In 2006, we experienced the birth of our first son, Joshua, who was stillborn at 19 weeks. We were in love with Joshua from the time we first learned about him and were devastated when we learned he had passed. We desired to have other children but were uncertain about our ability to have a live birth due to cervical insufficiency. Consequently, we continued to grieve and process our loss, even while considering the future. Much to our surprise, we were pregnant again in 2007, and are grateful to have two rainbow babies, who are now preteens.
Our journey to becoming parents was challenging. Being pregnant after a stillbirth was difficult and anxiety-provoking for both of us. In additional to the worry of being pregnant after a loss, I spent most of my pregnancy with our older son on bed rest, including 14 weeks in the hospital. I struggled with perinatal depression and anxiety during pregnancy, and now realize that some of my symptoms were likely triggered by our previous loss.
While we were going through our pregnancies, we had no concept of birth trauma, and therefore could not name our experience after losing Joshua. We did not know how many woman and birthing parents deal with anxiety and mood symptoms or other pregnancy complications. We were also unfamiliar with doula services, although these services would have greatly benefited us. Essentially, we did not know what we did not know. Now that we have the awareness and understanding about perinatal mental health complications, we have made a commitment to do our part to support parents with these common pregnancy concerns.
Works of Faith Wellness and Consultation, LLC, is a family-focused behavioral health practice that offers individual therapy, groups, consultation, and professional workshops centered on maternal mental health. Our goal is to promote health equity for all parents, especially those for whom health care inequities exist. We also strive to utilize frameworks that are consistent with the individual or family’s cultural context.
Collaborating with birthing parents and their support networks to promote optimal mental health, wellness, and healthy family functioning is a fundamental goal of our organization. Although our services focus primarily on maternal mental health, we will offer supportive resources for the entire family unit. In addition to therapy for individuals, we offer educational and consultation services to organizations and corporations invested in health equity for maternal health.
A secondary focus of our organization is to offer consultative and educational services to faith-based organizations with the goal of collaborating on mental health and wellness initiatives. We believe the combination of therapeutic and wellness services, in conjunction with individuals’ spiritual beliefs and practices, allow for optimal family and community wellness.
Now that you know more about our Practice, we hope you will feel at home at Works of Faith Wellness and Consultation. We look forward to collaborating with you on your path to wellness.
Dorienna M. Alfred, Ph.D., PMH-C, Owner/Director of Clinical Services: Dr. Dorienna Alfred is a licensed psychologist in the state of Ohio and certified perinatal mental health provider. She is also a wife and mother. Her interest in maternal mental health grew out of her own experience with perinatal anxiety and depression associated with high-risk pregnancy complications and pregnancy loss. She is a member of the Postpartum Support International and a volunteer with Perinatal Outreach and Engagement for Moms of Columbus, OH. She is the author of a memoir entitled, Pregnant with Promise: A Spiritual Journey of Pregnancy, Bed Rest and Childbirth, and has other published works in the areas of racial identity development and Black liberation psychology. Dr. Alfred has also conducted research in women’s health and taught graduate and undergraduate courses on multicultural counseling and training.
Greg Alfred, Ph.D., Director of Outreach: Dr. Greg Alfred is a licensed psychologist in the state of Ohio. He is a husband and father and is committed to perinatal mental health initiatives for fathers and partners. His interest in perinatal mental health for fathers is the result of his own experience supporting a partner who had high-risk pregnancies, pregnancy loss and perinatal anxiety and depression. Dr. Alfred has been involved in research and practice related to men and masculinity. He will be accepting clients for paternal mental health in 2021.