By Kamilya Zulfukharova ’17 (Taraz, Kazakhstan / Plainwell, MI) 

Around 20% of women report experiencing psychological issues during or after birth, according to research from “The Lancet” medical magazine. Yet, professionals have also found that few people consider a mother’s post-natal mental health needs. Conversations about psychological issues are important, and Jahongir Rahimov ’13 (Dushanbe, Tajikistan / Portland, OR), Zulfiya Urunova ’13 (Khujand, Tajikistan / Visalia, CA), and Zhaniya Aitbayeva decided to respond through the “Take Care Mom” project in Kazakhstan.  

The main objective of the “Take Care Mom” project, which began on April 29, is to help young parents and those in the family planning stage to adapt to a new stage in their life and to gain confidence in their own caretaking actions and knowledge. The alumni leading the “Take Care Mom” project wanted to ensure that parents, especially mothers, can join a large community where they can ask questions and share their thoughts before and after giving birth. 

“During pregnancy, my husband and I actively prepared for the upcoming appearance of a child in our lives,” said Zulfiya Urunova. “We read articles, books, watched documentaries, and even took some courses. But it turned out that with the arrival of a child, most of the knowledge flies out of my head, and if you are looking for information on the internet, you find that most of it is based on contradicting information, which leaves you even more confused.” 

Zulfiya searched for childcare courses but didn’t find one that felt like the right fit. 

“Then I thought, why not create one myself,” she said. 

Zulfiya shared her idea of bringing together the best professionals to share their knowledge on the most important moments in a child’s life, with a chance for parents to ask questions right away, with her friend Zhaniya Aitbayeva. Zhaniya’s daughter is only two days older than Zulfiya’s. 

Zhaniya’s response was positive.  

“Above all I want to share knowledge, and this project is a great opportunity to make my dreams come true,” she explained. “Enlisting mutual support, we decided that the project must happen.” 

The sessions are now ongoing and held via Zoom. Participants may ask their questions by contacting the organizers on Instagram or during the session by directly asking the speakers. So far, there have been 152 participants. Every speaker works with 10-15 participants during the session, where they answer their questions and provide other related information.  

“For me, the ‘Take Care Mom’ project has become like a breath of fresh air in a mother’s daily life,” Zulfiya said. “It’s so nice to prepare material, posts, stories, texts and so on for such a ride. And all because I really want young parents to be under as little stress as possible when looking for information on the web.” 

The project will conclude at the end of July.