Just Talkin’ Tuesday: The Power of Peer Support


When I was in the darkest days of my Postpartum, I found myself at the hospital, wandering, wishing for another mom to talk with about the thoughts in my head.

Yet, there I was. All alone. Deflated. Lost. Confused. Worried. Scared. Frustrated. Numb. Angry. Trapped in a giant whirlwind of emotions with no map out.

What the hell? How did I get here? How would I leave? I was drowning.

I knew one thing beyond a doubt though – Moms struggling like me needed to be connected to other moms.

As I began to recover, I searched and searched for a way to begin to support other moms. Through this search, I found the wonderful Jane Honikman and Postpartum Support International. Jane encouraged me. So did Wendy Davis, now the Program Director with Postpartum Support International. These two strong and amazing women nurtured me as I grew in my capabilities and strengthened my skills in peer support. There was a time when I questioned my abilities. Wendy assured me I was a natural at social support. Pec Indman would do the same down the road.

Then, I became pregnant. It was not a planned pregnancy. To be honest, not even a wanted pregnancy at the beginning. As I stated last week, I used to pray my doctor’s office wouldn’t find my baby’s heartbeat and then weep with guilt when I felt disappointment at hearing the normally reassuring thump thump of my unborn child’s heart. What should have brought me joy instead filled me with pain and heartache. Eventually this was replaced with joy and happiness as I blogged, continued with therapy, and medication. One of my biggest turning points was the opportunity to interview Karen Kleiman for my blog. Her book, What Am I thinking: Having a Baby After Postpartum Depression inspired me to start blogging to begin with as I attempted to reframe my pregnancy. Interviewing her was almost full circle for me.

During all of this, I also became Community Leader over at iVillage’s Postpartum & Pregnancy Depression Board. I had been a CL before but found myself unable to relate to moms with “normal” lives after my own life had suddenly turned upside down and scattered all over the floor. As I scrambled to pick up the pieces, it felt like those moms were busy eating bon bons as they looked down on me scurrying about to pick up the shattered china. I also served as a moderator at the Online PPD Support Page for a bit.

Connecting with moms like me saved me. It saved my sanity. It provided a camaraderie which I no longer had with normal moms. It became my calling and purpose in life.

I wake each and every day with the goal of helping at least one family.

I have yet to fail.

I have no plans to stop anytime soon.

So….

Do you have a special someone in your life who has provided invaluable peer support as you went through Postpartum? Tell us about it here. Have you helped someone? Did it help you recover? Why do you help others? What drives your passion?

Want peer support? Have a question or concern? Leave it in the comments. Someone’s bound to read it and respond.

Did you miss out on in person peer support? Need help finding peer support? Leave a comment. You’re not alone anymore.

Let’s get to just talking!

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4 thoughts on “Just Talkin’ Tuesday: The Power of Peer Support

  1. I was one of the lucky ones. Even though my recovery took over a year I had support coming from every angle. My rock was my therapist. Even when I was suicidal I knew that if I could only make it to my next appointment I would have some hope again. My support group was also vital. It was tough being the only mom there with out a baby for a long time but there was so much joy and hope in that room when I finally brought him. Honestly there are too many people to name.

    I support other moms because I was so supported and know how much better it was to have people love me and hold me until I could love myself again.

  2. I don’t really have any peer support. I dont really know any other woman who has suffered PPD other than reading journals or visiting PSI forum. I do have family support, but they really dont understand my PPD/OCD. They keep saying it will get better, but will it? How do they know? When I say I have OCD, i dont think they realized what I meant, that I would think of these thoughts over and over and over for hoooooooooooooooours. After a year of suffering seems like it will never getter better (the OCD), and it sucks that I cant take medication to help. I am just too sensive and it made things 1000% worse for me. I like reading journals for inspiration and coming here.

    I will have to check that book out…

  3. My wonderful newly found friend and PPD survivor, Kelly Nordstrom, picked up the phone and called me after a half hour I sobbed to the MN PSI Coordinator about wanting to talk to another mom in my area that had made it through this horrible demon. Kelly has been there for me through everything. So many tears were shed on my keyboard at work as I would email her and she always responded right away with encouragement and support. She also would call me on a regular basis and check on me. She has recently published a book about her struggles with Postpartum OCD, depression and psychosis titled “Un-Perfect: a not-so-graceful journey into motherhood”. It is a wonderful read – it is gritty, raw, and real yet uplifting and hopeful. She also has her husband write portions from his perspective which I have not seen in many other PPD survivor accounts. I would encourage all mothers who are struggling to check out Kelly’s website at http://www.un-perfect.com or mommiescrytoo.com or drop her an email. She is all about supporting and encouraging mothers and has such a positive outlook despite everything that she went through. There is absolutely no way you can talk to her and not feel just a teeny bit better. She was my rock so many times and I will never be able to thank her enough!

  4. Oh! I have that book and I keep trying to get myself to start it. I’ve gotten a few pages in and I’m a little nervous to read it, I guess. :) Anyway, I’m sitting here trying to figure out why I don’t have your blog in my follow list/reader. How can I follow you? Why am I not already? Oy vey. :) YOU ROCK, Mama. I’m about to refer a friend to read your site. Well, an anonymous friend in need, if that makes sense. I’ll explain more later. Thanks for kicking PPDs butt for all of us!

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