What drew you to the field you’re in?
As as young child I knew I wanted to help people when I grew up and decided to become a licensed clinical social worker to fulfill this passion. I chose social work because of its core values of service, social justice, dignity and worth of the person, importance of human relationships, integrity and competence. After my own miscarriage and births of my own children it became my mission to provide evidence-based care to families experiencing transitions into parenthood, miscarriage, loss/grief/bereavement, traumatic births, perinatal mood disorders and maternal mental health.
What part of your daily work inspires you the most?
What inspires me is the insurmountable amount of resiliency people have and their capacity for growth and change despite their circumstances. I am honored to work with women who have been impacted by their birth and help them heal through love for themselves, their babies and their birth experience. Being able to help people make changes in their lives and improve their quality of life is very rewarding.
How can RVA keep moving forward as great place for childbearing families?
Collaboration of services is the key to providing RVA families with the space to explore and feel confident about the resources available to them during their childbearing years and beyond. RVA has a huge community that is filled with knowledgeable and competent professionals for childbearing families.
If you could share one piece of wisdom with childbearing families or professionals who serve them, what would it be?
My pearl of wisdom would be to engage the families they are working with. They need to really listen to the them, build rapport, be present, assess for basic needs, follow their lead, tap into their support systems, engage the entire family, provide resources throughout the process, screen for pre- and postpartum mood disorders and follow through. Raising families is a lifelong journey and often providers are a big part of it. Professionals also need to be able to ask the hard questions and be present in a loving and compassionate way.
Tell us about one of your favorite accomplishments.
Starting my own practice was a big accomplishment for me but the journey, trainings and community to get here has been amazing and supportive. I have spent the last year getting the certificate of completion in maternal mental health and perinatal mood disorders through Postpartum Support International and the compassionate bereavement care certification through the MISS Foundation to further my skill set. I currently offer a transition into motherhood group and a healing from birth group. My goal is to offer a free miscarriage group in the near future through the MISS Foundation. There is a lot of grief in the community in regards to loss at any gestational age, birth and a mother’s sense of self along this journey of motherhood. Grief affects the entire family and my hope is to allow families to grieve in a safe and loving environment.
In an effort to educate the community on postpartum mood disorders I am hosting a documentary, Dark Side of the Full Moon on October 4 at the Byrd Theatre. Admission is free, and we are collecting donations for the local MISS Foundation. I am looking forward to moving into new space in 2016 with some new partnerships and new offerings . . . so stay tuned!!