Explore the story of one Mom and how her experience demonstrates the role of community service providers in Mothers’ Mental Health. Meet our Mom MoM is a Mothers’ Mental Health Toolkit Project Learning Video with Dr. Joanne MacDonald Reproductive Mental Health Service IWK Health Centre Halifax, NS Meet our Mom MoM As a community service provider to mothers and young families you can create opportunities to promote and support mothers’ mental health. A mother’s positive mental health promotes the development of her child in physical growth and health, a solid self-esteem, confidence and skill in learning, emotional regulation and relationship success throughout life. Meet our Mom MoM • In the series, Meet our Mom MoM, the Mothers’ Mental Health Toolkit Project team will introduce you to case descriptions drawn From the real experiences of our mental health clinicians and our Family Resource Centre partner staff. • These Moms have common presentations and problems that will challenge you to define your possible role and contributions to her well being. The Moms will also provide examples of how you might use some of the Toolkit resources in your work. • Have a copy of your Toolkit out for reference as we begin to Meet our Moms. • You could also print off this presentation and make notes as you go. Meet our Mom Deb • Deb is a 37 yo hairdresser and part-time waitress, parenting an 18 mo old son • Pregnancy was unplanned; occurred in a casual partnership; good relationship now; co-parenting and helping with financial support • Moved across country from the small town she grew up in; a few other friends in hospitality industry; one a parent Meet our Mom Deb • Always wanted to be a mother; concerned about long hours, daycare, his attachment • Quit smoking and drinking alcohol in pregnancy • History of polysubstance use in teens, early 20s, “rough time” • Attends play group on Monday day off • Lately very tense, jittery, less interested, withdrawn, smoking again on breaks Meet our Mom Deb What are 3 possible mental health issues for Deb? 1. 2. 3. Meet our Mom Deb The Toolkit Project Team identified: 1. Deb is older than many single parents. Perhaps she is feeling isolated, no breaks from childcare or work, building up stress. 2. She has a history of substance use; could she be vulnerable to a relapse of some use. 3. Her concerns about attachment may lead to exploration about why that is so important to her. Meet our Mom Deb What would you like to know more about this Mom? 1. 2. 3. Meet our Mom Deb The Toolkit Team wondered about: 1. How does she feel she is coping with solo parenting? • Deb says she loves her son dearly but lately feels guilty about wanting a break from him occasionally, but she doesn’t like to get a babysitter where he is in daycare full-time. She is staying up too late trying to have time for herself and is then tired and irritable, tense during the day. Meet our Mom Deb 2. What were her hopes for his experience growing up? Did she have thoughts from her own childhood? • Deb discloses that she wasn’t close to her family, that she knew a lot of conflict, that her mother did “whatever she could to escape”. She said she would never do that and yet she sometimes feels like running away. Meet our Mom Deb 3.You ask what Deb’s stress releases were in the past? Do they fit with her life as a mother now? • Deb says she used to party with friends after the restaurant closed; have a drink or two with other wait staff; liked to dance. She has begun to drink “just a little wine” and watch her taped TV shows after Jon is in bed. “It should be OK; it’s not like before”. Meet our Mom Deb What could be the role for you or your organization in her mental health as a mother? 1. 2. 3. Meet our Mom Deb Possible roles and contributions: 1. You could approach the whole idea of mothers and stress relief in a group series after play group; no one person’s approaches or problems would be highlighted. Exploring substance use could be a component. 2. You could explore other socializing possibilities in your community for Deb, that don’t involve partying or drinking, that she could participate in with Jon. 3. Deb may benefit from exercises that look at selfconcept and expectations, reducing the ideal of motherhood she tries to live up to. Meet our Mom Deb How might you use the Toolkit resource with Deb? 1. Pages 32 and 33 explore the idea of stress and our responses generally. Stress is a risk factor for mental health and addiction problems Meet our Mom Deb • As part of your group activity you begin a list of how anyone might cope with stress, loss, pressure etc. and emphasize that the list should include response we think of as ‘good’ and those we think may be ‘bad’ or harmful. • What is harmful at one age and stage may change as life changes. • Have the women privately check out substance use screening tools on Pages 39 & 40 of the Toolkit. Meet our Mom Deb • Deb comes to you before the next group and says she thinks she might be a risk of problem drinking again. “But I don’t want to make a big deal out of a few glasses of wine; that’s OK right?” • Your support her open consideration of what is and isn’t working for her well-being at this time of life. • You suggest she track her thoughts, emotions and responses for her own research. • Pages 151 & 152 can be used to track any behavior or symptom of interest to the mom. Meet our Mom Deb • You talk in the group about patterns and how it is typical for us to resist changing patterns. • Pages 44 & 45 look at who we would like to be and what change might be necessary to work towards that self-defined goal. Looking at substance use could be an aspect of that change. Meet our Mom Deb • Key points in working with mothers and possible substance use: 1. We all have patterns and responses when under stress; approach substance use as you would any other behaviour or strategy. 2. Stigma and shame around being a mother with an addiction problem can limit disclosure and consideration of change or intervention. Address those barriers first in your approach. 3. People change most when they seek the change. Explore the mom’s situation and goals before you assume them, or impose your wish for her onto her. Meet our Mom Deb Other Resources: www.coalescing-vc.org – A BC based website that explores policies and approaches; has a specific section on Pregnancy, Mothering and Substance Use; see what you think and check out some of the links http://rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov – A US government website with self-directed questions and strategies; Thinking About a Change is a helpful click point Thank You!