Meet Paula and Avery

Paula was a new mother who had recently given birth to her daughter Avery. She was referred to Health Net of West Michigan and assigned to one of Health Net’s early childhood social workers named Katie.

Katie called Paula to remind her about her upcoming postpartum appointment and asked if she would be willing to answer some questions about early childhood and her family’s needs. Paula expressed that she felt that her anxiety might be impacting her bond with her one month old. Paula had been participating in the Maternal Infant Health Program throughout her pregnancy and had reached out about her concerns about her anxiety. Paula was assured that the feelings she was having were normal, but she was still concerned. 

Paula said that Avery seemed to be less fussy whenever Paula’s sister took care of her. During the call, Avery needed to be changed and Paula wanted Katie to hear how fussy Avery became throughout the process. Paula feared Avery could feel her anxiety and that was why she was fussy. Katie listened to the way that Paula talked to Avery throughout taking care of her. Once Avery was changed, Paula was able to talk through how she felt while taking care of Avery. Katie assured Paula that the way she was talking to Avery in a calm and caring voice was a great way to connect. Paula began to feel better in the course of the call and felt empowered to continue approaching diaper changes with a calm outlook.

Together, Katie and Paula completed the early childhood questionnaire and it showed that Infant and Toddler Developmental Services through Arbor Circle would be a good fit to address the feelings of anxiety and would support Avery’s development. In the meantime, while the referral to Arbor Circle was being processed, Katie talked to Paula about exploring reaching out to others for support. Katie also offered to send additional information about postpartum depression and anxiety. Paula was happy to receive any additional information she could to help her learn more about ways to manage how she was feeling.

Two weeks after the initial call, Katie called Paula to follow up to see how she was feeling and to see if the referral to Arbor Circle fit her needs. Paula was excited to share that she had completed her intake appointment with the infant/ toddler program earlier that day and was looking forward to her next visit. Paula said that she was feeling much better knowing that she had the support to make sure that she was healthy and that Avery was reaching her developmental milestones.

Thanks to the relationships between the early childhood providers and Health Net, Paula was able to start services to support herself and her daughter within two weeks. In the follow-up call, Paula also shared that Avery was becoming less fussy during diaper changes and was appreciative of Katie’s reassurance and help.

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