Lake Houston women with postpartum depression almost lost their only access to affordable care until the Rotary Club of Lake Houston stepped in.
Rotarian Valerie Copley knew that the Rose Group that proves free group counseling to recent moms was about to lose its only source of funding. Copley also knew that Rotary International had just added “maternal and child health” to its seven areas of focus.
It was a perfect fit.
Copley championed for it and, in 2015, the Lake Houston club’s board of directors voted to support what is officially known as the Rotary Club of Lake Houston Rose Group Postpartum Depression and Anxiety Support Group.
Krissy Cotton, a licensed professional counselor, facilitates the group, providing free support for new moms struggling with mental health issues. The group meets twice a month at Cotton’s office in Atascocita, usually on the first Tuesday at 6 p.m. and the third Thursday at 10 a.m.
“Not many women or families have health insurance that will cover postpartum depression, and most can’t afford it,” Cotton told Rotarians at their Jan. 12 meeting at the Lake Houston Family YMCA.
“Our club provides the financial support, so it really is a free service to our community,” Copley told the group.
“And, it is my gift to my community,” Cotton responded, herself a mom of “ … four children.”
“I also see couples in my private practice,” Cotton said, “but, at this time, our support group is for women. I want to emphasize that a group is the key to aiding moms. It really does take a village to help a mom. Over the years, our focus has expanded from depression to the kinds of mental health issues that new moms face — having a child, anxiety, depression, anything stressful that is going on.”
The support group enables moms after childbirth to “ … use your village to get support,” she said.
“A woman who has been independent and able to make decisions and take time for herself suddenly finds herself being controlled by a baby for 24 hours every day,” Cotton said. “Having a baby transforms your life. Often a mom finds herself barely holding it all together.”
Sometimes talking through it all with a group of fellow moms is enough, and sometimes a mom may need more serious medical help, she said.
“Our group can provide that support that a new mom needs,” Cotton said. “Often, women develop friendships outside the group, meeting for dinner or other getaways.”
When Rotarian Bruce Wood asked about whether medical help is needed, Cotton said medication may help but emphasized that all new mom experiences are different. So, each mom’s solution is different.
“So many times, it is simply environmental stress,” said Cotton. “Just imagine that you only get a couple hours of sleep every night. That is sleep deprivation, and it has been used as a form of torture. Think of the effects of sleep deprivation on a new mom.”
Learn more about Rose Group Facilitator Krissy Cotton and the Rotary ROSE Group on their Facebook page, facebook.com/Rotary-ROSE-Group-175003066474496/, or call 281-814-5803.
Rotary meeting host Talybra Hollins reported that a Rotary grant to the Lake Houston Family YMCA will allow the Y to once again begin its Safety Around Water — SAW — program, mostly in Humble ISD Title 1 schools. The program focuses on children between 3- and 5-years old who are non-swimmers or afraid of the water.
“We expect to provide swimming classes for at least 150 kids every week for seven weeks,” Hollins told the group. “We can offer this program because of the Lake Houston club’s grant. Thank you.”
Contreras reminded Rotarians that the club again will host a Cinco de Mayo Golf Tournament, May 5, at a yet-to-be decided local golf course.
The Rotary Club of Lake Houston Area meets Wednesdays, 11:45 a.m., at the Lake Houston YMCA. The Summer Creek Satellite Club meets at 8:30 a.m. on the second and fourth Tuesdays at the Nimble Office Suite, 250 Assay St., in Generation Park. To learn more about the advantages of being a Rotarian, lharotary.com.