Sara Sladoje, a child development specialist, and Alison Kramme, individual and couples therapist, co-lead small group sessions over an eight-week period. Participants have access to both professional expertise and the knowledge and support of other moms with similar experiences. Kramme and Sladoje have experience with all the changes new moms face in the weeks after giving birth.
"The major thing I've witnessed in my practice, with myself and my girlfriends, is the emotional challenges of bringing baby home," Kramme says. "You expect there to be challenges and transitions to new skills. But what I hear from moms is that they are surprised by the emotional piece-whether that is baby blues or just feeling anxious or feeling tearful and overwhelmed during this happy time. They don't expect it and they don't know what to do."
Sladoje adds, "These feeling are all very normal and it is so important to share it with someone-even if it is a pediatrician or ob/gyn. We are so prepared for pregnancy, but afterwards, you are set afloat on your own. Moms have these feelings but they don't have great support during these times."
During GRASP Group sessions, the facilitators bring up "hot" topics (including returning to work vs. staying home, changes to your relationship as a couple and issues relating to baby's development) and then open it up to the group for discussion.
"This group allows women to safely express how they feel and see others nodding their heads in understanding. It validates their experience," Kramme says.