CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
Military families typically have a more taxing lifestyle than their civilian counter parts. Long deployments, training in the field and sporadic work hours can take a toll on parenting in a home.
Operation Parenthood is designed to help promote the health, wellbeing and safety of military families who are expecting a baby or have young children.
Service members from 1st Supply Battalion and Combat Logistics Battalion 5, civilians and familes participated in an early childhood parenting class at the Family Readiness Center here Oct. 31.
The training focused on educating parents on topics like mood and anxiety disorders, said Kim A. Flowers, the program manager of the New Parent Support Program. Two of those topics were prenatal anxiety and post-partum depression.
Attendees viewed a workshop presentation called Healthy Parents, Happy Babies. During this workshop parents learned about post-partum depression, anxiety, baby blues, where to seek help and other preventative measures.
Sgt. Kiley D. Spurlock, assistant operations chief at Marine Air Group 39, shared her personal experience with post-partum depression.
Spurlock, a North Carolina Native, said her son Maddix was born just three days after her husband deployed.
Spurlock said she felt sad and overwhelmed without her husband being there with her. She had minimal help because her family was in North Carolina and his in New Mexico.
“After returning (to work) from six weeks of convalescent leave, I was constantly crying, I was tired, wasn’t eating, I wasn’t taking care of myself hygienically; I wasn’t taking care of myself at all,” Spurlock said.
On the day of her return, one of her peers pulled her aside because she wasn’t being herself, then encouraged her to seek help. That was when she learned she might have post-partum depression.
After Spurlock shared her story, parents had the opportunity to explore information booths, a photography exhibit and a growth and development center. The center included a digital, baby-brain map where parents can learn about the functionality and growth of a baby’s brain based on the age. The interface gives parents the option to choose their child’s age and see what is likely happing in their child’s development and provides information to help support healthy growth.
This was the second of three events. The next child development class is scheduled for Nov. 9, with the 1st Maintenance Battalion at the Family Readiness Center here.
“We are looking to ensure that ‘little ones’ are safe,” said Flowers, who has more than eight years of service with New Parent Support Program. “We’re also going to be educating parents on household cleanliness, safety, pets and access to things that could be dangerous. We will also be talking about what parents can do to promote healthy, loving relationships with their children.”
For more information, visit: http://www.mccscp.com/newparent
, or to view or download a copy of same Operation Parenthood workshop presentation provided at the event, visit: http://www.mccscp.com/sites/default/files/pdf/marine-family-programs/New%20Parent%20Support/npsp-operation-parenthood.pdf