Having a child is one of the most incredible and rewarding experiences, but it is hard! It can be painful, overwhelming, humbling and challenging.
During medical residency (the last part of medical training), Brenna Kaschor experienced significant complications with her own pregnancy. She had a loving family and the resources to access supports. But despite this, she struggled, and wondered how others without support were getting through?
“As a family doctor, I saw many patients struggling with mental and physical health, substance use, PTSD and more. Consistently, those with the most severe concerns described a chaotic and unsafe environment growing up, and not surprisingly, ongoing issues with safety and relationships in the present. Despite how hard many of them tried, their children seemed to end up with similar issues.” says Dr. Kaschor.
After learning about Adverse Childhood Experiences and how they affect the development of the brain and body, it became clear – the trauma experienced by one generation was being passed to the next. Our healthcare system is not set up to deal with this. The now standard “one issue per visit”, the number of people without primary care, the overwhelm healthcare providers are experiencing, and growing social inequalities are creating a perfect storm.
So Brenna created G.R.O.W.. The vision for G.R.O.W. was simple – a registered charity with the goal of helping families break the cycle of intergenerational trauma. By supporting parents before and after birth, they could gain the skills and opportunity to offer their children a different outcome.
Over the past three years, the dedicated team at G.R.O.W. has cared for over 1800 children under age five and their families! They provide:
- Staff with specialized training in mental health, resilience, child development and attachment
- Support for parents before and after delivery, with a focus on breastfeeding and the mother-baby dyad
- Services and support for basic needs, specifically targeting barriers to health
- Structured, evidence-based mental health and trauma treatment
But the need in our community is too great, and funding shortages threaten the future of these services. If you believe that all families deserve access to the help they need, donate to G.R.O.W. now!