Aspire Counseling, Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies, Gaithersburg, MD
Full disclosure: This project, which was near and dear to my heart, unfortunately, didn't materialize quite the way I hoped it would. That said, it is a program and organization that I wish to promote and share. Allow me to explain ...
Holding a baby always transports me to a simple, quiet, and meaningful place. Is there much better? Maybe only if you are giving deserved respite care to a new mom! This is what I hoped to have done with Aspire Counseling, a mental health nonprofit that has served local residents for over 20 years. Among other community-based programs and traditional counseling, Aspire hosts a Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Program. This program provides no-cost in-home therapy for low-income uninsured and Medicaid eligible women who suffer from prenatal and postpartum depression. Families are connected to community services that augment therapy and help families meet basic needs. Can you see why I wanted this project to work for me? ...
Aspire's staff was very appreciative of my interest and eager to get me involved - it was just a matter of timing, conflicts, and privacy issues, that caused my future project to be in a holding pattern. I got it - after all, this wasn't supposed to be about ME; it was about the needs of those adorable babies and their mothers! Aspire later contacted me saying that they had a new mother who might be interested in having me come visit and/or help. Like any good mom, she wanted to meet me first. Mom was nearing the end of her maternity leave and had two adorable baby boys who had been born prematurely. She had been hospitalized for weeks prior to their birth and spent many more weeks there following the birth of her twins. The twins were doing well at home but required lots of care, doctors appointments, and attention.
Because I didn't know if our relationship would be on-going, I wanted to arrive with some new mom and baby gift. Mom was appreciative and very welcoming. A complete stranger to her, she welcomed me into her home, shared her story, and best yet, let me hold one of the babies! She was very capable, just a little exhausted as we can all imagine.
Though we seemed to hit it off, she seemed unsure of how to use me and I can completely understand. I left with an open-offer to help in the weeks before returning to work and, though we texted back and forth once, nothing more came of it. Maybe it was harder to prepare me to help than it was to do it herself. Perhaps she or her husband decided they didn't want a stranger in the house. I may never know why but it doesn't matter. This was about mom and her new babies, so anything (or nothing in this instance) was fine with me. I'm grateful for the invitation to her home and so glad that Aspire Counseling provides in-home services to moms in need. Without healthy and happy moms, you can't have healthy and happy babies!
My Takeaway: A good idea can still be a good idea, even if it doesn't pan out the way you planned. While this mother may not have known how to use me (or want to use me) another one might! As the program's name states, Healthy Mothers = Healthy Babies and that is what we all want!! I'll try again!