New program supports postpartum moms, offers safe space
December 23, 2022
Thanks to funding through a Delaware Fund for Women grant, Food Bank of Delaware’s Nutrition Educators Alisha Beckford and Chong Yi launched a pilot program in October providing nutritional support and a safe space for WIC recipients dealing with postpartum challenges.
Although the program is for WIC eligible families, not everyone attending is on WIC currently but may be eligible to enroll. Beckford and Yi meet once a week with mothers enrolled in the WIC program – actually about 50 percent of woman nationally. WIC – a federal USDA program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides grants to states for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age 5 who are found to be at nutritional risk.
The Food Bank’s new program, After Delivery: Let’s Talk, is conducted on Zoom so that it’s open to participants statewide. Sessions in the month typically include: two guest speakers to share community resources/services, a licensed therapist to facilitate a group discussion and a cooking demonstration that offers a WIC-available food to support healthy post-partum recovery.
“Being well-fed and well-nourished effects mood,” Beckford said, adding “We are nutrition educators, not therapists. We share information, and we provide space and resources.”
Key to each meeting is time for new mothers – those with children under age 1 – to talk and share what’s going well, concerns, and tips. “This is another resource. The main function it a space to talk. t’s an open discussion, and opportunity to talk freely with one another,” noted Yi.
The group officially launched in October after Beckford and Yi completed specialized training specifically around social support for perinatal mental health. They hope to recruit more participants, actively encouraging those who expressed interest to join the discussion.