WHAT IS A PEER SUPPORT GROUP?
Our peer support group is a place for people to come together and find empathy for what they are experiencing. This is a supportive, non-judgmental, and confidential space where individual are invited - but are not required - to share their experiences.
Peer support is not therapy or medical treatment, but it can be a beneficial element in your pathway to wellness.
WHAT HAPPENS AT A GROUP MEETING?
The meeting is casual and small in size. You are welcome to bring your baby or other young children you are caring for to the meeting, however due to confidentiality we ask that additional friends/family members do not attend. Each participant introduces themselves and, if comfortable tells a little bit of their story. There is no obligation to share your story but everyone’s experiences and insights are valuable and could help someone else in the group. Participants often find similar concerns and share ideas. The focus of the group is on healing, acceptance, and starting/maintaining good self-care habits.
WHO FACILITATES THE HAMILTON PREGNANCY & POSTPARTUM PEER SUPPORT GROUP?
This group is facilitated by Christine Sandor, a registered midwife in Hamilton. She works as a midwife at Community Midwives of Hamilton and also does expanded scope midwifery through Crown Point Midwives. She has a special interest in perinatal mental health and has undergone additional training in perinatal mental health.
WHEN AND WHERE DOES THE SUPPORT GROUP MEET?
Hamilton Postpartum Peer Support Group meets weekly on Zoom on Mondays from 12-1pm.
DO I HAVE TO TALK ABOUT MY EXPERIENCES?
No one is obligated to talk if they don’t want to. Sometimes just listening can be helpful too. Everyone’s insights and experiences are valuable and you never know when your words will resonate with someone else in the group. This is hard, and you don’t have to do it alone.
I CAN’T TAKE EVERYONE ELSE’S SADNESS RIGHT NOW; ARE THE MEETINGS SAD?
Sadness may be a part of the experience an individual shares when going through PMD. But positive feelings are also a part of the experience as well. Most individuals who attend support group are looking for support and encouragement and often feel encouraged after a meeting, not sadder.
WHAT IF I NEED TOO...?
...join a few minutes late?
...eat my breakfast?
...bounce my baby?
...feed my baby?
...put my baby down for a nap?
...get my baby up from a nap?
...help my toddler with something?
...hang up and sign back on?
It’s all good!
Life with a baby is busy and unpredictable. We GET that. That’s why we’re here. Come as you are.
Come when you can. Leave when you need to.
WHAT IF I CAN'T MAKE IT TO EVERY MEETING?
That's totally okay! There is no set number of sessions you need to attend. Some people come to group almost every week, while other people come whenever it works for their schedule. We get that each day is different and life with a baby is totally unpredictable.
Regardless of your schedule, you are welcome to pop in for as long (or as short) as you can to connect with other people who are looking for support.
We never mind if you are feeding yourself (or your baby), need to bounce your baby, put someone down for a nap, get a toddler a snack, or sign off because you have another appointment or have to turn your attention to your kiddos.
We are here for the struggles!
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
One of our goals when developing this peer support program was to limit barriers to access, including financial barriers and scheduling commitments — so our group is free and drop-in, meaning you don't have to sign up for a set number of sessions. You can come as often as you like during your pregnancy and first year postpartum.