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Carter County Drug Prevention joins dozens in postpartum conference

Carter County Drug Prevention recently had the chance to attend and be a part of the Postpartum Support International conference in Nashville late last week, joining a list of dozens of organizations in the state who can provide support for young mothers in need.

Kristina Dulaney, founder of Cherished Moms in Johnson City, another group who attended, said the conference first arrived in Tennessee in April of 2018.

“It is always incredible to see the individuals who show up,” Dulaney said.

The conference is a chance for providers to learn about how best to care for women going through pre-natal or postpartum issues such as drug addiction or mental disorders, the latter of which Dulaney said is often overlooked.

“It is always exciting to me when I can learn about moms,” CCDP Director Jilian Reece said. “It was a really cool opportunity.”

Dulaney said giving these organizations more knowledge about these issues is crucial to caring for young mothers, because the lack of that knowledge is having an immediate impact.

“There are moms that are falling through the cracks right here,” she said. “We want to build a network of support.”

Reece said one of the biggest takeaways she got from the conference was how these issues can visually manifest. They do not all look the same from victim to victim.

“We know about one in five moms struggle in the pre-natal period,” she said. “These are exasperated by ACEs (adverse childhood experiences).”

The conference also helps empower communities to fight back against certain stigmas surrounding early parenthood.

“There is a stigma around saying ‘I need help,’” she said. “There is no reason a mom should suffer or be alone.”

Organizations who complete the training in the conference are eligible to be part of a resource list that encompasses the entire state, if they are a provider, so those in need can find places to get help should they need it.

“These are the number one complications of childbirth,” Dulaney said. “It is often dismissed, but so very important.”

Reece said it was an honor to be able to attend for the first time.

“It is something I have always had in my heart,” she said.