Something caught my attention today. An article appearing on my Facebook feed about a workshop offered by Seleni Institute this Wednesday, July 31st, titled: “Preparing for Your Newborn,” which will assist the expectant mom in knowing what to expect in her first days after childbirth. When I looked at what the workshop will be covering, I quickly realized that it’s way more than what the standard childbirth and parenting classes at hospitals offer. It offers many things I complain about in my book that are lacking in standard hospital classes–things that are the source of much anxiety to first-time mothers, like how to choose a pediatrician,warning signs and when to call your pediatrician, soothing techniques, and taking a baby’s temperature. To find out more and to register, click here. I will have to inquire whether they also cover the startle reflex (the reason why we swaddle) and what to do if reflex, colic, eczema and/or cradle cap occur.
In Chapter 14 of my book, I talk about the changes needed for progress with respect to ending the ignorance about postpartum depression (PPD), ending the stigma caused by that ignorance, and making sure there are enough support services to help new moms and their families. In this chapter, I provide my “wish list” of what it would take for such progress to occur, one of which is an increase in peer-led parenting and PPD support groups (one example is MotherWoman, which I have blogged about previously, even on Huffington Post). The other is the establishment of comprehensive women’s healthcare facilities that are founded on the realization that the emotional well-being of the new mother is absolutely essential to the survival and normal development of her child. Mental health should absolutely be an integral component of reproductive health, whether it be for issues relating to infertility, miscarriage, still birth, child loss or the postpartum period.
I recently learned of such a facility that I wish I could’ve taken advantage of but couldn’t because it didn’t exist when I was having difficulty conceiving, after my first failed IVF cycle, after childbirth and when I was battling PPD. It opened its doors earlier this year. Not sure, however, WHETHER I would’ve taken advantage of such a facility back then, before I came out of my PPD knowing what I know now. Yes, it’s one of those hindsight is 20/20 kinda situations. Well, knowing what I know now, I want to encourage women to seek such services early on. Continuing along the vein of what I wrote in my book’s Chapter 14, knowing the importance of and being able to easily access such services are extremely vital if we want to stop seeing women experiencing the kind of bumpy road to motherhood that I experienced.
This facility is the Seleni Institute in Manhattan. I hadn’t realized until today that the Advisory Board consists of such esteemed individuals in the field of reproductive mood disorders as Dr. Lee S. Cohen and Karen Kleiman, MSW, LCSW. Seleni’s services include–but are not limited to–the following.
- Support groups for, miscarriage/stillbirth/child loss, perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, pregnancy, new moms, unexpected childbirth outcomes, parenting support/mindful parenting, and body image.
- A certified lactation counselor providing clinics, classes, workshops, and one-on-one sessions to help the expectant mother know what to expect and the new mother on how to improve her breastfeeding experience.
- Experienced psychotherapists and social workers on staff to provide counseling on infertility, coping with physical changes during and after pregnancy, infant bonding and attachment, life and career transitions, relationship/marital/partner difficulties, parenting concerns, and body image anxiety.
- A website offering valuable insight into all things relating to reproduction. It is filled with an amazing amount of information that, once again, I only wish I had had access to during my IVF cycles, pregnancy, and postpartum period.
The origin of the name Seleni is in and of itself extremely creative and a lot of thought was put into an appropriate reflection of the organization’s mission. In combing through everything on the site, I’m filled with wonder at the promise this organization holds for women, and I really hope to see more organizations like this open throughout the country. Even better, I would like to see this organization become national!