Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of representing a group that is making an enormous difference in the lives of women and children in Chester County. The Maternal and Child Health Consortium of Chester County hosted its annual awards ceremony breakfast, where Calvary Lutheran Church and the Kennett Square Rotary Club were honored for supporting its mission. I had the privilege of emceeing the event, held at Penn Oaks Golf Club in West Chester.
While the Maternal and Child Health Consortium (MCHC), which was founded in 1995, may have a simple mission, it’s one that has a profound impact on the lives of pregnant women, mothers, infants and preschool-aged children in our area. At its very core, MCHC’s family health educators help children begin life healthy, stay healthy and succeed in school, regardless of their parents’ socioeconomic status. MCHC’s staff helps families enroll in health insurance, learn proper prenatal care and navigate some of the daunting tasks of caring for young children. These staff members monitor new moms for post-partum depression and help ensure a safe home environment for their young children.
If you’re a regular reader of this column, you know that I focus on what many middle-class families do. I write about all the everyday challenges of parenting: juggling schedules, sibling rivalries and handling homework. Most of us don’t have the struggles of a language barrier or lack of essential resources. Yet, right within our wealthy county, some mothers and families are simply struggling to exist. This segment of the population, if it weren’t for the services and commitment of groups like MCHC, may be overlooked. Many are non-native English speakers, often without access to transportation for essential well-visits to the doctor. Many others are isolated from family or a network of friends in which they can call on for help. MCHC provides that community that these families need.
I was proud to represent MCHC, a group striving to ensure quality health care for pregnant and parenting women in Chester County, regardless of their race, language, insurance or immigration status. Staff members recognize that a parents’ hardships should not be barriers to their children’s health and success. They understand that most of the brain’s development occurs before a child is five-years-old. They know that healthy pregnancies can help to reduce premature birth and infant mortality rates. Every child in our county deserves a healthy start in life.
Organizations such as MCHC give me a renewed sense of the importance of my job as a mother. There may be moments where we, as mothers, don’t feel appreciated. Our jobs certainly aren’t being spotlighted in the media, such as athletes, musicians or celebrities. Some of us even feel guilty for “just being a mom,” when it’s undoubtedly the most important profession in the world. So, my gratitude will always be there to MCHC for recognizing the immense importance of motherhood and helping the children in this county start life healthy, stay healthy and succeed in school.
To learn more about MCHC or to help them continue to achieve this mission, go to http://www.ccmchc.org/.