Becoming Parents: how support and a safe place make a difference

When Cecile was born prematurely at 33 weeks, her mother, Elisa, and father were scared and worried. Coping with the anxiety of caring for their premature newborn baby was overwhelming. When Elisa’s partner returned to work, he struggled with guilt for not being present, while she took on the responsibility of parenting alone.

As the stress grew and led to arguments, the couple sought help at the CAP Association in Geneva supported by our partner, Fondation Recherche Périnatalité (FREP). The Association’s weekly welcoming sessions (or “cocooning”) offer pregnant moms and parents a safe place to share their experiences, voice their concerns, and seek advice. Hosted by a team of midwives, psychologists and child psychiatrists specializing in perinatal care and child development, the free drop-in sessions provide one-on-one and group support in a soothing environment.

At CAP, Elisa and her partner felt welcomed and no longer isolated. They also received professional advice and follow-up on their daughter’s development. When Elisa experienced postpartum depression six months after Cecile’s birth, the staff at CAP helped her recognize and accept her illness and ensured she got the resources and treatment she needed to care for her own mental health.

“The Thursday afternoon drop-in sessions allowed us to gain confidence and meet parents with similar questions. Our daughter also benefited from interactions with other children her age. The support of professionals at CAP helped me to quickly regain the upper hand and return to work as planned.”

Thanks to the supportive environment and ongoing personal and professional assistance they found at CAP, Elisa and her partner overcame a challenging time. Now two and a half years old, their daughter Cecile is perfectly healthy, and the family has started a new chapter in their lives.