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Maternal Mental Health Awareness

Maternal Mental Health Awareness Maternal Mental Health Awareness

Motherhood is a joy, but it isn’t without its challenges. From sleepless nights to the changes in your body and bonding with your baby, it’s not easy. May is Maternal Mental Health Month, a time dedicated to sharing resources and stories and normalizing the conversation around mental health so it becomes part of our everyday dialogue. 

To help us learn how we can spread awareness and normalize maternal mental health, we turned to the experts and chatted with our friend, Lauren Vollentine and the team at Postpartum Support International (PSI).

Lauren is a Registered Nurse (RN, BSN) and Maternal Mental health coach (PMH-C certified) and is passionate about creating and sharing resources for moms. PSI is a global nonprofit for perinatal mental health that connects individuals and families to the resources and support needed. Here’s what they shared with us: 


How can moms ask for help when experiencing challenges postpartum or during pregnancy?

It is never too late or too early to seek help.


Speaking up is necessary when moms feel they are experiencing challenges during pregnancy or postpartum. Motherhood is rewarding but can also be very challenging; there is no shame in asking for help. Motherhood is hard without experiencing perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.


It's important to remember that you are not alone. Feelings of anxiety or depression are common. Sometimes it can be helpful just to talk about the hard things and be heard by someone you trust. 


Helpful Tool: Keep a symptom journal to track feelings, thoughts, mood, bonding, and interest in everyday activities; this helps create a dialogue with professionals and your support system. 

What advice do you have for moms about creating a support system?

Raising a child truly takes a village! To create a support system and find your village, you have to be willing to accept that you were never meant to do this alone! Creating a support system makes you a stronger mother. A great place to start is accepting the support from those offering it. If they want to stop by and drop off food or come over and do the dishes and hold the baby while you nap, LET THEM! 


Finding professionals that make you feel seen and heard can also be a part of your support system to ensure you get the follow-up and care you deserve. Those professionals could include OB/GYN, midwife, birth or postpartum doula, lactation consultant, dietician, pelvic floor physical therapist, pregnancy and postpartum athleticism-specific trainer, and maternal mental health therapist/counselor, to name a few. There is no shame in repeatedly calling or asking to be seen. Your mental health matters just as much as your physical health. PSI offers a discussion tool to help track and discuss your symptoms with your healthcare provider. You can download or bring our discussion tool to your provider.


Lastly, you can seek out organized community events local to your area that are supportive of moms. Research local mom groups, walking meetups, or a gym that can support you in this season of life. A support group may be helpful so that you can connect with other mothers and parents who may be experiencing the same challenges you may be facing. Support groups are a place to feel supported, heard, and understood. You can also reach out to your healthcare provider and advocate for yourself. You know yourself the best, and you know if something is wrong or if you are feeling off. 


It can be challenging to do this type of searching while you're in the thick of motherhood once your baby is here so I always recommend looking for these opportunities early on.

Where can moms & their support systems go to get more information?

I am a big advocate of both moms AND their primary support system learning about maternal mental health together in the early stages of pregnancy so that everyone is on the same page. When a mom is in the midst of postpartum depression or postpartum anxiety, it can be very challenging to ask for help. 


A primary support system also knowing signs/symptoms, knowing to check in, and knowing when it could be time to get professional help is a great way to ensure that a mom gets the help she needs. 


Postpartum Support International is the global champion for perinatal mental health, connecting individuals and families with a wealth of support services and resources at no cost to give families the strongest and healthiest start possible.


At, you will find information on perinatal mental health disorders, access 30+ free online support groups, an online provider directory of trained professionals, the PSI HelpLine, local support coordinators in your area, a perinatal mental health discussion tool, specialized support resources and more.

  • The Online Provider Directory helps individuals and families quickly and easily connect with qualified perinatal mental health providers in their area.

  • The PSI HelpLine is a toll-free phone number anyone can call for basic information, support, and resources. Support via text message is also available at 800-844-4773 (English) and 971-203-2773 (Español).

Call or text 1-833-943-5746 to connect with professional counselors at the National Maternal Mental Health Hotline. The hotline is available 24/7 and is free and confidential.

  • Real-time support and information

  • Response within a few minutes

  • Resources

  • Referrals to local and telehealth providers and support groups

  • Culturally sensitive support

  • Counselors who speak English and Spanish

  • Interpreter services in 60 languages

If you are in suicidal crisis, please call or text 988 or visit the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.


Other informational resources include Check On Mom, Maternal Mental Health Leadership Alliance, The Blue Dot Project, and Shades of Blue Project. There are also great podcasts available, including Mom & Mind, The Perinatal Well-being podcast, and Why Don't We Talk About This.

What's the best way to prepare for mental challenges before they happen? 

The goal of providing awareness and knowledge surrounding perinatal mood and anxiety disorders is not to instill fear but to empower mothers and their support systems to know that these challenges can happen and that they get better with the right support. Educating yourself, talking about this ahead of time, identifying possible risk factors, understanding signs and symptoms, and having a plan are all great ways to prepare. 


Some risk factors include traumatic birth experiences, personal/family history of anxiety or depression, strong PMS symptoms, and lack of support. 


A few signs and symptoms to be aware of are feelings of hopelessness, loss of interest/joy in things you used to enjoy, and feelings of rage, irritability, or unwanted thoughts. It is helpful to remember that experiencing any signs or symptoms does not mean something is wrong with you, and it may just indicate that you need more support. Parents do a lot of preparation for the arrival of a baby, and it's helpful to approach mental health challenges similarly. 


Additionally, Postpartum Support International offers a free Postpartum Planning for Expectant Parents class offered on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of each month. This two-hour class focuses on the parents’ well-being during the postpartum period, including postpartum physical recovery, partner support, self-care, support networks, lactation and emotional well-being, and perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. Even if you are unable to join the class, feel free to download the Postpartum Plan PDF which you can use to plan for the postpartum period.

Talk a little bit about breaking down the stigma. What can we do to normalize maternal mental health?

There is so much messaging to pregnant and postpartum women through society, marketing, and unsolicited input from strangers that every mother should feel grateful, completely fulfilled, and able to "bounce back.” We need to stop supporting and normalizing this type of damaging messaging. Even when a woman isn't experiencing a PMAD, motherhood can be isolating, uncomfortable, and scary. 


These experiences are expected and treatable and will improve with the right support and being able to drop the stigma. When we normalize the message that it is okay to not be okay and with help, things will get better; we provide hope and normalize the actual experience of motherhood. Everyone's experience is so different and unique, and we need to show and spotlight all experiences of motherhood so that no one feels alone.


It is also important to provide direction to resources that can lead parents to seek help, As a community, we need to be more honest, and less judgmental, and not shame another mother or parent for what they are experiencing.

Thank you to Lauren & PSI for sharing your expertise and guidance and helping us spread awareness this month and beyond. You can connect with Lauren on Instagram at @offthetrailrn and PSI at @postpartumsupportinternational.


  • Bre


    I cannot thank LS enough for sharing this post. I think awareness is so important for creating support around motherhood. I resonate with all of this blog post. Thank you!

  • Rachel


    Such an important topic to be discussing and making more awareness. ❤️ The fourth trimester is very real!

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