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Geisinger Free2BMom program helping new mothers

Geisinger Health System launched a program more than a year ago called Free2BMom—a new way to care for new moms and help them succeed through recovery.

Having a baby can be a joyful time in a woman's life. It can also be stressful, particularly if the mom-to-be has had issues with addiction.

Susan Henry of Nanticoke is one of those women. She was sexually abused as a child and already had guilt about not speaking up about it. Then, after a painful diagnosis, she was told she'd never be able to have children of her own.

"I was supposed to go for a hysterectomy; I never did. It put me in a deep dark depression. I started using."

What followed, in Susan's words, was a "rocky and downhill" phase of drinking, smoking, and drug use.

Then, six years ago, she discovered she was pregnant after all.

"That very day, that very day I found that out, I quit everything," she said. "I honestly didn't think I could do it! But I did it."

"There are triggers that cause us to make a decision in which we find comfort, and sometimes that outlet is through unhealthy behaviors," said Michelle Passaretti, a nurse and the senior director of innovation for Geisinger's Steele Institute of Health.

She's involved in a program called Free2BMom, which is meant to remove the stigma of getting help.

"it's a compassionately designed program that provides counseling, community-wide social support, medication-assisted treatment, which empower mom and baby to thrive physically, mentally, and emotionally."

Participants get treatment and counseling, special check-ins, in some cases, food, diapers, and wipes—anything mom and baby might need to succeed up until the little one is 2 years old.

Susan credits the program with helping her stay sober and enjoy her life with her children.

"I was always one that was afraid to ask for help. Ever since they came into the picture, I'm not afraid to ask for help anymore."

if you'd like more information about the Free2BMom program at Geisinger, you can call 844-762-2864 or email free2bmom@geisinger.edu

RELATED: Free 2BMom: Helping Mothers in the Battle with Addiction