Center comes to rescue before, after baby arrives

first_imgSANTA CLARITA – New mothers need mothering too, and a center offering them before- and after-baby classes and services helps fulfill their needs and pacify their concerns. A mother who had been tending full time to her 14-month-old son had too few hands to go around after giving birth to twins in January, five weeks early. The mother hired a postpartum doula to work the night shift at her Saugus home. “She’s an amazing woman, I don’t even hear my kids cry. They don’t cry – I have a solid eight hours of sleep,” said Natasha Hussain, 30. Postpartum doula Susan Esses takes care of Nadia and Zach Hussain from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. on weekdays. Hussain pumps breast milk every five to six hours during the day, so she can sleep through the night and wake up ready to engage firstborn Zayd in play. Hussain’s obstetrician referred her to the Tender Care Mothering Center, which is where she found Esses. After working in the field privately for 10 years and providing hospitals with a turn-key program, Chris Morley opened the nonprofit center in December. Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital had contracted for Morley’s prenatal education program for three years. The center provides doula services from Los Angeles to Orange County. Morley is fielding more calls from parents seeking help with twins, which she attributes to an increase in in vitro fertilization. “They are often born premature, one comes home, one doesn’t come for two weeks and the mom goes back and forth,” she said. The doula becomes the equalizer. Morley has dubbed another phenomenon the “Supermom Syndrome,” where the mothers work, tend to new babies and pursue goals such as advanced degrees – all at the same time, sometimes to their detriment. “They’re so driven, so used to succeeding in careers and college, then they have 7 pounds of baby that reduces them to rubble,” she said. “It doesn’t matter how much education they have, it depends on how much support they have once they have the baby.” Momtalk, a once-a-week support group, and Stroll & Roll, where stroller-pushing along Valencia’s paseos becomes a cardio workout, were designed to offer that support. The meetings have led to couples’ get-togethers and group camping trips. Another trend seems to be pumping breast milk so dads can help feed the baby right away. A lactation consultant who teaches prenatal classes at the center and helps train the doulas recommends sticking with breastfeeding for the first four to six weeks, though it may be helpful to have some stored breast milk on hand. It can be kept in the refrigerator for 72 hours, or in the freezer for three months, she said. Some new parents find security in an emptying bottle and worry a breastfed child may not be consuming enough calories. “With formula, you can see how many ounces,” said Debbie Noble, who has worked as a manager in Los Angeles-area hospitals for 20 years and with Morley for about 15. “We’re concerned with what’s coming out of the baby. If things are coming out, it means it’s working.” Noble said breastfeeding appears to be on the rise, and research seems to indicate it leads to better outcomes for premature and sick infants. Doulas offer suggestions if mothers have difficulty breastfeeding, and can refer clients to lactation consultants if more expertise is needed. Some mothers experience emotional problems after a baby is born that they are not equipped to diagnose or resolve themselves. The center refers patients who suffer postpartum depression to Dr. Diana Barnes, an expert in the field. She understands the problem from the inside out, having been a sufferer for three years after her now 14-year-old daughter was born. “Depression came close to costing me my life, which is one of the reasons I’m so fervent and passionate about assessment.” Barnes said the longer the problem goes untreated, the potentially more chronic and resistant it becomes to treatment. Some women buy into myths of pregnancy and motherhood – such as instant maternal bonding and the belief that knowing how to care for a baby is instinctive – and never ask for help no matter how badly they need it. Some women are universal caretakers, and last on their own care-giving list. These women may feel ashamed about feeling not quite competent or adequate. “Women are more likely to say, ‘What is wrong with me? I’m not sure I can do this, what am I thinking?”‘ she said. “Many women have said ‘I made a terrible mistake.”‘ They may be told by someone who lacks expertise they are experiencing an adjustment disorder, and just need more sleep. While four in five women who give birth may experience mild symptoms – tearfulness, moodiness, irritability – these symptoms are mostly transitory. Rest, a proper diet and reassurance help alleviate the problems in a few weeks. “If you’re feeling you’re not coping, feel overwhelmed at not being able to cope, feel disconnected from the baby – these are signs there could be a depression, ” Barnes said. She said 10 percent to 20 percent of women who give birth have some form of postpartum depression, which accounts for about 400,000 women a year. She works with the entire family to treat the disorder. “Postpartum depression is treatable,” Barnes said. “I’ve never had a woman I could not treat. Women need to know they’re not alone, not to blame, they didn’t do anything to cause this, there is help, they will get better.” Judy O’Rourke, (661) 257-5255 [email protected] GETTING HELP The Tender Care Mothering Center is at 26370 Diamond Place, Suite 507, in the Centre Pointe Business Park in Canyon Country, and can be reached at (661) 253-2100. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECasino Insider: Here’s a look at San Manuel’s new high limit rooms, Asian restaurant The center offers prenatal classes, doula services, help with breastfeeding, support groups and access to a postpartum depression specialist. Some doulas help out during childbirth, but the center’s postpartum doulas help mothers and families in the ways they most need it after babies are born: teaching parents how to care for newborns, helping families adapt, helping a mother with breastfeeding, or caring for the babies. They are not medical practitioners, but the center’s doulas are certified and trained by licensed professionals in the maternal-newborn health field. Esses, a mother and grandmother, says the best part of her job is making a difference at a very special time. “I feel privileged to be a part of these families’ lives at one of the most beautiful and stress-filled times,” she said. “After working in the corporate world in a traditional 9-to-5 ‘real’ job, I could never go back.” Esses is often “super” sleep-deprived, but in prescribed doses. She takes it in stride. “I’ve raised my two kids, now I’m back in the trenches,” she said. The Hussains have hired her for two months. last_img read more