Pandemic Amplifies Struggles for New Parents

Six months into the COVID-19 pandemic, we are all adapting to what our new “normal” life looks like. I am seeing this in my own life and in the experiences of my patients. For new parents, this is amplified in ways that many of us cannot fathom.

Just imagine bringing your first child into the world as a single mother. To keep your newborn baby safe, you are not able to share your bundle of joy with family and friends for fear of exposure to COVID. Beyond the emotional isolation, fulfilling basic needs, like going to the grocery store, is a challenge for fear of exposing both yourself and your infant to the virus.

Amber, a young mother of two, found herself isolated, alone and without any support. Amber and Josh welcomed their second child this summer and in August, Josh was deployed with the National Guard. This was not the first time Josh had been deployed, but it was the most challenging for Amber. The added stress of COVID-19 had her feeling isolated and more alone than ever. Separated from Josh, her family and friends, Amber was stripped of her usual support system and was unable to overcome the biological and emotional symptoms of postpartum depression.

Thankfully, Amber found the Yolo Crisis Nursery. Amber came to us exhausted, with despair visible on her face, not having slept in over a week. With her family thousands of miles away and friends unable to help due to the pandemic, Amber and her two children were all alone. The nursery welcomed Amber, her newborn daughter, and 4-year-old son with wraparound arms.

Our trauma-trained staff lovingly cared for the children while one of our caseworkers met with Amber to get her help and establish a treatment plan for her postpartum depression. Through our initial screening process, Amber’s 4-year-old son was identified as being on the autism spectrum. After his diagnosis, one of our caseworkers connected Amber to necessary services including Alta California Regional Center and an Individualized Education Plan. Meanwhile, the nursery cared for both children in our daycare and preschool while Amber received the necessary medical and counseling services to help her battle postpartum depression.

The Yolo Crisis Nursery is an essential resource for our community and a place of hope for families in crisis. I am proud to serve on the Yolo Crisis Nursery Board of Directors. As one of only four crisis nurseries in California, the Yolo Crisis Nursery is an essential early intervention child-abuse-prevention program. We serve families with children ages birth to 5 years and offer trauma-informed childcare, including crisis and respite care. Equally important are our wraparound services to assist families to resolve the crises that brought them to our door. Our services are voluntary and provided free of charge to our client families.

Unfortunately, history informs us that as stress increases — like during a pandemic — all too often, neglect and abuse also increase. Now more than ever, it is important that we recognize and guide those in our community, like Amber, who may need extra assistance to get the help they need.

Amber is not alone. Last year, 13% of new mothers reported experiencing postpartum depression in California. At the nursery and in my work as a physician, we have seen an increase in postpartum depression cases since COVID-19 caused the shelter-in-place order in March. This trend will likely continue because so many families are experiencing extreme stress, a risk factor for postpartum depression. Sadly, the populations most susceptible to postpartum depression are some of the hardest hit by the pandemic — racial and ethnic minorities, Medicaid-eligible low-income families, and those with lower levels of educational attainment. Those populations all report more cases of postpartum depression symptoms compared to non-Hispanic white women.

If you believe that all children deserve to grow up in a safe, loving, and stable home and would like to help young families like Amber’s, I invite you to join us at the Yolo Crisis Nursery. We are always looking for people who are willing to lend their time and talent to join us.  To learn more or to make a gift, please visit our website at www.yolocrisisnursery.org. We would love the opportunity to get to know you.

— By Joan Smith-Maclean, Yolo Crisis Nursery Board Member. This article originally appeared in the Davis Enterprise on Sunday, September 27, 2020

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The Krustaceans for Kids Crab Feed was a record breaker this year — raising more than $91,500 for the Yolo Crisis Nursery!

This exceeded our wildest dreams and was made possible by our generous sponsors, donors, volunteers and guests, to whom we say thank you, thank you, thank you. All money raised goes directly to supporting our community-funded respite care programs for Yolo County children and families in crisis.

Fun facts about the seventh annual “Krustaceans for Kids” Crab Feed:

* Number of event sponsors: 41
* Number of guests: 526
* Pounds of crab served: 1,450
* Pounds of pasta: 60
* Breadsticks and rolls served: 1,328
* Cases of wine: 14
* Kegs of beer: 3
* Volunteers working the event: 100-plus

We are deeply grateful to our community for turning out in such force, demonstrating once again their unified support for the nursery’s programs to prevent child abuse, nurture healthy and resilient children, strengthen parents, and preserve families. Thank you to everyone involved with the event for their commitment to the nursery and to Yolo County’s most vulnerable children and their families.

It takes a village, and I cannot thank our volunteers enough, particularly event co-chairs Nancy Storm and Martha Bernauer. The year-after-year growth of this sell-out event would not be possible without their leadership and tireless efforts. The Krustaceans for Kids Crab Feed is produced entirely by a small group of volunteers. Thank you to the amazing Crab Feed Committee: Judi Berry, Marge Callahan, Linda Dullum, Lynn Evert, Maren Heise, Rita Lundin, Liz Malinoff, Sharon Schauer, Patti Sparks, Veronica Stanton, Lynette Temple, and Connie Zuercher. To the entire Friends of the Yolo Crisis Nursery team: You are making the world a better place for the children of Yolo County and you have our heartfelt appreciation.

To the ever-entertaining John Chuck, thank you for leading us in the fun and fundraising last weekend. Thank you also to Lamppost Pizza, Upper Crust Bakery, Sudwerk Brewing, and Paradise Valley Estates for your delicious donations. And a very special thank you to our volunteer servers from the National Charity League and Woodland High School National Honors students.

We would like to recognize and thank our returning Premier Sponsor Sutter Health and King Crab Sponsor Jim and Lucinda Childress for their ongoing generosity and support.

Sincere thanks to our generous Dungeness Crab Sponsors: 2nd Street Storage, Aggie Square Apartments, Almondwood Apartments, Dignity Health, Fountain Circle Townhomes, Kaiser Permanente and Diane Makley.

To our wonderful Blue Crab Sponsors: Martha Bernauer, Lyon Real Estate, Ron Brown Construction, Carbahal & Company, Coldwell Banker Select, Davis Ace Hardware, Nicole Davis, Edward Jones, Davis Oddfellows and Davis Rebekah Lodge, Eadie Family, Kim Eichorn, Carole Franti, Howard Real Estate Services, Heidy and Peter Kellison, Van Dermyden Maddux, Morse Custom Homes and Remodelling, David Nakano, Recology, Kay Resler, Schottenkirk Honda, Sola Bee Farms, The Perfect Window, Stewart & Ann Teal, Union Bank, and Steve and Evon Willhoff — thank you.

Bretton Woods, Brooks Painting, Davis Fire Fighters Local 3494, Nugget Markets, Purves & Associates, Sharon Schauer, John Sleuter, Swim America, Lois Wolk, and Helen Thomson — many thanks for your Snow Crab sponsorship.

On behalf of the Board of Directors and Friends of the Yolo Crisis Nursery, we would also like to thank our amazing volunteer kitchen crew, bartenders, security team, The Bridge Church, Collegiate Studios, CK Hicks and Sue Barnes.

And last but not least, thank you to the numerous businesses, community groups and individuals who donated items for our auction and raffle. Your generosity is a critical piece to our unprecedented success this year.

If you are interested in helping the most vulnerable children and families in Yolo County, please consider joining the fun and fundraising for the Yolo Crisis Nursery by lending your time and talents to the Friends of the Yolo Crisis Nursery. Simply email friends@yolocrisisnursery.org or join us on the second Tuesday of every month at 5:30 p.m. at the Carlton Senior Living Center. The rewards are priceless, not to mention the laughter and warm community you’ll encounter in the Friends’ group.

The Friends of the Yolo Crisis Nursery’s next event is the inaugural Yolo Crisis Nursery Barn Dance on Oct. 19 — save the date and get ready to kick up your heels for kids!

Visit our website, www.yolocrisisnursery.org, or subscribe to our e-newsletter to learn more about our upcoming events or to learn more about the Nursery. We hope to see you soon!

— Jane Eadie is the president of the Yolo Crisis Nursery.

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