Mental health resources for mothers aren't often easy to come by, which makes the creation of a medical facility that treats moms with postpartum depression all the more significant. Often, mothers' mental health needs are swept aside post-pregnancy. The Motherhood Center of New York, however, is looking to change all of that. Various programs aim to help with the not-so-great parts of postpartum life, providing treatment options when needed and reducing overall stigma. The center knows how wide its reach extends, understanding that supporting mothers' struggles benefits their babies and families altogether.
Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs) affect nearly 1 in 5 mothers. From the "baby blues" to long-term complications such as general depression, PMADs aren't a one-treatment-fits-all type of deal. When sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion all inundate mothers to varying degrees, specialized plans are needed to meet mothers where they are and address their specific concerns.
That's where the Motherhood Center comes in. The center opened on March 14, but the idea has existed in its creators' minds for years now. Billy Ingram, the former CFO of New York based medical group Frontier Healthcare, founded it. Ingram was inspired by services provided in his home country of Australia, specifically initiatives at the Masada Private Hospital in Melbourne, which offers week-long in-patient support care for mothers and their babies. "The level of care and awareness that existed in Australia and most of Europe doesn’t really exist here in the treatment options," Ingram explained in an interview with Fast Company. Thus, Ingram decided to look for another solution.
Ingram partnered with Catherine Birndorf, a reproductive psychiatrist, and the center's current program director, Paige Bellenbaum, in order to put together their ideal facility.
The Motherhood Center is special in a number of ways. First, seven experienced specialists are on staff to meet the needs of patients. The center's day program runs from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. A variety of therapies are provided, along with educational and relaxation programs. Lunch and childcare are made available, too. "Most women participate in the day program for two to three weeks and when they are done they feel much better," the center's website shares.
And the help doesn't end once participants leave; The facility boasts "ongoing therapy and support groups ... available to women graduating from the day program to ensure they continue to get the support they need on the path to returning to their best self."
Accepting all health insurance as well as Medicaid, the center looks to set an example by providing support to as many mothers as possible. Their inclusive, all-encompassing approach "is hopefully going to close the gap somewhat" between perinatal and mental health services, reproductive mental health care expert Dr. Carly Snyder explained. Hopefully, more centers like this one will crop up, and that "gap" can be done away with completely.