This new initiative supports the reproductive wellness needs of parents, particularly Black and Brown women, who have recently given birth or are expecting to give birth soon.
BOSTON – Monday, March 13, 2023 – Mayor Michelle Wu and the Mayor’s Office of Women’s Advancement (MOWA) today announced the launch of a Postpartum Education and Support Group pilot in partnership with Love Your Menses. The pilot will support and educate Boston residents, particularly Black and Brown women, who have recently given birth or are expecting to give birth soon, and create a safe space for people experiencing pregnancy and postpartum. This 10-week, free, virtual program will have an initial cohort of 32 participants.
“Ensuring that we are supporting all of our City’s parents during their postpartum period is critical in our work to make Boston a city for everyone,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “I’m grateful to MOWA and Love Your Menses for this free program that will connect and support people experiencing pregnancy and postpartum across our neighborhoods.”
“As Chair of the Strong Women, Families, and Communities Committee in Boston City Council, I am pleased to see the City embark on a grassroots partnership project focused on pregnancy and postpartum,” said Councilor Liz Breadon. “My mother and two aunts were midwives in rural Northern Ireland who guided and supported families in childbirth and postpartum care. I look forward to learning about the results of this pilot project aimed at building capacity for persistent dialogue and education about the stressors of childbirth.”
The program consists of weekly virtual sessions including but not limited to peer-mentorship, consultations with OB/GYN providers, guest speakers, and a postpartum care box. Sessions will begin on Wednesday, April 5th, 2023 through June 5th, 2023. A virtual informational session for interested residents will be held on Wednesday, March 15th, 2023 at 6pm.
“As a woman of color, Latina and first time mom, I understand the first hand struggle women face during childbirth,” said Alexandra Valdez, Executive Director of Mayor’s Office of Women’s Advancement. “MOWA is committed to making resources accessible to all women in the city of Boston, especially those in communities that are underrepresented.”
The pilot’s sessions will be organized and facilitated by Love Your Menses, Inc, which was founded in 2019 in response to the growing wellness need present across Boston, especially communities of color. Their vision is to provide support by using community dialogue, evidence-based health education, featuring guest expert speakers, and postpartum care package distribution.
“We are excited for the collaboration to bring this important resource to our community,” said Asriel Walker, Executive Director at Love Your Menses, Inc. “We hope to continue to work with MOWA to put all parents FIRST during their postpartum period.”
The postpartum recovery period is the time where a person recovers from the crucial changes that occurred to their body during the antenatal period to the delivery period. New mothers of color are at higher risk of having postpartum depression yet are less likely to receive treatment. Research shows that social support has been proven effective in helping individuals cope with psychological and physical stressors in the postpartum period.
“Black and Latinx mothers experience poorer birthing and pregnancy-related outcomes than their white counterparts in part because of lack of access to high quality care and resources,” said Dr. Bisola Ojikutu, Commissioner of Public Health and Executive Director of the Boston Public Health Commission. “BPHC is grateful for MOWA’s partnership in addressing these disparities. The pilot initiative with Love Your Menses will be an opportunity to break down barriers and reduce health inequities, better supporting Boston’s Black and Brown families.”
The Equity and Inclusion Cabinet and the Mayor’s Office of Women’s Advancement are focused on empowering women and removing systemic barriers to their advancement. The City defines equity as ensuring every community has the resources it needs to thrive in Boston.
“Postpartum care is essential for the overall health and wellness of those who give birth and the child they bring into this world,” said Mariangely Solis Cervera, Chief of Equity and Inclusion. “This is an opportunity to provide a space for new parents to receive guidance from clinicians while building community with others who share the same lived experience.”
The registration form is available in 11 languages. Registration will close on Wednesday, March 29th, 2023. Interpretation and translation accommodation services during the program will be available upon request. To learn more information about this newly launched program, please visit boston.gov/women.
The Healthy Start Systems Division at Boston Public Health Commission also includes programs for pregnant and parenting families, including free, voluntary, and confidential home visiting to pregnant and parenting families with children under age five who reside in Boston. Through the Healthy Baby Healthy Child and Boston Healthy Start Initiative programs, BPHC promotes the health and well-being of women, children, and families in the City of Boston, particularly those living in communities that are disproportionately impacted by infant mortality and other health disparities. To learn more about BPHC’s programs, please visit boston.gov/bphc-newbornhealth.