We weren’t sure any one would show up: we had mailed post cards and letters, thumb-tacked flyers, told the press and every pediatrician and obstetrician we could think of; but still-it’s hard for Moms to get anywhere, especially if you are feeling “Blue” (and even harder at 7:30 am!) Yet they did come. And began the journey of healing. In a safe place: a place where you aren’t alone, a place to share the struggles of feeling like you should “be happy” and yet frequently feel like crying, and a place to share the challenges of sleep deprivation and interruption. With time: time to talk about how hard it is to communicate your feelings to those who don’t understand, time to share how awful it feels to believe that you are the only one who feels this way-all of the other moms look so happy, and time to listen to others who share their “not so happy” feelings. My co-facilitator, Annie Keating-Scherer, LCSW, and I had met at a Postpartum Support International training in December, and had immediately hit it off, thrilled about our shared passion for helping new mothers. Mothers who often expected that having a baby would be the most wonderful time in their lives, yet struggled with perinatal mood disorders and/or the challenges of pregnancy and postpartum adjustment. We commiserated about the lack of support groups in the area: only two in the state, each meeting once monthly, the “Blue Mamas” group through the Family Wellness Centers in Middletown and New Britain. Annie joined our CT Perinatal Mental Health Work-group and we began to planning a support group in the Hartford area. We were given permission to use the “Blue Mamas” name, so we can develop a recognition of its goal and purpose throughout the state. The other two groups are offered on Saturday mornings, and child care is provided at the Family Wellness Center. In my experience as an organizer of Central CT New Parent Resources Meetup, parents are reluctant to give up Saturdays, especially after Moms return to work. They also have a hard time getting out in the evenings-everyone is exhausted. Women who come to me for help with perinatal anxiety and mood disorders are able to get support regularly until the end of their maternity leave, then feel torn: they want to spend all the time they can with their babies, rather than going to therapy or support groups. So we decided to test an early morning time during the week, so that it might be possible for women to come before work, or go into work a little late on support group days. Our Blue Mamas group began at 7:30am-8:30am on Thursday on March 20th, which turned out to be the first day of spring. And they came. And shared. And gained hope. Please let others know about Blue Mamas, so they can gain hope too. Call me at 860 331-1750860 331-1750860 , or Annie Keating-Scherer, LCSW at 860 212-7066860 212-7066 for details.
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