Local groups urge postpartum support for new parents

Published: Jan. 31, 2023 at 4:56 PM CST
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PEORIA (25 News Now) - Postpartum psychosis is a rare condition pushed into the spotlight following the Massachusetts killing of three children allegedly by their mother’s hand.

While that condition occurs in an extremely small percentage of births, local experts said this does highlight the high amount of stress and pressure new parents can be under.

“Being a mother is hard and being a parent is hard and what we’re seeing at the crisis nursery is truly people who are lacking support,” Program Services Dir at Crittenton Center Kelsey Sepich said, “because a baby up crying all night long or a baby who refuses to drink a bottle is hard.”

Crittenton Center offers a 24/7 crisis clinic for parents. They can drop off their child in a safe, warm place to receive care. The crisis looks different to every family, according to Sepich. It isn’t always intense, dangerous situations. It can be a parent needing a breather from the stress or needing someone to watch their child while they go to a doctor’s appointment.

Postpartum depression is a far more common disorder, characterized by withdrawal, fatigue, and disinterest in everyday life. Christina Rexroat is the Program Manager for the Pregnancy and Postpartum Behavioral Wellness Program, which helps new mothers also dealing with substance abuse.

The two challenges can compound each other and make parenthood even harder. The program offers support from health officials, as well as peer-to-peer connections.

“Moms really benefit from interaction with a health professional but they truly also benefit from interactions with each other,” Rexroat said.

Both women think the current situation is a chance for the public to recognize how hard motherhood can be, especially when substance abuse, mental illness, and other stressors are in place.

They encourage young parents to reach out for help when they need it, and for others to check in on young families and offer help when they can.