Postpartum moms often find themselves facing physical and mental changes that leave them feeling helpless and isolated. Between sleep deprivation, body dysmorphia, the constant solicitation of a newborn baby added to raging hormones in the weeks and months following birth, it’s no surprise new moms are struggling.
According to a 2017 survey by the U.K.-based ChannelMum, a staggering 92% of mothers admit feeling lonely, with 54% of respondents feeling more friendless than before they had children.
This worrying statistic comes as no surprise to anyone who’s experienced the early days of motherhood. Sometimes, the simple act of taking a shower, much less socializing, can seem impossible. What can help immensely – postpartum apps.
A growing number of new apps are catering to the specific needs of new moms, including ways to meet women facing similar issues.
The Peanut App is pitched as a “Tinder for moms,” connecting mothers in similar geographic areas according to their interests and ages of their children. Taylor Salvucci is both a former user of the platform and an ambassador for the app. She describes the connections she’s made through Peanut as invaluable.
“I was the first among my friends to have children and am a stay at home mom,” she tells Parentology. “I found myself without anyone to relate to my experiences, and, with no friends to spend time with during the week, I was beginning to feel lonely.”
“When I discovered Peanut, I was able to meet other moms in my area, form friendships, and expand my social circle.”
The matching algorithm may not be everybody’s cup of tea, which is why Peanut also offers a community for moms to connect without the pressure of meeting directly.
“Peanut as a whole is an amazing online community of moms around the globe,” Salvucci says. “We’re there to provide advice, moral support or a judgment-free platform to vent about the struggles of motherhood.”
Salvucci continues, “The main goal of Peanut is to help moms build their village. Whether that be through new friends to meet up with or a new online support community, every new connection a mom makes helps her feel less isolated.”
Hello Mamas and Social.Mom offer similar features, matching moms according to their profile information including interests, schedules, families and personalities. They’re then free to meet in person for a play date with their children or a childfree social outing, if desired.
The platforms offer messaging services and larger forums, helping moms in a similar area or with comparable interests to connect and communicate. Some larger social platforms often have specialized groups targeting new moms. Facebook groups, many of them secret, are also a popular way for moms to connect based on their interests, their location, or the difficulties they face (raising a child with a disability, moms of multiples, etc.) as are MeetUp groups for those interested in connecting in person.
Beyond the social aspect, apps could also be a valuable tool for helping moms struggling with postpartum mood disorders, such as postpartum depression or postpartum anxiety. Many women affected by these afflictions have reported having issues disclosing symptoms and seeking treatment from healthcare providers.
Hoping to change this situation, the researchers at the UMass Medical School and Worcester Polytechnic Institute have developed Lifeline4Moms. The app hopes to provide a tool for doctors to screen patients and guide them through possible symptoms and courses of action.
With access to these apps, the hope is, mothers suffering from postpartum issues will feel less alone and understood.