The Healthy Moms program is based on the idea that how we think influences how we feel and what we do. When we think negative thoughts, these thoughts can make us feel bad. And when we have negative feelings, we sometimes miss out on doing things that will make us happy, or we do things that make us feel even worse. The good news is that each one of us can learn how to break this cycle and think healthy. The better news is that thinking healthy is not just good for moms. When we feel better and do things to make our lives happier and healthier, our babies benefit.
The first 1000 days from conception to a child's second birthday are a critical period for healthy development. When kids get a good start in life, they grow up healthier and are more productive as adults. This is a win for them, a win for your family, and a big win for society. We all benefit when our kids reach their potential. A key goal of Healthy Moms is to help women like you be the best mom you can be so your kids can live the lives you imagine for them.
Whether you are pregnant with your first child or already a mom, the Healthy Moms program is for you. There are two parts to our program: an automated health coach called Zuri and this journal.
Currently, Healthy Moms is available to a limited number of women in Kenya who enroll through partner hospitals. But you can try chatting with Zuri by clicking on the Facebook Messenger link and follow along in the journal pages included here.
What You'll Learn
The Healthy Moms program has lessons that span pregnancy through the first 10 months of your baby's life. We'll focus on three main areas:
Your health and well-being as a pregnant woman and new mom
Your relationship with your baby
Your relationships with the people around you
Your Health and Well-BeingWhen we get stressed, it's easy for us to ignore our own health. We don't always get the rest we need, and we forget about the importance of a healthy diet. Even simple tasks can become hard to do because we find ourselves in a cycle of low energy and motivation that can be hard to break. This can make it hard to be fully present for our kids. Your Relationship with Your BabyIt won't come as news to you that babies have a lot of needs. Of course there are the physical needs like eating and changing, but babies also have emotional needs. When we interact with our kids and create a stimulating environment, we're helping them to develop and grow. This can seem really hard to do when we are not feeling our best. Your Relationship with the People Around YouFriends and family can be important sources of support, but when we get stressed, it can be a struggle to keep these relationships strong. Whether your support network is large or smaller than you would like, we'll focus on how to seek help from those around you.
These lessons are based on a program called Thinking Healthy that was developed by Dr. Atif Rahman and colleagues and published by the World Health Organization.
This content has not been endorsed by any individuals or groups, including the World Health Organization.
Understanding the Links Between Thoughts, Feelings, and Action
Everything we do—or choose not to do—begins as a thought in our mind. Thoughts have the power to shape how we feel, which can influence the actions we take. When we're stressed, negative thoughts push out positive ones, and before long our problems can feel like they are too big. It doesn't have to be this way.
The Healthy Moms program will show you 3 steps to learning how to Think Healthy and bring positive change to your life. These steps are based on an approach called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT.
Step 1. Learn to Identify Unhealthy ThoughtsResearch shows that we fall into the same "unhealthy" traps of thinking over and over. The first step is to catch yourself when you have these thoughts. Step 2. Learn to Replace Unhealthy ThinkingThe next step is to challenge these unhealthy thoughts and replace them with healthy thinking. Step 3. Practice Thinking and Acting HealthyBut like every new skill this takes practice. Therefore, practice and homework are a key part of the program.
Meet Zuri, Your Health Coach
Zuri is a chatbot trained by mental health and technology experts. Zuri is not a person, so she can respond to you day or night. She doesn't need sleep!
To chat with Zuri, all you have to do is say hi, and she will respond. It's free to chat with Zuri. If there comes a point when you need to talk with one of the team members, you can ask Zuri to connect you. But we think you will like working with her.
From time to time, Zuri will invite you to participate in a Healthy Moms session. In these sessions, she'll share some tips and teach you some skills to practice. You can complete the sessions when it's convenient for you.
In between sessions, Zuri will remind you to answer a few questions about how you are feeling. Keeping track of your thoughts and feelings is a great way to see how you change and grow over time. Often it's hard to see this change on a day-to-day basis, so she'll check in frequently.
It's important that you know Zuri does not provide crisis support or medical advice. If you are in a crisis, you can go to your nearest emergency room any time or call a hotline in your area (see this list; in Kenya, call the Befrienders hotline at 0722178177, staffed from 7am-9pm). Zuri tries to provide helpful, accurate information but mistakes are possible. Always check with your medical provider before making changes to your health routines.
The Healthy Moms program focuses on your health and well-being, but you don't have to participate alone. In fact, we think you will benefit from having a family member or friend join you on this journey! The more that people around you can understand your experiences and challenges, the easier it will be to seek out support. So consider sharing what you are learning and practicing with someone who cares about you and your baby.