One-of-a-kind Michigan program has supported over 1,700 new mothers
The only program of its kind in Michigan, the Mother and Baby Program serves patients who
are pregnant or up to three years postpartum. In the past ten years the program has helped
over 1,700 new mothers who were experiencing significant symptoms of postpartum
depression and other perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, and has provided support to their
families, as well.
The day program, led by licensed clinicians, offers patients short-term intensive group
education, peer-to-peer support and therapy sessions to help them learn skills to cope with
stress, anxiety and disturbing thoughts that may occur when caring for their children. For
individuals with young babies (8 months old and younger), the program also offers a staffed
nursery to allow patients to bring their babies with them. Not only does this approach enhance
mother/baby bonding, but it also eliminates many obstacles such as separation from the baby,
childcare arrangements and feeding issues for mothers trying to attend daily treatment.
“We are so proud to provide support and care for postpartum and pregnant people at Pine
Rest, through our Mother and Baby Program,” said Dr. Andrea McFerren, lead physician at Pine
Rest’s Mother and Baby Program. “When an individual becomes a new parent, it is normal to
experience mood changes; but when those feelings of sadness and symptoms like sleeplessness
persist, this program becomes a lifeline for those in need, and their families. As a child and
adolescent psychiatrist, I love seeing the healing this program brings to all birthing people and it
is doubly gratifying to know that we have also improved the mental health of that growing
Pine Rest’s multidisciplinary team, which includes a physician, registered nurses, social workers,
nursery attendants and case managers, offers a non-restrictive and more economical treatment
option for many patients. The team teaches skill-building to help mothers bond with their
children, helps manage challenging symptoms and provides information about support groups
available after completion of the program.
A review of outcome-data for the Mother and Baby Program has demonstrated a significant
reduction in symptoms of depression and anxiety among program participants.
“I came to the Mother and Baby Program at Pine Rest when I was in my eighth or ninth month
of pregnancy with my son, Levi,” said Abigail Guernsey, past patient of Pine Rest’s Mother and
Baby Program. “Despite having a great support system and a strong faith, I really struggled
during pregnancy with a perinatal mood disorder—something that I didn’t know existed!
“This is exactly what I needed and what my family needed at the time,” explains Guernsey. “I
was in a spot where I felt stuck, and I didn’t have hope that I would ever feel like myself again.
But after I went through the program and learned coping mechanisms, I gave birth to my son,
and I got to enjoy being a mom almost right away. And that was something that I didn’t know if
I would have.”