The purpose of the initiative is to offer support to new mothers and help them adapt to motherhood within the first 1000 days after given birth.
The challenges facing new moms are immense and the task involving birthing a new born can be taxing even for the most experienced mothers. The importance of having a strong support structure and reduced stress is imperative for both new mom and baby. Mother’s Day Connect is designed to address some of these issues. The rollout of the programme happens annually on Mother’s Day, but continues throughout the year.
In commemoration of Mother’s Day celebration which took place on Sunday, 12 May the Embrace team visited numerous birthing facilities across the country with the aim of interacting with new moms and their babies. The hour-long visits gave new moms the opportunity to offload anxieties experienced with becoming a new mom. The Embrace team provided coaching and advice on topics such as postpartum depression, the long strenuous hours involved in rearing a newborn, insomnia and lack personal alone time due to new mommy demands. Mothers often experience feelings of disappointment for unintentionally neglecting their partners by focusing their energies on the new baby.
These unmet expectations lead to strained relations with their partners. Conversations about these challenges proved very helpful for new moms. Through this organized connection Mother’s Day Connect was able to offer guidance which assisted new moms circumvent some of these unwanted challenges and distressful emotions.
The first Mother’s Day Connect was launched in 2016 in Cape Town. The programme’s reach has since grown from the time of inception to 50 birthing facilities, covering 17 cities across 8 of South Africa’s provinces. In 2019, Embrace increased its efforts and reached 4500 new moms and newborns as well as an appreciation of 2000 nurses. Embrace secured 900 volunteers committed to the Mother Day’s Connect cause.
Julie Mentor, Movement Leader at Embrace says, “Women of all types were invited to volunteer their time to support new moms on their new journey on Mother’s Day. Participation was at no cost but was restricted to female volunteers, because of the vulnerable nature of new moms and the delicacy of newborns.” Volunteers met moms at all stages of child birth; labour, post-labour or some even in delivery! There were unfortunate instances were moms who suffered the loss of a new baby were given support and assisted to process their grief.
The concept of Mother’s Day Connect does not have to be limited to Mother’s Day only but can be used throughout the year. Those still interested in volunteering for the Mother’s Day Connect visits, can join the movement at https://www.embrace.org.za/mothers-day-connect/ where they will find resource material that will help them on their journey.