Most new mothers will tell you: Bringing new life into the world is both a gift and a challenge.
So much attention is being paid to the new baby—and sometimes mom can be left in the dust. Learn how local nonprofit organization MomsBloom is offering critical support for families with new babies.
One day, you might start a family and welcome a beautiful baby (or two) into the world. You're overcome with joy. But then you might think, "Hold up. I have no idea what I'm doing."
That's where MomsBloom comes in.
Serving Grand Rapids and the surrounding communities, MomsBloom recruits and trains volunteers to provide practical and emotional support to new mothers, ensuring a smooth transition to parenthood.
Volunteers visit families and help with things like laundry and the dishes, in addition to providing mental health screenings and quality time and attention to siblings. They can simply be a listening presence for new mothers to talk to. Some specialized services based on a mother's varying needs may also be provided, such as connecting them with a psychologist or signing them up for additional resources they may not even know they're qualified for.
Carrie Kolehouse, President of the Board at MomsBloom, says that not only does this support help to prevent post-partum depression and anxiety, it also aids in creating the formation of a strong attachment bond between a mom and her newborn.
"Research shows this type of support sets a baby up for a more successful future and also helps to ensure moms are happy and healthy as well. Our goal is to offer this type of support to all families who need it, regardless of their financial situation or any other factors."
MomsBloom is leading the way in regard to offering this type of care for new mothers and their families in the United States, with only one similar organization operating out of New Mexico. Kolehouse notes that services and support such as this are standard in many other countries.
"After you go home from the hospital, the government sends someone comes to check on you and make sure your mental health is doing well and that you have everything you need. This is not the case in America."
"As a society, we focus very heavily on the health and wellness of the baby right after a mother gives birth—which is very important—but at MomsBloom, we believe that the physical and emotional wellness of the mother is just as important. Chances are, a healthy mom ensures a healthy baby."
Although the focus of the organization is on new mothers, you don't have to be one to volunteer and make a difference.
"Many of our volunteers are mothers or grandmothers in-waiting, having been through the experience themselves—they feel called to assist others in need. But we have plenty of volunteers who are college-aged and may be studying nursing, gender studies or are just simply interested in helping women."
Due to a recent lack of funding, MomsBloom is completely volunteer-based. With a goal of eventually offering more services elsewhere, MomsBloom is using this opportunity to see how efficient the organization can be moving forward.
If you're interested in volunteering, donating or would like support, visit MomsBloom.
Written by Sarah Suydam, Staff Writer for West Michigan Woman.
Photo courtesy of MomsBloom.