NEWS | March 19, 2020

New mom support group innovates to stay connected during COVID-19

(SACRAMENTO)

For more than 10 years, Shannon Clark, associate physician with UC Davis Obstetrics and Gynecology, has been hosting a weekly in-person support group called Connected.

Connected, the weekly support group for new moms, is now meeting onilne. Connected, the weekly support group for new moms, is now meeting onilne.

Participants say the meetings are a lifeline for UC Davis patients with perinatal mood disorders. During this meeting, Clark manages patients’ medications and offers group therapy, as well as free childcare, for new moms starting in pregnancy through to their first year postpartum. It has been a free service that Clark has funded on her own.

When Sacramento County issued a “Shelter in Place” directive for COVID-19 this week, Clark knew she would regrettably have to cancel Connected meetings for the foreseeable future.

“We were so worried about these moms not having support in this time of anxiety. We wanted to make sure they weren’t feeling isolated,” Clark said.

Alicia Music, a member of the group, came to the rescue with an online solution: she created a password-protected Facebook group for these moms to continue to connect remotely. She also created a Zoom account to continue weekly meetings online.

“As a mom who has been part of this group, I don’t know where I would be without this group. Every Thursday, moms get the support they need and build this camaraderie and we look forward to Thursdays,” said Music, who now serves as one of the moderators for the new Facebook group called New Connections. “I can’t imagine having to cancel this group at such a pivotal time when moms really need the additional support. I’m glad that technology enables us to keep the group going.”

Clark said her assistance was heartwarming.

“I was so surprised and grateful. She gave me a way to support my patients weekly without interruption and we can continue to build upon this network of moms for support. We can continue to accept new moms to the group. We will have our first Zoom meeting tonight,” Clark said.