Chandler Lipe struggled with both prenatal and postpartum depression during her pregnancies.
The 32-year-old mother of two felt like she had lost herself during both of her experiences and was looking for more of a community outside of her midwife and doctors to share her story with.
“I would seek help here and there, but I also didn’t feel like I had the vocabulary to explain what was happening to me,” Lipe said. “There’s a test you can take that will see if you’re experiencing depression while pregnant, and every time I was scoring high on it. But I would say, ‘I’m depressed because I don’t know who I am anymore, not because of the pregnancy,’ and the doctors would just send me on my way.”
Lipe then became a licensed coach to help women experiencing maternity transition and worked with Postpartum Support International, an international hot line dedicated to helping families suffering from postpartum depression, anxiety and distress.
She saw a need to give parents the chance to share their struggles, frustrations and success stories with other like-minded parents in a more comfortable setting, rather than on the phone or through an online forum.
So, Lipe is getting ready to open The Den, a social lounge for families, at 2900 Zuni St. in the Highlands next year.
The Den will have a play area for parents to watch their kids in, a laptop bar where they can get their work done, a coffee shop, and a resource wall with parenting books, studies and resources from local doctors, therapists and other licensed specialists. There will also be a classroom, where Lipe plans to host support groups and Q&A sessions with doulas, parents of multiple children or midwives.
Lipe said she’s putting together a panel of advisers, including Jane Gregorie, founder of Acupuncture Denver, which focuses on women’s health and fertility enhancement; Emilee Jones, owner of Body by Emilee, a lifestyle-focused coaching program; and a pelvic floor physical therapist.
“I want parents to be able to feel like individuals when they’re at the Den,” Lipe said. “We go to the Children’s Museum or the zoo, but it’s still for the kids. Here, you can relax, connect with other families and find local resources that can help parents reconnect with themselves.”
There will be an entry fee for both parents and kids, although Lipe was not ready to disclose it yet, and visitors will get a punch card for discounted future visits.
The Den will serve healthy grab-and-go meals and snacks for parents and kids, in addition to coffee, but no alcohol yet.
Lipe leased the 2,600-square-foot space in the Highlands, which was previously home to Teatulia, for seven years and hopes to open in March next year.
Broker Connor Donahue with NAI Shames Makovsky represented the landlord in the deal, and Michelle Colvin with MHLRE Commercial represented Lipe.
Lipe hired Davis Partnership to design the space and is using her own personal savings, plus loans, to complete it.
The Den’s space is adjacent to The Mama’hood, which the building’s landlord Linda Appel Lipsius co-founded and offers classes and products for new moms. Lipsius also owns Teatulia.
But The Mama’hood, which offered similar services to what The Den plans, closed and since relocated to a new location at 16 Lakeside Lane in Lakeside at the end of July, according to a Facebook post. It’s now focused solely on breast-feeding support and education.
“The Den will offer more psychological services to check in with parents, as opposed to technical classes,” Lipe said. “I’m excited to make coffees when needed, run support groups, and meet new parents and just ask them about themselves. There are a lot of resources out there, but a freeform place to connect with other parents is hard to find.”