New online tool created in Kelowna aims to help moms with postpartum depression

It’s called Birth Your Power, a 12-step online program designed to help women suffering from postpartum depression.

“This program is a benefit to the community because it can take a lot to leave your home to find the help and the resources,” Tessa Hutton said.

Hutton is a Moga instructor.

Moga is yoga for moms and their babies. Birth Your Power was created by the same people who started Moga in Kelowna three years ago.

“This is a more accessible and more affordable way to seek guidance from a counsellor and guidance from people who are experienced in this field,” Hutton said.

Birth Your Power includes reading material and videos of women who have gone through postpartum depression, as well as counsellors offering some support.

“I would say a quarter of my practice is dedicated to women who are experiencing postpartum depression-anxiety,” registered clinical counsellor Fiona Patterson said.

Patterson is one of the counsellors offering guidance in the Birth Your Power program.

“Private practice can be prohibitively expensive for many people, and I know that so I want to be able to provide my services in a more accessible way to people,” she said. “And even though this project isn’t about me providing therapy, it is about an available resource and for someone to say ‘Hey this is someone in my community . . . and specializes in this arena’ that they can connect to.”

About a third of new moms experience postpartum depression. For some, it can be difficult to access help because they are busy caring for a newborn baby.

READ MORE: “An awful and dark experience,” Kelowna mom on postpartum depression

In some cases, women don’t seek help because they hide their postpartum depression, feeling guilt and shame.

Now with a new online resource, it’s hoped more women can access the help they need from the comfort of their own home.

According to experts, postpartum depression can have serious consequences for both moms and babies.

“The days, weeks, months after a woman has given birth is a critical stage in development for a young child who is learning about love and attachment,” Patterson said. “So if we have a mom who is experiencing postpartum depression . . . and is feeling disconnected from her child, that child can go on to have disruptions and impairments in relationships and work and all sorts of things later on in life.”

Click here to access the Birth Your Power website.

The program can be purchased for about $40.

The Interior Health Authority (IHA) also provides programs to moms dealing with postpartum depression.

Manager of Public Health Tessa Andersen said IHA conducts screening in the first couple of months following birth to assess if a mom has postpartum depression.

“Every mom has a visit from Public Health. That may be a phone intake screen, it may be a home visit or it may be in our clinics,” Andersen said. “And when they do come in and we have contact with the moms and their babies, we screen for it.”

Women who haven’t been screened yet or weren’t flagged in the screening process are encouraged to check out IHA’s website to learn what free programs they can access.

“They can go online and see those programs. However, we can actually support them through our public health nurses,” she said. “All of those programs and the nurse can help get them referred up and signed up into their areas and make sure that they have the ability to get to and from those programs as well.”

In more severe cases, IHA said it can also refer moms to mental health services.


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