First-time motherhood is a scary-exciting time. I remember being both happy but anxious. I was a newlywed. I was a new immigrant. I was a first-time mother. I did not have a support group where I lived. All my family lived across the world. I had no mother or even a mother-in-law (both of them have passed) to talk to about the changes my body was going through. Thankfully there were a few friends who talked to me about their own experiences. There were a few websites that helped and books that sometimes made me even more anxious. (Facebook had not been invented yet.)
Through pregnancy and when the baby was born, I found myself relying heavily on my own “intuition” or mother’s. Turns out, this was a good thing. Research shows that mothers should trust their instincts when assessing developmental issues surrounding their child’s health. Reports have shown that parental concerns are valid predictions of school-related learning or behavior problems. Still, it is always good to get the support of professionals when it comes to taking care of the physical, emotional, financial health of moms and their babies.
Enter MOMS Orange County, an organization that helps those mothers most in need here in Orange County, CA. They have served the community for the past 23 years and helps at-risk mothers and their families have healthy babies by providing access to prenatal care, health screenings, infant development screenings, health education and referral services through monthly home visits and group classes. How awesome is that?
Last week, I had the opportunity to tour the MOMS Orange County facility. I found out that through MOMS Orange County, mothers receive one-to-one education and support during pregnancy to help increase their chances of delivering healthy babies. After babies are born, the focus turns to promoting their healthy growth and development so they grow up happy, healthy and ready to learn.
I met the CEO of MOMS OC, Pamela Pimentel and key members of MOMS Orange County, who talked about leading issues affecting new mothers, especially those in need and at risk here in Orange County, CA. I witnessed one of the classes – and there were a few parents with their babies learning to “play” with them. The babies were adorable, as you can see in this photo below:
All in all, visiting MOMS Orange County was an eye-opening experience. Not only did it make me aware of the pressing needs of many mothers here in the county, but also of the importance of prenatal care and early screening (for infants).