Teaching ACES to new moms

Adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs, are potentially traumatic events that occur in childhood (ages 0-17 years). Witnessing or experiencing violence, abuse, and/or neglect in the home or your community are examples of ACEs as are having grown up with mental illness, divorce, substance abuse, or an incarcerated relative in the family.

Providing information on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) to mothers has proven to be an effective way of connecting with the community. 

In Harford County, Springboard’s ACEs community outreach advocate, Erica Waskey co-facilitates an After Baby Club in the Forest Hills community.

Sharing ACEs information has proven to be a critical learning experience for many new mothers.  This was true for Susan, a mother of two and a new group member.  Throughout her life, she had experienced bouts of anxiety, and now, after having her second baby, she began to experience new challenges. 

She said she was not her usual, happy self. Instead, at times, she felt angry and anxious. Erica met with Susan to discuss how Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) affect mental health and well-being. The new mom also took the Adverse Childhood Experiences’ early childhood trauma test. During her childhood, she had encountered many of the traumatic experiences featured on the test including emotional neglect, which she did not realize was a trauma.

Through Erica’s assistance, Susan was connected with a trauma-informed clinician and a medication manager. After four months of participating in trauma therapy modalities with Springboard, Susan reported feeling a dramatic improvement. She can better identify and mitigate anxiety. 

Today, she continues to participate in the After Baby Club and lends her encouragement and support to other new moms. This is one of the many successes of this critical program.

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