Apple Seeds, Inc. was birthed during my years of working with the TN Department of Children’s Services and many cases involving teen mothers and their families. Research began (2009) with the Center for Urban Child Policy and its reports of Shelby County-TN having 15% of newborns being born to teen mothers. It was noted that this percentage was higher than the national average of 11% and 50% higher than our state’s 2nd largest metropolitan area (Davidson County). My heart grieved that these children were being born into poverty and then faced additional hardships.
Also, the mothers of these children were more likely to end up on welfare, have more children, drop out of high school, and received no prenatal care. After consideration of the relevant factors and problems that exist, the decision was made to form a nonprofit that would educate, support, and guide these mothers and their families. My added affection for educating and supporting all mothers before, during, and after pregnancy led to exploring Postpartum Depression (PPD)in mothers and taking a special interest in the urban, low-income, and African American communities, which compelled me to become a CAPPA trained postpartum doula (2015).
In 2014, I realized and believed that Apple Seeds, Inc. was not a one sided organization but had many dimensions that could benefit ALL MOTHERS. During this time of restructuring and exploring, I reconnected with a colleague (Beth Shelton, LMSW, CPD) who had many years of experience working in the mental health field and had received specialized training in postpartum mood disorders. Beth was in the trenches and diligently supporting families who were struggling with PPD. The connection with Beth allowed Apple Seeds, Inc. to become multidimensional. Apple Seeds, Inc. would no longer just focus on young mothers in low income communities but take on an inclusive mission to improve and offer (all) mothers and families, education, support, and objective nurturing guidance in a community based setting. We fully understand having a baby is tough physically and mentally for mothers of all ages before and after birth.
We know through research and positive outcomes the benefits of having professional, objective, and caring help that ALL mothers can become knowledgeable of her and baby’s needs and cope with the realities of parenthood. There is no way to know how may apples are in a seed until the seed is planted, supported, loved, educated, nurtured, and restored.
We are committed and will, plant the seed!