PEER SUPPORT GROUP
Our peer support groups are completely FREE and run Monday from 12-1pm on Zoom.
The mission of the Hamilton Postpartum is to provide individuals with support and encouragement when experiencing symptoms of perinatal mood disorders (PMD). People who attend the group will receive support from peers as they struggle with any of the symptoms associated with PMD, including anxiety, depression, intrusive or unwanted thoughts or worries, panic attacks, phobias etc. Hamilton Postpartum provides a safe, nonjudgmental atmosphere in which to share stories, discuss problems, and seek solutions. Our goal is to give you hope and encouragement as you move through the recovery process.
Our peer support groups are meant to be an aid in recovery; it is not meant to replace medical care. A combination of treatments, including medical evaluation, therapy, and group support, can accelerate the recovery process, and we encourage participants to pursue all three approaches. All who attend must rely on a personal physician or mental health care provider as their first line of treatment and use the group as additional support. Hamilton Postpartum does not provide medical evaluations of any kind, and it is not meant to be a substitute for traditional medical treatment or therapy.
We encourage you to attend meetings regularly as you go through the recovery process. Some people continue to come to meetings after recovery as a way to help other individuals who are new to the experience. When this happens, the experienced person takes on the role of a listener and offers support and guidance when appropriate. This is welcome and encouraged! However, if you feel that the group is not meeting your specific needs or if you feel that you have moved beyond PMD but still need help and don’t know where to go next, please speak with a facilitator.
Hamilton Postpartum is not a therapeutic group and should not be used as a substitute for counseling or medical help.
GROUP MEMBER GUIDELINES
To provide optimal support and maintain a safe, positive environment, we ask group members to follow these guidelines:
Goals of group – The goal of the group is to help individuals suffering from Perinatal Mood Disorders. When the topic strays too far from issues related to PMD, the facilitator will steer the conversation back to the subject. We encourage members to exchange contact information and meet outside of group to further connect with parents; this is a great way to form new contacts and reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness outside of group.
Contact Information – Hamilton Postpartum will maintain an email list (with permission) to provide email reminders for upcoming meetings. The email list is used only by Hamilton Postpartum and email address will not be shared with other group members. If you wish to be removed from he email list at any time, please reply to email@example.com
Medical Treatment – Hamilton Postpartum is meant to be an aid in recovery and is not meant to replace medical care. Attendees must rely on a personal physician or mental health care provider as their first line of treatment and use the group as additional support. We do not provide medical evaluations and it is not meant to be a substitute for other medical treatment or therapy.
Endorsement – Hamilton Postpartum does not endorse specific healthcare professionals or medical centres. If a specific provider is mentioned or shared by other group members, it is not an endorsement by the Hamilton Pregnancy & Postpartum Support Group. It is the responsibility of the group member to decide about their own health care providers.
Students – Crown Point Midwives are affiliated with McMaster University Midwifery Education Program and occasionally we have midwifery students doing short-term clinical placements with us. Students have prior clinical experience in midwifery practices and are expected to uphold the same privacy and confidentiality standards when attending our postpartum group as in any other clinical placement.
GUIDELINES FOR SHARING
Peer Support – This is a peer support group, not group therapy. Participants come together to find empathy for what they are experiencing. This group may supplement, but should not replace medical treatment or therapy. Each participant is encouraged to take ownership of the group; feel free to offer comments and suggestions to the facilitator that will enhance the group’s functioning. We welcome your input and ideas.
Respectful of Time – The group is on a fixed amount of time. In order to be timely and allow for everyone to have an opportunity to speak, the facilitator may need to interrupt and bring someone’s sharing to a conclusion in order to allow for everyone to have a chance to share.
Nonjudgmental – All topics related to perinatal mood disorders can be discussed openly and honestly. Members are free to share their personal experience or simply to come and listen. Please keep in mind that we are all speaking from our personal experience and cannot tell another member what to do on their own path to recovery. We all have the right to our own beliefs, convictions, and feelings about our personal situation. It is inappropriate to make judgmental statements or direct unsolicited advice to another group member regarding an expressed belief, conviction, or feeling
Confidentiality – All stories shared at meetings are confidential. Please respect the privacy of other members by not discussing any individual’s information outside the group setting. An actual threat or danger of harm is the only exception to confidentiality.
Supportive – The goal of the group is to be empathetic, not to give advice or to fix one another. Feelings are neither right nor wrong. It is okay to have a difference of opinion. It is okay to express anger at situations, but not hostility towards individuals within the group.
Flexible – During our meetings feel free to get up, eat, walk around with your baby, feed your baby, go to the washroom, join late, leave early etc.