MotherWoman Support Group Model Facilitator Training
MotherWoman offers a bold support group model that challenges the dominant diagnostic paradigm that defines and limits care for perinatal mothers. Our model understands that the perinatal emotional experience is as much a socio-political, community issue as it is a medical issue. As part of a comprehensive community response, this group model supports perinatal stability, and protects against perinatal crises.
Participants in MotherWoman’s two-day training learn to implement our innovative group model designed specifically for diverse mothers at risk for and experiencing perinatal emotional difficulties.
MotherWoman Group Model: Key Components
- Perinatal Emotional Spectrum– This non-diagnostic understanding of the perinatal emotional experience recognizes the broad range of emotional responses during the perinatal period and the complex physiological and socio-political contexts within which they occur.
- Non-Diagnostic Language– By framing the issue in a non-diagnostic context, a wider range of solutions becomes possible, from medical intervention to public policy change.
- Destigmitization– Normalizing the perinatal emotional experience lifts stigma, making women more willing and able to access resources.
- Myth of the Good Mother– Unrealistic mothering expectations and anti-feminist ideology of self-sacrifice must be challenged. A strength-based approach, emphasizing the need for self-care and advocacy enhances personal and collective empowerment.
- Socio-Political Context– Poverty, oppression, and lack of community and public policy support increases the risk of perinatal crisis. Understanding this, mothers are less likely to internalize their struggles as personal deficits.
- Feminist Model– We recognize oppression, make the political personal, and empower and develop leadership among mothers.
Key Learning Objectives:
- Participants will learn how to create a group environment in which the socio-political realities of mothering are made personal and accessible to a diversity of mothers.
- Participants will gain skill in implementing a non-diagnostic paradigm and understand its implications for therapeutic group care.
- Participants may continue training by completing in the MotherWoman Facilitator certification program
Uniqueness of the MotherWoman Model
Mother Woman is unique in that we have deliberately designed a feminist support group model for women in the perinatal period that is replicable, accessible to diverse populations and is consistently effective in providing perinatal stability. In addition, MotherWoman offers a Group Facilitator Training in which professionals and community leaders are trained in this bold new model.
The MotherWoman Support Group Model is unique in that it provides psycho-social education about the context within which mothering takes place and its impact on individual mood and functioning, while at the same time creating an environment of personal empowerment, and enhancing a mother’s capacity to advocate for herself.
While we respect and support medical intervention as one mode of treatment for perinatal emotional difficulties, we use a non-diagnostic approach in our groups.
The MotherWoman Support Group Model is replicable and has been successful with a diversity of postpartum mothers in a variety of settings ie; mothers in drug rehabilitation, mothers in prison, Somali women refugees, indigenous mothers in rural Guatemala, women of color, and mixed MotherWoman groups, serving middle class and poor, heterosexual, lesbian and queer, married and single, racially and religiously diverse, inner city, suburban and rural mothers. MotherWoman’s commitment to diversity and inclusion allows for diverse mothers to find common ground, inspiration and community with each other.
Using a non-diagnostic approach to understand the perinatal emotional spectrum invites entire communities to take ownership and responsibility for families in the vulnerable perinatal period and redefines the problem of perinatal emotional difficulties.
When a community approaches all women and families in the perinatal period as deserving of more resources, regardless of diagnosis, then; 1) the stigma at this sensitive time is lifted, allowing more mothers to seek help both proactively and in crisis; 2) the entire community, from hospitals to food banks, sees itself as a valuable and appropriate resource in enhancing perinatal emotional stability and; 3) communities can take greater responsibility for providing multi-tiered solutions to this problem.