As a mother of 7, and former therapeutic foster parent to 51 children, attachment and infant mental health have been constant topics in my life for the last 28 years. My children range from age 7 to 28. Three of my children were adopted: at the age of 4 years, 2 years, and 7 months. I am now a proud grandmother to an incredibly wonderful 14 month-old.
Having been a therapeutic foster parent for nine years, I wanted to work with mothers while they were pregnant to encourage them to form a strong bond with their babies. I worked, and lived with, too many children who suffered from attachment disorders and saw very few who had been helped by interventions such as counseling and medications. I wanted to PREVENT such crises and offer not just crisis management.
And so, The House of Timothy was founded.
I became a certified antenatal, labor, postpartum and bereavement doula, childbirth and parent educator, and breastfeeding counselor. I continued to search for more programs that would help me help the mothers I work with and I came across birthpsychology.com. I began reading the articles and the more I read, the more it made sense. I applied for a scholarship, and enrolled in the APPPAH Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology Educator Certificate Program, and have devoured all it has to offer, loving everything I read and watch.
Since February 2013, 40 babies have been born to the women I have provided services to. Many of the moms I work with are young, in transitional housing, single, and/or have experienced trauma in their lives. The modules have been invaluable, in that they have helped me further understand just how important the prenatal and perinatal period is to both mother and baby. For some of my mothers, pregnancy is the only opportunity they will have to parent their babies, and I have been able to share with them how important this time is, and what a gift they offer to their unborn child, not only through their nutrition, but, just as important, through their state of mind. I am proud to say that many of my moms are baby wearing, breastfeeding, co-sleeping mamas who have come to understand the importance a secure attachment has on their child's future. I am also currently working with the Department of Corrections, to try to get permission to teach childbirth education and offer support groups to pregnant incarcerated women. During my last meeting with the DOC, I was able to pass along some of the information I have learned in this course, and it was very well received!
As I wrap up my final module, I am already feeling a bit sad - I so look forward to sitting down with these incredible minds. I love listening to their wisdom and reading their words! I have come to appreciate Kate White and I know I will revisit each module over and over again in the months to come. There is so much knowledge, and I just wish that society as a whole understood how vitally important all of this is to our future.
Karen Bradley www.houseoftimothy.org