, genderqueer parenting, papas, trans parenting, Gynepunk, etc. by Maria Llopis
When Survivors Give Birth: Understanding and Healing the Effects of Early Sexual Abuse on Childbearing Women by Penny Simkin and Phyllis Klaus
Traumatic Childbirth by Cheryl Tatano Beck
The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk
The Body Remembers: The Psychophysiology of Trauma and Trauma Treatment by Babette Rothschild
A Spectrum Approach to Mood Disorders by James Phelps
Why am I Still Depressed? By Jim Phelps
Bipolar, Not So Much by Chris Aiken and James Phelps
The Infertility Workbook by Barbara Blitzer
Conquering Infertility by Domar & Kelly
Coping with Infertility, Miscarriage and Pregnancy Loss by Amy Wenzel
Healing Your Grieving Heart After Miscarriage: 100 Practical Ideas for Parents and Families by Alan Wolfelt
Unspeakable Losses: Healing from Miscarriage, Abortion, and Other Pregnancy Loss by Kim Kluger
Empty Cradle, Broken Heart, Revised Edition: Surviving the Death of Your Baby by Deborah Davis
Empty Arms: Hope and Support for Those Who Have Suffered a Miscarriage, Stillbirth, or Tubal Pregnancy by Pam Vredevelt
A Silent Sorrow: Pregnancy Loss – Guidance and Support for You and Your Family by Ingrid Kohn and Perry-Lynn Moffitt
Couple Communication After a Baby Dies: Differing Perspectives by Sherokee Ilse and Tim Nelson
High-Risk Pregnancy – Why Me? Understanding and Managing a Potential Preterm Pregnancy. A Medical and Emotional Guide by Kelly Whitehead and Dr. Vincenzo Berghella
100 Questions and Answers About Your High Risk Pregnancy by Elizabeth Platt and Betty Campbell
Pregnancy Brain: A Mind-Body Approach to Stress Management During a High-Risk Pregnancy by Parjat Deshpande
Good Moms Have Scary Thoughts: A Healing Guide to the Secret Fears of New Mothers by Karen Kleiman
Postpartum depression and anxiety: A self-help guide for mothers by Pacific Post Partum Support Society
The Postpartum Depression Workbook: Strategies to Overcome Negative Thoughts, Calm Stress, and Improve Your Mood by Abigail Burd
The Pregnancy and Postpartum Anxiety Workbook: Practical Skills to Help You Overcome Anxiety, Worry, Panic Attacks, Obsessions, and Compulsions by Kevin Gyoerkoe PsyD and Pamela Wiegartz
This Isn't What I Expected: Overcoming Postpartum Depression by Karen Kleiman and Valerie Raskin
50% of pregnancies are unplanned
Many parents do not bond right away with their infant. This does not mean there is something wrong with you, sometimes it takes a while to establish a bond with your infant.
Everyone's conception journey is different. There is no one way to experience getting pregnant.
Many women find pregnancy an unpleasant experience. This does not mean you are a bad mom or there is something wrong with you!
NOT TRUE FOR EVERYONE!
Many women experience discomfort and/or pain throughout pregnancy. If you do not enjoy pregnancy this does not mean you are a bad mom or there is something wrong with you!
NOT TRUE FOR EVERYONE!
Not all pregnancies results in a living and/or healthy baby. It is important to recognize these possibilities and to be aware that different women and parents will have different pregnancy experiences.
THIS IS NOT TRUE!
Each woman has the right to choose a labor and delivery plan that fits for her. If you choose pain medication it does NOT mean you are weak or trying to take the easy way out.
It is important to respect every parent's choice to a labor and delivery process that feels like the best fit for them. We are all different and unique, and there is no one "right" or "good" way to go through the labor and delivery process.
Whether your C-section was elective or planned, you have every right to chose a delivery method that works for you. Choosing or having a C-section does not mean you have failed or taken the easy way out.
NOT TRUE FOR EVERYONE!
Some mothers may describe motherhood as innately instinctual and natural for them, but not all mother's experience motherhood in this way. If motherhood is not instinctual or natural for you that does NOT mean there is somethinig wrong with you!
NOT TRUE! Many parents do not bond right away with their infant. This does not mean there is something wrong with you, sometimes it takes a while to establish a bond with your infant.
NOT TRUE! It is completely normal and common for moms and new parents to not experience joy and to actually experience many other negative feelings or nothing, when holding their baby for the first time.
It is completely normal and common for moms to struggle with breastfeeding. If you are having difficulties with breastfeeding it can become a very painful and stressful experience. You deserve support! There are professionals who can help you, please seek them out because you deserve it!
It is so important to remember that you are a mother AND an individual. All parents deserve to take breaks and deserve to have and ask for help.
Emotions are a human condition; Fathers/Men are not exempt from having feelings or struggling. Fathers experience perinatal mental health challenges too.
10% of new fathers experience postpartum depression.
2.4-18% of fathers experience postnatal anxiety symptoms.
North American gender stereotypes paint Dads a bumbling buffoons who don't know what they are doing when it comes to child care, or are seen as secondary parents to mothers. Dads are highly capable and can be excellent caregivers if/when given the opportunity to do so.
Anti-diet Dietician who aims to inspire moms to feel body confident and find food freedom.
Mother affirming IG account and Podcast
IG account that offers a safe space to discuss parenthood topics without negative or judgemental comments.
La Leche League: Transgender & Non-Binary Parents
Maternal Mental Health Advocate
Author of BodyCanBooks that encourage healthy body image development.
Perinatal Loss Films
Don't Talk About the Baby (Pregnancy Loss)
One More Shot (Infertility)
The MISS Foundation - www.missfoundation.org
Modern Loss - www.modernloss.com
Good Grief Education and Support - www.good-grief.org
Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders are NOT life sentences.
With treatment and support you CAN get better.
PMADS are NOT your fault and you are NOT alone.
Please reach out for the help you deserve.
24 hour, 7 day a week confidential service that provides support, information and referrals to Albertans experiencing mental health concerns.
Highly trained volunteers and professional staff available to help you 24/7 if you need someone to talk to. Your call is confidential.
Chat is available from 3pm – 10:00pm weekdays and from noon-10:00pm on weekends.