Healthy moms, healthy babies – Mary Doyle, LCSW
Imagine that you are pregnant with your first child. You may have morning sickness, be concerned about giving birth or worried that may not be able to afford a baby. Now, imagine that you are also homeless, have an abusive partner or that you experience mental health issues. Who can you turn to for support? The answer: Mary Doyle.
Mary is a licensed clinical social worker at Middlesex Hospital’s Pregnancy & Birth Center and Maternal Child Health Program. She is a warm, caring professional, and dozens of women have come to rely on her as they navigate the challenges of pregnancy and life.
Read on to learn more about how your donation to the Women’s Wellness Fund is supporting moms and babies in need through the perinatal social work program.
What is your role?
Mary Doyle (MD): Every day, I get calls from local obstetricians, WIC program staff and other agencies that want to refer pregnant women who are facing life challenges and need support. Their issues cannot be adequately addressed during a routine medical appointment, and I make every effort to connect with women who are referred to me. They are often afraid to ask for help, and I make sure that they get the assistance that they need. Women will meet me in my office, in their doctor’s office or, if needed, in their homes. I create a plan of support for each woman and connect them to community resources so that they can find better housing, access cash assistance and food benefits and receive mental health counseling.
How many women do you serve?
MD: At any given time, I am working with between 20 and 30 women. In a typical year, I support between 75 and 90 women.
Tell us more about the women you are supporting.
MD: Most of the moms that I see are first time mothers. The majority live in Middletown; others live in towns throughout Middlesex County. Most are low income residents and qualify for state and federal assistance. Women of all races, ethnicities and backgrounds benefit from this program.
How long do you work with each woman?
MD: Some women only need an initial visit to be connected with the support they need. Others can benefit from having regular support up until the delivery of their baby and afterward. When they are in my office, I will often schedule follow-up appointments for them, encouraging them to attend child birth classes, to work with a behavioral health specialist or with the Nurturing Families home visiting program. I typically meet them at the initial appointments to help ensure their success.
Why do you do this work?
MD: I see that women are struggling. They can have terrible problems in their lives, but in their heart of hearts, they want to be good moms. It gives me great satisfaction to be a part of that journey.