Maternal Health Week shares the love

Photo Courtesy of Irvington Health Department
Members of the Montclair Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority were among those who contributed to the event.

IRVINGTON, NJ – The Irvington Department of Health and Senior Services hosted their second annual “Sharing the Love: A Black Maternal Health Week Celebration” community baby shower at the Chris Gatling Center in April.

The township worked with the Partnership for Maternal and Child Health of Northern Jersey, the Montclair Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and the Rho Lambda Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. for the event.

In observance of Black Maternal Health Week, the April 15 shower gave current and expecting mothers the opportunity to participate in health workshops, light yoga and raffles for diapers and toys for children.

“I hope that every mother feels cared for and properly taken care of tonight,” Councilwoman Charnette Frederic said at the event. “Every mother deserves to be highlighted and treated as queens, because without each and every one of you, there would be no next generation of potential educators, nurses, doctors, firefighters or social workers.”

In addition to raffles and yoga, residents also heard from State Sen. Renee Burgess, and Councilwomen October Hudley and Darlene Brown.

“Take advantage of events like this to alleviate the pressure of being a full-time mom,” Brown said. “Do not let anyone tell you otherwise – it is certainly a job, a hard one at that. So please do what you can and what you feel is best to look after yourselves and your children.”

Expectant mothers received medical information about what to expect during and after childbirth, as well as information for postpartum depression and other pertinent information, including what is and is not covered under most insurance plans.

“If you need assistance as a mother, not only is this event a good chance to get information, but please talk to the medical professionals available today and form relationships,” Hudley said at the event. “The professionals here today can help you with a litany of issues and find out what care you can qualify for with or without insurance, so take advantage of that.”

The Partnership for Maternal and Child Health of Northern New Jersey was a merger of three state child and maternal health consortia in 2012. Licensed by the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, the Partnership serves as the lead planning agency for maternal and child health services in Northern New Jersey. The organization’s mission is to “meet the healthcare needs of women, infants and children while coordinating education, outreach and advocacy through regional planning and collaboration.”

The Partnership conducts awareness programs through a variety of group discussions, special events, health fairs and newsletters written in various languages.

The vision of the Partnership is for all women to have access to safe births using the best clinical practices, for children to maximize their potential through the support of a healthy family and community; and for race and ethnicity to no longer be a contributing factor to healthcare access and outcomes.

“Know I represent each and every one of you when I am working on policy and legislation plans as your state senator,” Burgess said at the event. “It is not lost on me that mothers are often overlooked or forgotten at times in certain legislative bills. Know that I will work every day to make sure that mothers, working mothers, stay at home mothers, mothers of all kinds will be a high priority for me and my administration.”