Many Mothers aims to support perinatal families - Albuquerque Journal

Many Mothers aims to support perinatal families

Many Mothers
Teresa Flavia Schum from Many Mothers holding a baby. Many Mothers offers a number of ways to offer assistance to perinatal families. (Courtesy of Many Mothers)

Being a parent is one of the most difficult jobs in the world.

At times, parents need additional help.

This is where Many Mothers helps fill a void.

The Santa Fe-based organization pairs volunteers with moms who need a hand with their infants.

“Each mother’s journey is unique and personal, which means that the issues one mother faces will be different than another mother,” said Kai Forsley, Many Mothers executive director. “The beauty of Many Mothers is that we have staff that can work with mothers, caregivers and families to individually assess the goal of each family during the perinatal stage.”

When the pandemic began to shut down the world, Many Mothers and its volunteers were determined to make sure moms had all the resources needed to navigate the uncertain times.

Forsley said during the pandemic, the organization began responding to a lot of basic needs – such as food.

“Families that were once stable began to feel the unpredictably of not having the things that were once readily available and Many Mothers started drive-through pickups that offered food boxes, diapers, clothing and other supplies,” she continued.

Many Mothers offers a number of ways to offer assistance.

Forsley said many issues that are affecting mothers of all demographic include isolation, stress, and postpartum mental wellness.

The organization’s flagship program – Maternal Support Program – provides in-home support and companionship for new mothers, which offers the emotional and physical support that new mothers need after the sometimes traumatic experience of giving birth.

“In terms of supporting lower income individuals, I believe the government has well-defined safety nets that provide stability and assistance,” Forsley said. “Human Services Department provides a very wide array of assistance to families with children. From low to no cost health care, energy assistance, and food assistance, it’s important that on-the-ground agencies like ours are able to connect families to these resources and there are childcare and rental assistance funds for eligible families as well.”

With the new year on the horizon, Many Mothers is ready for the future.

With their community partner The Birthing Tree, Many Mothers is set to open The Parenting Center in mid-January.

Forsley said the location will be a hub for perinatal families. Parenting classes and maternal mental health resources will be added to the already established programming.

Forsley said it’s the selflessness of the volunteers that helps make Many Mothers successful.

“Our in-home support is really catered to each individual family and can include such things as holding a newborn while the caregiver showers, naps, eats a meal or spends time with an older sibling,” she said.

There are also in-home support volunteers ready to help.

Forsley said in-home support volunteers can also play with an older sibling while the caregiver bonds with the newborn.

“The volunteers can also help with light tasks like helping to fold baby clothes or preparing a meal while the mother rests as ultimately, our goal is to reduce stress in the home, so that could also look like providing company for mother by sharing a cup of tea or conversation,” she said.

Many Mothers also has services to accompany the mother/caregiver to a doctor’s appointment or other errands.

“After our staff assesses a family’s situation, volunteers may also deliver much needed things such as food, baby and/or maternal clothing, safe sleep cribs, and/or baby equipment such as highchairs,” she said.

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