Guest post by Marsha, a mother of three and recipient of services through Healthy Start, an organization that helps mothers and children get quality health and parenting services.
Babies don’t come with instruction manuals. When I had my first child I didn’t have any idea how to care for a child. After he was born I spent weeks crying, unable to leave my house. I didn’t think to ask for emotional support from anyone, or even know it was available.
When my second child was born, I had thoughts of suicide and thought I was going crazy. This time I got medical help, but knew I needed emotional help too. I still didn’t know where to turn. I did not want my family to know that I was dealing with these issues because I did not want them to view me as being weak.
In 2011, when I was expecting my third son, I was scared about what would happen after his birth, having had post-partum depression with both previous babies. A social worker came to my room after the birth and told me about Healthy Start. I didn’t think I would qualify because I had a good job, but I applied anyway.
My qualification depended on many things, including my previous post-partum depression and the fact that I have older children. The Healthy Start worker came to my home every week to check on me and the baby. They taught me new parenting tips. One tip that was most helpful was knowing if I get frustrated when the baby cries, it is ok to put him down and walk out of the room for a few minutes. They gave me info about home safety, a fire alarm, cabinet locks, diapers, safety gates, formula and breastfeeding help.
Healthy Start is concerned about the family, not your economic status. Your qualification depends on what is going on in your family, what your situation is. I am a proud advocate for Healthy Start. It is a proactive way to make sure your family is safe and healthy.
If you are interested in getting help from Healthy Start, visit www.healthystartflorida.com or call 727 507-6330 to find a location near you.