BALOG COLUMN: It takes a village to raise a mom
A new baby brings a lot of exciting changes, but also some confusing ones too.
New moms wonder how to function on just a few hours sleep, when the baby will smile while she's awake, how much spit-up is too much.
Those who are lucky enough to live near their family members have a built-in support group.
But there are plenty of women who don't have that luxury, who aren't sure where to turn if they have a question about midnight feedings or feel unexpectedly depressed during what everyone tells them should be the happiest time of their lives.
That's where groups like the former Ruth Rhoden Craven Foundation come in. Founded in 2000, the group recently changed its name to Postpartum Support Charleston as it looks to reach more moms.
The group will still keep the name Ruth Rhoden Craven Foundation as its parent group and to honor Craven's memory, said board President Holly Fisher. Craven suffered postpartum depression after the birth of her son and committed suicide in December 1999. Her mother, Helena Bradford, started the group with two friends the following March.
Fisher said the name change makes sense from a practical standpoint, to make the group's name easier to remember, and also from an outreach perspective.
“We want to expand our reach to show that we're helping women after they have had a baby,” Fisher said, whether that's a mom who's just overwhelmed or one who's having depressive symptoms.
Two monthly support groups are available. Moving into Motherhood gives new moms a chance to share questions and fears and solutions and meets at 6:30 p.m. on the third Monday of the month in North Charleston. There's also a postpartum depression group that meets at 6:30 p.m. on the first Tuesday of the month on Daniel Island.
More information about these groups, as well as other resources, is available on their website at www.ppdsupport.org.
They're probably best-known for the Moms Run, an annual 5K scheduled for May 11.
More than 300 runners participated last year; they're hoping for 400 this year. The event is family friendly, with plenty of kids in attendance, and plenty of strollers.
With the money they raise from the run, they're able to offer $500 grants to women who need treatment for PPD but can't afford it.
“We would like to give as many of those as we can,” Fisher said.
They don't want financial hardship or lack of insurance to keep women from getting help.
“There are a lot of women in our community that are suffering that we're not reaching,” said Fisher, who has suffered from PPD as well. “People are kind of surprised when I tell them 15-20 percent of women experience postpartum depression.”
She urges moms who are depressed to get help. “The faster you can get help, the faster you can be taking care of your child.”
And that will make everyone happier.
Reach Melanie Balog at email@example.com or 937-5565.