Posted by Peggy Kaufman
When I think of the development of the Center for Early Relationship Support® (CERS), my image is one of continuous evolution, multiplying to meet different gaps and needs. We've grown from our initial volunteer home visiting program, Lauren and Mark Rubin Visiting Moms®, to include support groups and then our treatment program, Early Connections®; now we are the home to eight different programs and initiatives serving new parents, babies, and young children. This web of services is based on our listening to families and learning what they need.
Our work in post-adoption depression began in this very way. We had been seeing moms with postpartum depression and like many in the field (this was in the late 1990s) we had the assumption that a primary force in postpartum depression was related to hormonal changes accompanying pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. When we began to see mothers who were struggling after adoption we came to learn from them about the similarities (and differences) in their experiences of early parenting.
Through support and intervention services we've learned a great deal about the adoption journey and the powerful ways that becoming a parent through any avenue can be profoundly destabilizing. CERS clinical director Eda Spielman recently published an article in Zero to Three entitled "Post adoption depression: Clinical windows on an emerging concept." By describing the work of Early Connections treatment with several adoptive families, she gives voice to the struggles and triumphs that they, and many other families, have experienced after adoption.
Peggy H. Kaufman, MEd, LICSW is the founding director of the JF&CS Center for Early Relationship Support®. With a background in perinatal emotional health and the growth and development of parents, her interests include the earliest relationships. Ms. Kaufman is the recipient of multiple awards for her groundbreaking programs and her commitment to increase awareness of postpartum depression and maternal mental health.