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beyond blue

crisis nursery's perinatal depression program

Perinatal depression affects one in every ten mothers. It can affect any woman, regardless of race, age, or income level. Oftentimes, there are certain risk factors at play, including:

• history of depression
• lack of social support
• instability in personal relationships
• financial concerns
• challenging life events happening near the time of the pregnancy or birth.

Perinatal depression is often confused with the baby blues because many of the symptoms are the same. However, symptoms of perinatal depression are felt more strongly and last longer than that of the roughly two week period of the baby blues.  Some signs of perinatal depression are:
• persistent feelings of sadness
• irritability and anxiety
• uncontrollable crying
• fear of being an incompetent mother
• feelings of loneliness
• thoughts of harming the baby
• thoughts of death or suicide.

It is very important that if you are experiencing several of these feelings that you speak with someone about the warning signs. Reaching out for help can be a frightening and challenging thing to do, but Crisis Nursery will lend a hand without judgment to assist you through this difficult time.  

Crisis Nursery is here to offer help for mothers at risk for perinatal depression throughout Champaign County in the form of our Beyond Blue Program funded by the Champaign County Mental Health (708) Board and community donations.  We provide support to these mothers and their families in the form of support groups, parent/child interaction groups, crisis care, referrals to other resources, respite hours and home visits. For details about these different services, click here.

Crisis Nursery's staff is here to help you experience the joys of motherhood by helping you find effective ways to manage your stress and care for your baby. Please call 217-337-2730 for more information about our Beyond Blue program.

Beyond Blue Program Update

Fiscal Year 2016 Third Quarter Update

This past Monday, I was frantically attempting to re-caffeinate myself before heading off to my evening support group, when I drove through a local coffee shop. When I reached the window I saw a familiar face beaming at me, a mother who had previously attended one of the Nursery’s support groups. She declined to take payment for my coffee, saying it was on her. Given the nature of our chance meeting, we didn’t have long to catch up, however her huge smile and the fact that I had run into her at a job she started several months ago told me she was doing pretty well.  I drove away with tears in my eyes, remembering when I met this young mother nearly two years ago. She was pregnant and scared. She had no job, was not in college, and was living with her grandparents. Her boyfriend was abusive and we spent several visits discussing their relationship before she was brave enough to cut ties with him for the safety of herself and her baby. From there, she seemed to flourish. Her pregnancy was healthy and she gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. She enrolled in school and began working at the very place I attempted to buy my coffee last Monday night. I don’t always have the luxury of knowing how my clients manage when I no longer see them, but when I do, I feel enormously blessed. More than the caffeine from my free coffee, my interaction with my client energized me.

Fiscal Year 2016 Second Quarter Update

Although most support groups at the Nursery tend to be well-attended, sometimes it is the smaller groups where stronger bonds are formed and the most meaningful support takes place. It never fails to amaze me how pregnancy and motherhood prove to be a common ground for women, regardless of ethnicity, religious beliefs, or socio-economic status. The women in these groups can always relate to the pains, challenges, and joys of having children. A couple of weeks ago I had a small group of only three mothers who, for several reasons, likely only met each other because of receiving support from the Nursery. Towards the end of our meeting I stepped out to get some reading material for the moms and returned to the sweetest sight. One mother was holding the baby of another, and the mother whose baby was being held was massaging the lower back of the third mother, who was only a few days from her due date and was in a lot of pain. Over the last several months these women have interacted at support groups, Parent-Child Interaction groups, and open-house events at the Nursery. These women have supported each other through painful life situations such as job loss, death of a parent, and domestic violence. They have also shared in one another’s joys; celebrating the birth of babies, job changes, and new homes. These groups are truly a place where women find special connections when they need them most. 

Fiscal Year 2016 First Quarter Update

Crisis Nursery’s Beyond Blue support groups fill a need in the lives of mothers in a way that few other things or people can do. The meetings bring together a group of mothers from all walks of life who are in need of non-judgmental support. Sometimes, it is easier to share personal issues with near strangers than with those who are a part of one’s daily life. That is certainly the case for the woman of this group. 

Last Monday night got off to a slow start. The mothers trickled in one by one. We started the group session with an art therapy project, and the mothers worked on it quietly until the last mother arrived. During our opening introductions, this mother shared that the reason she came to group that night was that she had to leave the house – she and her partner had just had a fight, and he was currently packing his things to leave their home. While the mother had other supports nearby, she felt the most comfortable sharing and processing this event with her fellow moms in the Beyond Blue Support Group. She knew that the support she’d find at group would be what she needed. 

What this mother shared prompted the other mothers to admit that there were many aspects of their lives that they ONLY share during our group sessions. Personal feelings about partners, traumatic events during childhood, and mental and physical diagnosis they have received are just a few examples of what these women trust one another with. Together, they support each other’s burdens – and find them lighter as  result.

- Ann Ambrose, Beyond Blue Family Specialist