It Takes a Village:
UJA Empowers New Moms With the Support They Need to Thrive

Being a new mom can be wonderful — but it can also be an overwhelming life transition. For moms from economically disadvantaged backgrounds or who have language and cultural barriers that make life in the U.S. tougher to navigate, this new stage of life is often compounded with anxiety, stress, and loneliness. That’s why UJA-Federation of New York is funding Caring for New Mothers and Infants, an initiative at the Edith and Carl Marks Jewish Community House of Bensonhurst in Brooklyn to help Russian-speaking moms find resources, support groups, and hands-on help with things like breastfeeding.

The program debuted this past January at the Marks JCH and immediately exceeded its goal of 40 participants. Sixty new mothers are now finding a range of critical services in a one-stop community hub, along with the company they need to feel less socially isolated. Mothers are also receiving in-home evaluations for early intervention, mental health, and other critical services.

“New mothers are calmer and more at ease in their own homes,” said Laurey S., one of Marks JCH’s in-home mental health therapists. “In this stage of postpartum, new mothers may feel overwhelmed and find it difficult leaving the house with their newborn baby and asking for help or doing the things they would normally do. In this way, there’s less stress. The Caring for New Mothers program at the Marks JCH allows me to come into their environment, normalize their experiences, and support them in adjusting to their new lives and roles so they can be present for themselves and their new family.

The program is just another way that UJA demonstrates its commitment to strengthening families both in diverse ways, and in ways that are laser-focused on the challenges at hand. While “mom groups” are quite common in more affluent neighborhoods, they’re less typical in neighborhoods where poverty is more pronounced; this means that vulnerable populations, like new mothers from households at a lower-income level or for whom English is not a first language, often get overlooked.

Empowering new mothers — no matter their financial situations — with postpartum support helps them become the best versions of themselves, not only for their sake, but for their children’s. And it’s an important way that UJA is making sure that all families have the help they need not only to survive, but to thrive.