As I have grown and continue to grow in my knowledge and support of women and families struggling with Postpartum Mood Disorders, so has a dream of mine. And right now, it is just that – a dream. One day I hope it will become reality. This dream would be realized in the founding of an all inclusive Maternal and Child Services Center.
The Center would be non-profit to allow for sliding scale fees so that no woman or family would have to be turned away. Women of childbearing age would be accepted – intake would consist of consultation with a Nutritionist, a Case Manager to aid in Mental Health, and of course, an OB or Nurse Midwife. Once pregnant, monthly visits with the OB or NM would continue until the eighth month of pregnancy with special appointments with the Nutritionist and Case Manager scheduled every three months or more often as needed. Doulas would also be available. Childcare would also be provided on site to remove the stress of finding child-care for appointments from the mother or family’s life. We would have on-site birthing and recovery as well as Postpartum Cottages for in-patient psychiatric care – homes where a Postpartum Doula and nurses would work round the clock as the family stayed together to recover – rather than being torn apart. Days for Postpartum Care would include therapy for both mom and dad as well as joint parenting classes. At night, Dinner would be a joint effort amongst all patients – creating socialization opportunities for confidence to bloom again in this area.
We would also offer on-site Pediatric Care with Pediatricians trained to recognize signs and symptoms in both mother and child of Postpartum Mood Disorders. Children would be eligible for this care until age twelve.
Regular support for breastfeeding, formula feeding, loss of breastfeeding relationship, infant loss, miscarriage, special needs infants, Postpartum Mood Disorders in both mothers and fathers as well as classes on infant massage, yoga, and other alternative treatment options for soothing stress in families with young children would also be available.
Overall, the primary staff would consist of a Center Director, Social Workers, Psychiatrist, OBs, Nurse Midwives, Lactation Consultants and Counselors, Doulas, Nurses, Nutritionists, Peer Support Specialists, Pediatricians and Childcare Specialists.
During the Childbearing years, it is of utmost importance women take care of themselves, their bodies, and their families. This Center would enable them to do so by informing and empowering them of their options as well as providing quality comprehensive care for every aspect of their lives during this time, something all women deserve to have access to, no matter what their social or financial standing.