Could Motherhood Centers Be the Best Way to Fight Postpartum Depression?

The brand-new Motherhood Center in New York is making serious strides to address maternal mental health issues. Maybe this model will help treat more moms dealing with postpartum depression.

Maternal mental health issues don't get the attention they need—and while stars like Hayden Panettiere, Chrissy Teigen and Drew Barrymore have done amazing work to put these issues on the cultural radar, we still desperately need more help for new moms on an institutional level.

The good news is that change is coming, and it’s thanks to places like The Motherhood Center in New York. The center works to make life easier for new moms, particularly those who are struggling with postpartum depression, anxiety and other mood disorders.

The Motherhood Center was founded by Paige Bellenbaum, the center's program director; and Catherine Birndorf, MD, a reproductive psychiatrist.

“There is such a gaping need to recognize that postpartum depression and anxiety is a very real issue that affects many new moms and pregnant moms," Bellenbaum told Fit Pregnancy. "The reason we know there’s a real need is because our phone has literally been ringing off the hook since we opened.”

The type of treatment a mother will receive is based on the acuity of her symptoms. There’s an on-site nursery on the premises where mothers can leave their children while attending classes or counseling sessions. The center also enlists yoga instructors, meditation experts, art therapists and more, and there’s a huge emphasis on community building among the mothers. The focus is on individual attention and treatment so that every mother may overcome her mental health concerns.

“We’re almost like a community center that’s able to meet the needs of new moms and dads across the spectrum of being well all the way to being very sick and needing more clinical intervention," Bellenbaum said. “We are new at this, but all the feedback we’ve gotten from the mothers is incredibly positive. Sometimes women who are suffering need a lot of help, but sometimes it’s as simple as having another mom sitting in front of you in tears saying, ‘Guess what? You’re not alone.’”