City of Boston launches postpartum support group pilot program

Alexis Algazy, deputy city editor

Mayor Michelle Wu’s Office of Women’s Advancement has launched a pilot program to support postpartum women of color in the city of Boston. 

The City of Boston hosted a listening session this past fall, and a main piece of feedback was the lack of attention paid towards women’s health. 

In response to these comments, the office collaborated with Love Your Menses, a nonprofit organization founded in Boston that seeks to end period stigma and promote menstrual equity to provide postpartum women of color with resources and support. 

Alexandra Valdez, executive director of the mayor’s Office of Women’s Advancement, is involved in organizing the pilot program. 

“The pilot is intended to focus on the Black and Brown women of the City of Boston and how we are uplifting and providing education, but also providing that support group … for anyone who seeks to engage,” Valdez said.

The pilot program is a free, 10-week online program with 32 participants, according to Valdez. Each week, the group meets to discuss different topics from mental health support to postpartum care. The sessions also feature guest speakers like doulas, OB-GYNs and other relevant physicians who address topics like lactation and mental health. 

Valdez hopes to see the program expand past the pilot stage and be available for all women who seek its support and resources. 

Aside from providing resources and education, the program is a way for women to find support from those who share their experiences. 

Valdez said the program is “creating that sense of family within the group of those who decide to participate.”

Before collaborating with the City of Boston, Love Your Menses conducted two cohorts of the support group.

The organization has evolved since its founding in 2019. It is a leading menstrual equity organization in the international community, with hubs in eight different countries. 

Love Your Menses has extended itself to serve areas of women’s health beyond menstruation, including education during pregnancy and postpartum care. The organization’s programs are steered mostly towards women of color. 

“The City of Boston is really working hard to breach the gap and to decrease maternal mortality. The city itself really cares about the population, from my own experience with Mayor Wu,” said Ebere Azumah, board-certified OB-GYN, co-founder and president of Love Your Menses.

Azumah said doctors’ appointments often don’t provide sufficient information to pregnant women, so the program builds a community of resources and education for those who participate. 

“We don’t just focus on the medical part; we focus on the mental part, we focus on everything,” Azumah said. 

The pilot program intends to serve all communities in Boston, including those where a language barrier may be an obstacle. Valdez added, if a woman wishes to participate in the program and needs a translator, the Office of Women’s Advancement will make the program accessible. 

“Ensuring that we are supporting all our City’s parents during their postpartum period is critical in our work to make Boston a city for everyone,” Wu said of the program in a statement from the Office of Women’s Advancement last month.