One of the best ways to support your mental health as well as the health of your baby is to join a support group! Pregnancy and parenthood can feel both joyous and hard. There are moments when we experience fear and uncertainty. The good news is that you don’t have to do it alone. Seeking out a place that feels safe to share feelings, struggles and ask questions is an essential part of postpartum wellness. Whether this is your first baby or the fourth, all pregnancies (and babies!) are unique and bring new challenges that you do not need to face alone.
But Aren’t My friends and Family Enough?
While our close friends, partner and family can play a large role in helping us stay mentally healthy, it is important to not rely on these supports alone. Creating a network of mothers who are going through a similar experience can help lift the responsibility off loved ones to be the sole source of support. Instead, finding a tribe of other moms can allow for greater understanding, connection and shared experience. It can become a place to find solace and community. We also know from research that support groups can significantly reduce the symptoms of some perinatal mental mood disorders.
Support Groups & Postpartum Mood Disorders
For women who have experienced anxiety and depression prior to having a baby the risk of a postpartum mood disorder is significantly higher. For those women at higher risk, a support group can play an important role in managing anxiety and depression as well as other mood disorders specific to postpartum.
There are many benefits of a support group for women who are suffering with a postpartum mood disorder. The first one being that groups encourage socializing without the worry of judgment when the baby cries or needs to be fed or changed. Everyone is understanding because they are all in the same boat! Support groups offer a chance to get out of the house with the baby, learn from other parents, perhaps start to feel more confident by supporting other moms and by gaining a better awareness of your own emotions. Many groups bring in specialists, like art therapists, music therapists and yoga teachers to facilitate activities that support parent- baby bonding.
Below are a list of local group in the Northern Virginia area that provide support groups to pregnant and postpartum women:
- Postpartum Support VA 703-829-7152
Helpful website with many resources and support groups for women and partners (included those listed below)
- Virginia Hospital Center
1701 North George Mason Drive, Arlington, VA
Lobby Classroom/Women & Infant health
2nd and 4th Thursday each month from 12:30-2pm
- Fair Oaks INOVA Hospital
3600 Joseph Siewick Drive, Fairfax, VA
1st& 3rd Thursday each month, 7-9pm
- Fairfax INOVA Women’s Center
3300 Gallows Rd, Falls Church
5th floor lobby/atrium, 1st & 3rd Thursday, 11:30-1pm
- Mamistad (Northern VA)
Meet up group that connects first-time mothers.
- MOMS Club (nationwide)
Provides a support group specifically for at-home mothers.
- Mothers of North Arlington (Arlington, VA)
Local social and support group offering support, friendship, an active message board, fun activities, and informative events for members.
- Mothers & More (nationwide)
Connects mothers via a network of both virtual and local communities.
- PACE (DC area)
An organization providing educational and emotional support groups for new and second time around mothers.
- Peanut (App)
A new app offering group support to all women, including mothers and those trying to conceive. The user-friendly, free app allows women to connect and build friendships, gain support and post questions.
Looking for an art therapy-based support group? Join us at Sage House Counseling & Art Therapy!
We offer ongoing support groups for pregnant and postpartum women and their partners. We are conveniently located in the heart of Reston, Virginia, just minutes from the Wiehle-Reston Metro station, Sage House offers year-round support groups which focus on the unique needs of pregnant and postpartum women. We also offer workshops to support all aspects of motherhood, from attachment and bonding to self-care and life balance.
To learn more about our support groups click here.
We also offer complimentary consultations to help you determine the best group, workshop and/or individual therapy to meet your specific needs and therapy goals.
Kate is the Founder and Clinical Director of Sage House Counseling & Art Therapy. With nearly ten years of clinical experience, I partner with you to connect back to your authentic, true self. The self that desires happiness, abundance and greater self-compassion. I work with clients just like you because I believe we all have the innate ability to heal and grow when we are heard and supported.