Support Group Model

MotherWoman Group Model:  Key Components

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Destigmitization– Normalizing the perinatal emotional experience lifts stigma, making women more willing and able to access resources.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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 programMother 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.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, transgender, 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.
  • 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.


Uniqueness of the MotherWoman Model

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.