May marked many milestones for the HCMC Mother-Baby Program and mothers around the world — our program’s third birthday, Mother’s Day, Maternal Mental Health Month and International Maternal Mental Health Day. These anniversaries reflect the growing awareness that an emotionally healthy mother is essential to the well-being of her family. Our mission to restore mothers’ emotional health is driven by the knowledge that a child’s earliest experience with adult caregivers shapes the very architecture of the developing brain.
In this mother-focused month, we reflect on the 964 people who have called our Mother-Baby HopeLine. We also remember the hundreds of brave pregnant and postpartum moms who have been served in the Mother-Baby Day Hospital. We remember the countless profound moments we witnessed after a defeated and depressed mom finally recovered enough to say: “I want to live now. I want to be here for myself and my baby.”
This May we also celebrate our program’s growth: excellent new therapists; a partnership with Open Arms to provide organic meals for our moms; expanded programming in the Day Hospital; new outpatient therapy options; and a growing community network focused on eliminating health disparities and child maltreatment among disadvantaged young children.
Though we’ve had many successes these past three years, our hearts are also heavy as we remember that in Minnesota and all around the world, we continue to lose lives from untreated mental illness during and after pregnancy. We must expand and improve treatment options so that more pregnant and postpartum women and families get the help they deserve and no more lives are lost.
In closing, we share the eloquent words of one of our Day Hospital graduates:
“When I started the program, I was in such a deep depression, and my anxiety felt all-consuming. I never thought I’d be able to be a mom. I felt broken inside and was scared to care for my 2 month-old son.
The program changed my life forever … I don’t know where I would be without you all. When we moved to Minnesota, I was anything but excited, but I truly believe I was meant to have my baby here so that I could have your support. The work you do matters, and this community is better because of you all.”
On this third birthday of the Mother-Baby Program and this month of celebrating mothers, we thank you for your support. As we say in our program, “babies can’t wait!” We hold the moms until they can fully hold their children. Thank you for joining us in holding moms and families in their darkest time. Your support makes a difference!