Posted by Peggy Kaufman
On Saturday, July 11, Postpartum Progress, a nonprofit organization that raises awareness, fights stigma, and provides peer support to women with maternal mental illness, held their first Warrior Mom Conference in downtown Boston for new mothers who experienced postpartum depression.
I was invited to participate on a professional panel for "Educate and Empower," the conference's kick-off event. I joined three other professionals and spoke about community support and what the Center for Early Relationship Support® (CERS) has learned from 26 years of programming.
I shared three core beliefs that guide the interventions of CERS:
- Not one size intervention fits the need of every new mother.
- Intervention timing is determined by the new mom and her readiness to receive support.
- The experience of being nurtured helps us to be more nurturing.
I discussed the importance of connections through groups, one-on-one meetings, or even internet connections since relationships can provide a safe holding environment during the postpartum times when one's internal world is chaotic and needs a structure to trust. I also referred to the work of Daniel Stern who addresses every mother's need to find a "motherhood club." Many of the women in the room had missed this opportunity as they were lost in their experience of depression and anxiety.
As I finished speaking, I looked around the room amassed with nods and tears. Even in that short period of time, I had made the type of connection I was presenting about and these moms had now found their own motherhood club.
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 and infant mental health.