A Place for Parents

By: Tess Linn

The magical moment happens: A woman sees her baby during her ultrasound and makes the courageous choice for life. Now what? She is suddenly faced with the harder questions. “How do I find a doctor? Where will I find a crib? I’m in a demanding job now, how will I go about changing positions? What is labor like? How do I care for my baby?” Nothing can quite prepare her for life after labor and delivery. While these questions swirl in her head, a counselor gently directs her to our many parenting class programs. Flexible to her schedule, Women’s Care Center (WCC) classes provide for her many needs, which begin with material assistance, and encompass her need for knowledge, and more deeply, a community of support.

With a wide range of subject matters, WCC teachers help women and men become good mothers and fathers. But where to begin? WCC offers programs on understanding pregnancy, which outline the next nine months for the woman that has just embraced life. Prenatal development, physical and mental health considerations during pregnancy, and labor and delivery classes inform her of what this journey may look like and how she is to prepare. Beyond this, breastfeeding and postpartum care are emphasized, all of which encourage supportive and engaged partners to ensure that the mother is receiving the care that she needs when she’s away from WCC.

For new parents, understanding baby basics comes next, highlighting those first few weeks at home, how to change a diaper, and ways to manage the stress of sleepless nights. This, coupled with education about developmental milestones helps families to feel prepared in engaging this brand new sphere of life. Annually, approximately 2,694 women utilize these one-on-one classes, seeking guidance from their counselor on a weekly basis.

But the care doesn’t stop with newborns or one-year-olds. WCC group classes offer information on bolstering good mental health within the family, incorporating reading time and family engagement, managing toddler tantrums, and how to develop healthy communication skills. WCC believes these skills don’t just aid the parents, but help to build strong families and healthy relationships, which is the bedrock for a healthy community. And the community has continued to grow. Around 130 women and their supporters (partners, friends, or family members) attend the group classes weekly both virtually and in person.

Beyond information about family itself, there are also important life skills that WCC staff aim to teach these young families. For some, pregnancy is the first time many women and men have been faced with handling a budget, how to eat healthily, or how to perform CPR or use a fire extinguisher in the home. These families experience classes from our talented WCC educators, but also experience insights from community leaders, from nurses, OB-GYN’s, firefighters, lactation consultants, financial advisers, mental health professionals, and more. We had 5 Milwaukee professionals join for our classes this past year alone and hope to grow engagement from the community. 

Beyond our staff and the experts we bring in, there are other fundamental teachers who contribute to our classes: the clients themselves. Every week our families have the opportunity to stop in our center or log in to our online classes to learn from each other. They share experiences, how they’ve learned from their mistakes, what triumphs they had in their week. So class at WCC becomes more than just gaining knowledge. It becomes a gathering of friends and a strengthened community for women during and after their pregnancies.

At WCC, we believe the moment that a woman chooses life is just the beginning of the hard work to come. By walking with her through her pregnancy, after delivery, and well after her child is born, true support continues to grow at our centers.

For any questions regarding our parenting class programs, please reach out to Laura Lopez at laura@wccmil.com.

Join us in making a positive impact on the journey of pregnancy and parenthood in our community.