Beyond Delivery is a supportive weekly gathering is for parents, children of all ages (siblings welcome), and those who are pregnant (come get ready for baby with us)! Conversations revolve around breastfeeding, new family dynamics, postpartum depression, nutrition, and any other topic related to becoming a new parent.
Meetings are drop in and take place every Tuesday from 10-11am, both in person (weather permitting) at CHP’s Barrington OB/GYN, Doctor’s Building, 27 Lewis Avenue, Ground Floor, Great Barrington, MA 01230, or via Zoom. Find the Zoom link here.
CHP patients who attend are eligible for medical consultations as part of this group wellness program.
Led by Jennifer Rubino, DNP, FNP-BC, Family Nurse Practitioner at CHP Barrington OB/GYN, and Ilana Siegal of Lifeworks Studio, the group meets at CHP Great Barrington Health Center, 444 Stockbridge Road, Great Barrington during the fall, winter and spring. During the summer, the group meets at 27 Lewis Ave., Great Barrington, at the Fairview Hospital campus. Beyond Delivery offers an online option as well for those requiring to connect virtually.
We caught up with Family Nurse Practitioner, Laura Gariepy, who graciously gave Berkshires Macaroni Kid an inside look at what Beyond Delivery is all about.
BMK: What was the inspiration to start a postpartum wellness group?
The group was started by Molly Rivest, DNP who worked as a women’s health NP at Berkshire OB/GYN. It was inspired by her experiences as a mama of 3 and in working with mamas and those that identify as mamas, realizing there was a huge lack of postpartum support within the medical model & the community. Molly envisioned a space where medical questions could be asked/followed up on, but one in which mamas could share their experiences & support one another.
What kind of services do you offer to new parents who join Beyond Delivery?
We offer Mama to mama support in a judgement free space, normalizing the messy parts and the joyful parts and everything in between, as well as the opportunity for medical evaluation/treatment for mama & baby for postpartum/infant health questions/concerns.
How do you ensure that all members feel included and supported?
We open each session with our guiding principles, including an emphasis on this being a judgement free zone, mama sanity at all cost, come as you are, there is no such thing as arriving late or leaving early, crying babies & mamas are welcome, advice is by request only, this is a confidential space for sharing, there is no such thing as TMI & no topic is off limit.
How has Beyond Delivery helped new parents cope with the challenges of postpartum life?
The postpartum time can be quite isolating. There are a lot of commonalities in experiences that parents face that we often aren’t aware of unless we have the opportunity to sit with other mamas/those that identify as mamas. This can help us to feel less alone, more supported, and to learn from and lean on each other.
How have you adapted your services since the COVID-19 pandemic?
We meet outside seasonally when weather allows, we have an in person or Zoom option for all sessions, and those that comes in person are required to wear a mask (over the age of 2).
What kind of feedback have you received from parents who have participated?
That the group has helped them survive the transition from pregnancy to motherhood, allowing them to keep some semblance of sanity (when possible). Knowing they aren’t alone in their experiences has made them feel less isolated. The support & guidance they have gained has been invaluable. That they have made deep & meaningful friendships with other mamas from the group that they have maintained long after they stopped attending group (some 4+ years out). Accessing healthcare in the postpartum period can feel challenging & exhausting. This space allows you to have an evaluation for concerns you otherwise wouldn’t have the time or opportunity to ask about.
How do you balance supporting new parents with maintaining your own self-care?
The group functions as a healing & supportive environment for all that are involved. Both facilitators are mamas themselves and we feel lucky to be able to participate WITH the other mamas, because we never stop benefitting from the community of parents around us!
What advice do you have for new parents who may be hesitant to join Beyond Delivery?
This is a safe space to come to in whatever format you feel most comfortable- in person, on Zoom with camera on/off, verbal participation or just listening/absorbing is welcome. The group guides the topics, so it is really mama focused & driven.
How do you see Beyond Delivery evolving in the future?
We hope to continue to provide the support to parents that has been so invaluable and expand community knowledge/participation, so we reach more mamas/people who identify as mamas.
CHP Family Services Beyond Delivery meets weekly on Tuesdays from 10-11 a.m. at CHP Great Barrington Health Center, 444 Stockbridge Road, Great Barrington. During the summer, the group meets outside (weather pending) at the Fairview Hospital campus, 27 Lewis Avenue, Great Barrington. There is also the option to Zoom in.
Information/registration: Paige Killiard, email@example.com, or (413) 528-1470.