The Weekly Newsletter for Heart of Houston Birth and Wellness Families and Friends
National Parent's Day
Did you know that the fourth Sunday in July is Parent's Day? Me either! Apparently, "President Bill Clinton established the holiday in 1994 by signing the Congressional Resolution that approved National Parents’ Day by law. Republican Senator Trent Lott introduced the law, with the aim of '…uplifting, and supporting the role of parents in the rearing of children.'" So happy belated Parent's Day to you!
We had a really great pregnancy group over the weekend with Dr. Chan-Ramirez of Blossom Pediatrics and Lactation. There was a nice mix of first time timers and veteran parents in attendance. I love when group is mixed like this because our veterans can share all the tips and tricks to surviving that fourth trimester. Dr. Chan shared that she was a brand new pediatrician when she had her first baby and the struggle was as real for her as it is for the families she supports in her practice. For so long new parents have been without the support systems needed to ensure that their introduction to parenthood is as smooth and joyful as possible. The good news is that Houston has a strong and vibrant community of practitioners dedicated to uplifting parents all year round, not just the fourth Sunday in July.
Its raining babies!
It was another busy week for our midwives! We wanted to take a moment to thank you all for being so understanding about having to shuffle the schedule around so often this month. We love our space on W. Clay but we are READY to be in our new building. Once we've moved to the the new location we won't have to worry about rescheduling much of anything, really.We intentionally designed the layout to allow for community activities, births and clinic to all run a the same time without interfering with each other. We are getting closer and closer to securing a final move date and we promise to keep you in the loop. Next week we'll link a sign up sheet for folks who have offered to help. I mean, who wouldn't want to spend a Friday afternoon assembling furniture with our HOH crew?! We promise to feed you and pay you in hugs and high-fives.
When partners become parents
A common theme of every postpartum support group I've ever facilitated is division of labor. Before having a child together most partners feel pretty comfortable within the roles of their relationship. Throw a tiny person into the mix and things get complicated. Add breast/chest feeding or pumping into the mix and the mental and physical toll on the birth person becomes glaringly obvious. More often than not these changes in a couples dynamics can cause tension and confusion that can lead to a lot of tears and hurt feelings. It's vital that you and your partner take the time during your pregnancy find healthy ways to resolve conflicts. But how do you know what will become sources of tension? I recommend three things:
Attend one of our Ask the Experts pregnancy groups. This is a great way to hear what struggles newly postpartum couples have encountered. Learn how couples are navigating the unexpected shifts in their roles and take notes to discuss with your partner later.
Watch the recording in the members area of our website with Kim Jones, M.A., LMFT-S, LPC-S. Kim introduces couples to the Gottman Method of couples therapy. Think of it as communication coaching!
Attend a Bringing Baby Home class. This class is part of the Gottman Institute's curriculum offered online and in person. It covers all the way to prepare your relationship for your new addition and beyond.
I also encourage you to attend any of our postpartum support groups to get an idea of the most common stressors new parents face. You both have spent your entire life becoming the people you are, change can be hard but it doesn't have to impossible. You are already equipping yourselves with information about labor and birth or caring for a newborn but don't forget to take the time to care for your partnership as well.
App for the anxious mind
Last week Joanna Zepeda and I attended the Black Maternal Mental Health Summit. Kay Matthews and The Shades of Blue Project did an incredible job filling each panel with discussions on ways folks around the country are addressing the growing rate of postpartum mood and anxiety disorders (PPMAD). In 2018 I was invited to speak about the role of doulas in the birthing experiance. Many folks had the misconception that doulas were just labor coaches for folks who wanted unmedicated births or out of hospital births. Back then I felt like a doula missionary, just trying to spread the good news about all the different hats doulas wear. I was blown away at this year's summit with across the board inclusion of doulas in every conversation about community resources. I had to the chance to sit on a panel and talk about the work we are doing here at Heart of Houston and the positive outcomes we've seen as a result of our support groups and pregnancy circles. What set this summit apart from all the other conferences I've attended was the focus on solutions. There were so many ideas on ways to improve equity and access to all the organizations committed to improving the journey into parenthood. My favorite new resources is the Expectful app!
This app is the bee's knees y'all! It offers "Holistic support from fertility, pregnancy birth and beyond" The main focus is mindfulness practices. Expectful offer over 1600 meditations, classes, support groups and other non pharmacological ways to address stress and anxiety before, during and after birth. Check out the study they recently published in The Journal of Midwifery and Women's Health. Let me know if you decide to give it a try!
Meet The Center for Postpartum Family Health
Who are you?
The Center for Postpartum Family Health (CPFH) is a group of Licensed Professional Counselors, Social Workers and Marriage and Family Therapists specializing in mental health services related to challenges associated with pregnancy and postpartum depression and anxiety. We offer both in-person counseling as well as teletherapy. In addition, we offer free in-person and online support groups for new moms!
How do you serve/help the pregnant and postpartum communities?
All of our clinicians are licensed mental health professionals. In addition, all of our clinicians have specialized training, supervision, and experience in treating perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, as well as other concerns that commonly occur during this stage of life. We pride ourselves on providing a high level of compassionate and skilled care for people during the perinatal time frame and beyond. We provide individual and couples therapy, as well as therapy groups and support groups.
How did you get into this line of work?
Each of the therapists at CPFH has a unique story as to what drew them to this work. One thing we all share in common is a passion to support and empower new parents.
What do you wish everyone knew about your area of expertise?
We wish everyone knew that help is available! Oftentimes we get clients who wish they knew about us sooner. Perinatal mood and anxiety disorder are treatable with the right kind of support. There is no need to suffer alone or in silence.
What is most rewarding about your work?
We believe that supporting the mental, emotional, and relationship health of new parents is of the utmost importance and can have lasting impacts for generations to come. New parents are often lacking in support, and it is very rewarding to be a part of filling that gap and helping people to regain enjoyment in their lives and relationships.
Tell us about something (or someone) you love!
While we all have different interests here at CPFH, one thing we have in common is that we LOVE the work that we do!
This Week's Events
End of Summer HOH Baby Pool Party: Save the date! We'll have a HOH pool day Friday July 29th from 10-1pm at Jessica's place. Hang out before or after morning nap! More details in the members area.
Pregnancy Circle- Ask The Experts! July 31st 2-5pm In Person, Come get to know your HOH village. Newly postpartum parents will host expectant couples for a laid back Q&A session. Ask all your burning questions and find out what life with a newborn REALLY looks like. Please register HERE
World Breastfeeding Week Celebration: Saturday 8/6 2-4pm Our friends at BABE want to celebrate your Chest or Breast feeding journey. Whether you latched one time, exclusively pumped or nurse, or whatever combo worked for your family, you deserved to be celebrated! Join us at our new location from 2-4pm for giveaways and snacks and a hug or two. This event is open to current and past HOH or Whole Heart Collective members ONLY. Please RSVP
Postpartum Support Group: Every Wednesday from 10-12ish and Thursday 9:30-11:30. Zoom link has been sent to all HOH clients and Whole Heart Collective members. Email Jessica if you need more information.
Feeding Clinic: Twice a month during Postpartum group. Keep an eye on schedule for specifics
Queer Parent Circle: Second Sunday of every month 2-4pm Open to the public!
Birthworkers Circle: Second Sunday of every month starting Jan 2022 time 11am-1:30pm