Program for Struggling New Moms Celebrates First Birthday

Updated: 05/12/2014 5:49 AM
Created: 05/09/2014 9:33 PM
By: Naomi Pescovitz

While Mother's Day is a reason to celebrate, it can also serve as a reminder that being a mom is tough.

About 13 percent of pregnant women and new mothers face anxiety or depression. The symptoms can also impact new fathers and spouses.

This Mother's Day, a program helping Minnesota women suffering from postpartum depression is celebrating its first birthday. About 70 moms have completed the Mother-Baby Program at Hennepin County Medical Center since it opened last year.

It is the first of its kind in the state and only the fourth in the country.

Becky Bormann finished the program last summer. Before she enrolled, she felt disconnected.

"There was just this overwhelming sense of I can't do this, it's taken over who I am, I had lost Becky," said Bormann, a mother of two from St. Louis Park.

Bormann had suffered from depression before and while she was pregnant with her second daughter, her first daughter was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy. A few weeks after her second child was born, Bormann became irritable and unmotivated.

"I was home with the girls by myself during the day, and there was one day, where I just couldn't physically get up, and they both needed me," Bormann said.

A few months later she started a three-week session at the Mother-Baby Program. The intensive, outpatient therapy program lasts five hours each day.

"I brought her with me, every day, and we bonded," Bormann said.

Dr. Helen Kim is the Medical Director at the Mother-Baby Program. She says they use a "circle of security" to bring women together and babies back to their moms.

"If a mother is depressed or anxious, it is very hard to be that secure base because you, yourself are struggling," Kim said.

Kim says they are now hoping to help even more under-served communities like minorities and lower-income families. They also hope to help more new fathers and spouses.

"Perinatal depression and anxiety crosses all socioeconomic lines and also all ethnic groups," Kim said.

As Mother's Day arrives, Bormann feels that this year is different.

"This Mother's Day, is going to be the most special yet for me...This is a beautiful Mother's Day for me because I genuinely, truly feel happy and whole," Bormann said.

The Mother-Baby Program's HopeLine received about 500 calls in the first year.

Pregnant women and families looking for help with anxiety and depression can call 612-873-HOPE (4673).

For more information about the program, click here.

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