Dear Black Mamas,
Welcome, we are here for you. Whether you are new to us or have been apart of our community, we wanted to remind you that we are in this together.
Led by our licensed clinical social worker, Alicia Beatrice, LCSW-S, LCDC; from one Black Mama to another, we provide holistic services to support you before, during and after your birthing experience up until 1 year postpartum.
Here’s what our Mamas have had to say after working with her:
“After our session I feel good, to put things in perspective that I was writing down. I have clarity.”
“I feel relieved and good to get things off my chest. Talking to you makes it easier that I can say whatever I need to say, feel trusted and get it out of my headspace. I do not feel pressure in my chest, I am not sweating. I do not want to get pre-eclampsia.”
About our Social Support & Group Therapy
Here is more information about our new social support and wellness programs:
- Free, confidential therapy for: trauma, anxiety, depression, grief/loss, parenting & relationships, family dynamics, intimate partner violence, and spirituality
- Specialized support groups & group therapy for pregnant and postpartum Mamas
- Soothe Your Nerves Anxiety Support Groups
- Wellness groups: Mindfulness practices such as yoga, & nature walks
- Case consultation and connection to community resources and basic needs to reduce barriers to access and care
After an uncertain year of the pandemic and a natural disaster, we celebrated our first Black Mamas Meetup that was held on Juneteenth Day. It was a monumental occasion to celebrate with our Mamas since Juneteenth, the independence of Black Americans in Texas after the emancipation from slavery in the United States, was declared a national holiday. What a groundbreaking event it was to meet our Mamas in person, enjoy some food and connect with other Black Mamas. Mueller Park was the perfect place for our Mamas to enjoy the refreshing view of the lake with their families while their children relieved their energy at the playground. Indeed, we strive to support the the liberation of our Mamas from health disparities that impact their quality of life.
Social support is a critical component of healthy parenting and self care for our Mamas. To alleviate the loneliness and isolation of the pandemic and other transitions our community has faced, we provide wraparound or holistic services. According to Maternal Health Equity Report: A Lived Experience Data Black Paper, the lived-experience of BIPOC mothers is critical to understanding the reason behind continued maternal health disparities. Moms reported increased anxiety and isolation among respondents due to COVID -19. (2020. Paulette Blanc, MPH | Ryan Jones | Meme Styles, MPA | Chanin Tolson Woods, PhD | Miranda Wylie | Mikhaila Moynihan | & The Maternal Health Equity Collaborative.) Working collaboratively with our sister doulas, we have seen an increase in Mamas reporting anxiety and stress prenatal and postpartum. Our anxiety support sessions have helped to give a specific name and specific exercises to the problems and experiences that Black Women are having, addressing cultural stigmas around mental health. According to our social worker, clients have reported that they felt more comfortable working with a Black therapist due to previous negative experiences and mistrust with White providers. This is the first time most of our clients have been in therapy and continued past the first session. In addition to providing on-going therapy, our social worker has connected individual clients to various community resources including childcare, employment, basic needs, and insurance.
“Do you or someone you love suffer from bad nerves? Denise is constantly on edge. She’s convinced something bad is going to happen. Ruth will drive an hour out of her way to avoid driving over a bridge. When she has to do it, her chest thumps, her heart starts racing, and she breaks out in a sweat. She’s beginning to think she shouldn’t leave her house. Bernice hasn’t slept in two months for fear that the witch is going to ride her again. What do these women have in common? They are struggling with crippling anxiety disorders.
Thousands of Black women suffer from anxiety. What’s worse is that many of us have been raised to believe we are Strong Black Women and that seeking help shows weakness. So we often turn to dangerous quick fixes that only exacerbate the problem — like overeating and drug and alcohol abuse — or we deny that we have problems at all.
In Soothe Your Nerves, Dr. Angela Neal-Barnett, a Black psychologist explains which factors can contribute to anxiety, panic, and fear in Black women and offers a range of healing methods that will help you or a loved one reclaim your life. finally is a blueprint for understanding and overcoming anxiety from a psychological, spiritual, and Black perspective.” An excerpt from Soothe Your Nerves: The Black Woman’s Guide to Understanding and Overcoming Anxiety, Panic, and Fears
To date in our work supporting Black Mamas we recently completed our 4th cohort of the Soothe Your Nerves anxiety support group. Our two graduate MSW interns, Dominique McGaha and Ann Gilbert, were instrumental in facilitating these groups and provided supportive counseling to follow up after our Mamas completed the group.
About our graduate social work interns
Dominique McGaha was one of our recent graduate clinical social work interns for Black Mamas. She graduated with her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology in 2017 from University of Texas Austin. Dominique worked in Houston for 3 years as a behavioral therapist with children diagnosed with autism before returning to Austin to gain her Master’s in Social Work. She was honored to be interning at Black Mamas to increase her knowledge of the health disparities and need for comprehensive maternal care among Black women. Dominique enjoys baking, dancing, and spoiling her niece!
Ann Gilbert grew up in Austin but earned her Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) from Louisiana State University last spring 2020. She’s happy to be back in Austin and will graduate with her Master of Social Work from University of Texas Austin in August 2021. She has research experience in maternal health and volunteers with Giving Austin Labor Support while she is working towards becoming a doula.
We are grateful to have such creative interns who have been a vital part of our team and we plan to continue onboarding interns to support our Mamas health and wellbeing.