Strong Beginnings Connects Families with Support
By almost every measure, Black women and babies fare worse through pregnancy and infancy than mothers and babies of other races or ethnicities. Strong Beginnings, a community partnership dedicated to improving the health and well-being of African American and Latinx families during pregnancy and early childhood, works to change those birth outcomes. Their approach offers direct support and connection to a system of care and engages the community to reduce disparities in the social determinants of health.
Pregnant women who are experiencing extenuating circumstances receive valuable support from Strong Beginnings. For example, one mother at seven months pregnant experienced in utero delays in growth and development and was told by her doctor that inducing labor at this time could be helpful. This opinion was contrary to the mother’s goal of carrying the pregnancy to full term. She stated, “I want my baby to have a chance to live.” Under great stress, this mother was experiencing possible eviction, partner incarceration, and her two-year-old son was living in relative foster care. With the help of Strong Beginnings, she was able to resolve some of her extenuating circumstances so that she could carry her pregnancy to full term, and as a result, she delivered a healthy, baby girl.
Strong Beginnings believes working alongside both mothers and fathers during pregnancy is important. The organization is intentional about building relationships with these fathers, so they feel supported too. Their Strong Fathers/Padres Fuertes Fatherhood Initiative is dedicated to celebrating culturally relevant topics regarding fatherhood. These live events on Facebook host discussions such as “Manhood Monday” which in December centered around growth and goal setting, and “Friday Fathering in Fifteen Sessions,” which discussed the topics Punishment vs. Discipline, Sexuality, and its Meaning, and Positive Feedback from Dad.
Raising healthy children is challenging. Strong Beginnings works to close the gap for families of color by making sure these families have the support they need.