Photo contributed by Twin Cities Hospital
Navigating Motherhood Support Group meets every Thursday in the third floor OB waiting room at Twin Cities Hospital. It is the only group in the county offering free postpardum depression support for new and experienced mothers.
TEMPLETON – For about a year now Twin Cities Hospitals has been hosting a free drop-in support group every Thursday. The group, called ‘Navigating Motherhood’ is the only one of its kind in the entire county.
“We’ve had great success and incredible outcomes,” said Michelle Blanc, a licensed clinical social worker at Twin Cities Hospital with special training in postpartum depression, who facilitates the support group with a registered nurse from Twin Cities’ Birth and Baby Center and a qualified lactation specialist. “It’s been very well-received. I don’t think many people know about it. We’d like people to know. We have a treat, we have tea, and we do some relaxation but mainly what we do is we check in with each other and we talk about what it’s like. All three of us suffered some form of depression, anxiety, mood disorder, or other complications during our own birthing processes.”
Blanc’s group covers many topics of interest for both first-time and experienced moms, including “taking care of you,” “positive coping skills” and “understanding the baby blues.” The group discusses strategies for successfully overcoming the challenges of motherhood.
“We’re the only postpartum depression support group in the county,” said Blanc. “We have people who delivered at Sierra Vista. We have people that delivered over at French Hospital. The majority do deliver here at Twin Cities.”
Navigating Motherhood serves all of San Luis Obispo County, but the issue is global. According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, about 15% of American women experience postpartum depression within a year of giving birth. Worldwide statistics chart similar percentages, with approximately 10 percent of pregnant women and 13 percent of women who have just given birth experiencing a mental disorder – primarily depression. In developing countries the percentages are even higher, according to the World Health Organization.The support group facilitators conduct screenings on depression symptoms using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale.
“It’s a problem that has gone underground,” Blanc said. “People don’t want to talk about their anxiety, but it’s very prevalent… we know women suffer in silence. Husbands and partners suffer too.”
Navigating Motherhood takes place every Thursday from 10 to 11:30 a.m, but according to Blanc, the group has become a good place for moms to de-isolate themselves, and a helpful social time to connect with others.
“Some mommies hang around until 1 or 2 o’clock because they don’t want to go home,” Blanc said. “We have a changing table. We have a place where you can nurse. We show movies. It’s a place to feel love and support.”
The Obstetrics Department waiting room is located on the third floor of Twin Cities Community Hospital in Templeton, on 1100 Las Tablas Road. No registration is required. Visit www.twincitieshospital.com for additional class and support group information.
You may reach Reporter Beth Giuffre at [email protected] for questions and/or feedback.