When Sara Binkley-Tow had her first child ten years ago, her initial intent was to be a working mother.
“My husband and I tried to make it work, with us both working,” recalls Sara. “He even worked from home part of the time. But it just didn’t work for us, so I left an established career to stay at home. And I was horrible at it.”
As a first-time mother, Sara was overwhelmed not only with caring for a newborn infant, but also with the adjustment of leaving the corporate world.
“Because my career was rather high-paced, I found myself trying to fill every moment,” says Sara. “Babies are wonderful, but they don’t do much. I was in a quiet house, unless the baby was crying, and I felt isolated. I was bored, and soon it was easier to just stay at home all the time and do nothing.”
Sara was unaware that she was experiencing post-partum depression. Fortunately, a close friend encouraged Sara to join a mother’s group. In her mother’s group, Sara found acceptance, common ground, and an all-important social outlet.
Sara eventually recovered from her post-partum depression, but the thought of other mothers in her situation never left her mind. Statistics show that one out of seven mothers (and one out of ten fathers) experience post-partum depression. And not everyone recovers quickly.
In 2008, Sara founded MomsBloom, a non-profit designed to offer support to new mothers suffering from post-partum depression. MomsBloom volunteers (who go through extensive training and a background check) are dispatched to families who have requested help. The help comes in many forms—tending to an infant while a new mother takes a shower, reading books to toddlers, helping get dinner on the table, etc.
“In our first year, we helped thirty-five families,” says Sara. “We helped 200 families last year and in 2012, my goal is to offer support to 250 families.”
Anyone can volunteer for MomsBloom—college students, grandmothers-in-waiting, etc. According to Sara, the volunteers help recreate the family dynamic of yesteryear.
“Not too long ago, women and families with new babies had a lot more support. Extended families lived closer, and not everyone was expected to work. Today, the expectation remains that women don’t ask for outside help, but our lives have changed so much. We are a transient society now, and we can do it all by ourselves. ”
If you are a mother or family in need of help, contact MomsBloom.
Written by: Julie Anne has an impressive vocabulary and an extraordinary sense of humor. She has even entertained the idea of doing stand up comedy someday! When she's not writing, you'll probably find Julie Anne at the Farmer's Market or home with her nose in a book.