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Postpartum Support Center: Wraparound Services for Perinatal Families

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By: Sarah Dobrovolny  | January 4, 2024


There are so many things I wish I’d known before getting pregnant and having my first (and only) child. Like how morning sickness is not just a morning thing, or how many different ways labor and delivery can play out, or the importance of paying attention to maternal mental health. In hindsight, I wish I’d had a community of mothers around me - expecting moms, new moms, seasoned moms - to prepare with, to talk to, and very likely to cry with. So when I heard about the Postpartum Support Center, I not only thought to myself “Wow, I wish I’d known about you sooner!” but also, “I cannot wait to let other moms know about this place!”


The Postpartum Support Center (PPSC) is a San Rafael-based nonprofit serving mothers and their families throughout Marin. Their services include maternal mental health peer support, a postpartum depression prevention program, a diaper bank, and information and referrals to other services — all for free.


I wanted to understand more about PPSC, so I connected with the Founder and Executive Director, Ivana Jagodic, and one of her volunteer facilitators, Clara Love. Our conversation is below.


If you are inspired by the incredible work that PPSC does in our community, please consider supporting their cause by becoming a volunteer, donating funds or goods, or helping spread the word about their services. A great place to start is by attending SMMC’s Winter Pajama Party on Saturday, January 20 - we’ll be holding a diaper and clothing drive at the event. Hope to see you there!


In Conversation with The Postpartum Support Center


For someone who is unfamiliar with your organization, can you share an overview of what you do, and also tell us why your work is important?

Ivana: The Postpartum Support Center (PPSC), is a Marin County community-based nonprofit founded in 2019 by a mother who suffered severe maternal mental health complications.


Our services include:

  1. Maternal Mental Health Peer Support Services: support line, peer counseling, support groups.
  2. ROSE (Reach Out Stay Strong Essentials): a program that prevents postpartum depression.
  3. Marin Diaper Bank: provides free diapers and other mother & child essentials to local families in need.
  4. PPSC provides information, resources, referrals, self-screening mental health assessments, and advocacy.

PPSC serves women, their partners, and children (over 500 families each month) of all cultures, ages, races, traditions, sexual orientations, beliefs, languages, lifestyles, etc. While our focus is on underprivileged families as they are at the greatest risk for developing maternal mental health disorders, prevention and peer support services are provided to anyone regardless of their income and economic status.


Maternal Mental Health Disorders are a common public health problem with serious and long-lasting consequences for the entire family. Unfortunately, not just mothers are affected. Children are at increased risk for cognitive, emotional, and behavioral problems. PPSC provides empirically-validated programs and services concentrating on the well-being of women, their partners, children and support systems.


What is the single most important thing you want everyone to know about the Postpartum Support Center?

Ivana: PPSC is a safe place for perinatal families to come, to be heard, to be understood, to be supported, to be loved, to be cared for, to be referred to necessary support services, to be lifted up. PPSC is here to walk the walk with moms while holding their hand when it gets hard. We are here to encourage them to keep going and to tell them that they are not alone.


Clara: PPSC is filling an important gap for families during the postpartum period. By supporting families with resources like the diaper bank, education opportunities like the ROSE program, and support through peer support groups and peer-to-peer counseling, PPSC is like a safety net in our community for families helping them have the best start to parenthood.


Please tell us more about the ROSE (Reach Out Stay Strong Essentials) Program.

Clara: The ROSE Program is an evidence-based program that gives moms skills to make the transition into parenthood easier. It helps them understand what is normal and when they may need to ask for extra support. It helps moms learn how their roles and relationships will shift when they become a parent, and tools to manage stress and anxiety during the postpartum period. It also teaches what avenues of support they have in the community and helps them think more about their immediate support network. PPSC offers the ROSE Program once a month. It consists of five modules: four take place before the baby arrives and one after.


Please tell us more about your Diaper Bank.

Ivana: Marin Diaper Bank (MDB) provides children living in poverty with diapers, wipes, formula, clothing, and all the basic necessities that every child needs and deserves. MDB also provides maternity and postpartum necessities to birthing people in need. Currently, MDB serves about 500 parents and children each month, giving them the supplies they need and reducing stress and worry about basic necessities. MDB is a protective factor in the fight against postpartum depression and maternal mental health complications in low income families, who are three times more affected by these disorders than mothers who do not have to worry about diapers and essentials.




How and why did you start (or get involved with) the Postpartum Support Center?

Ivana: My struggles with postpartum depression and inability to find the help and support that I needed in the community inspired me to leverage my experience as a source of hope for other moms. I wanted to create a safe, non-judgmental, supportive space for mothers like me in our community.

Our purpose is to prevent postpartum depression whenever possible and/or to lessen the effects of Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders by providing evidence-based programs, psychoeducation, raising awareness, reducing stigma, providing direct peer support and counseling, social support, practical help, perinatal classes, advocating for better quality, affordable and timely perinatal mental health care, and much more.


I am confident that together we will affect positive change so that no parent will ever have to suffer alone.


Clara: As a certified doula and lactation educator counselor, I understand how valuable support can be to new families. When I learned about PPSC it aligned with my own passions and was a way to give back to the community. I also have a family member who went through postpartum depression and know the support needed to get her through it. I originally got involved with the Marin Diaper Bank and then went through training to become a facilitator for the ROSE Program. I am also involved in fundraising and on the committee for the Walk For Moms campaign which happens in May during maternal mental health awareness month each year.


What does a typical day look like for you at the Center?

Ivana: Our days at the center are similar but never the same. We see mothers and children daily and offer them one or multiple services based on their needs. We also see fathers and interact with them and give them some tools on how to better support their partners in the first years of welcoming their new family members. We see many donors who drop off donations for Marin Diaper Bank. We see many volunteers who come to help us sort donations and organize them. During holidays they help wrap toys for children. On distribution days, volunteers greet families and help them choose items they need and carry those to their vehicles. We see our partners and funders and board members. We have meetings, support groups, and are gearing up for new programs and services in the new year.




Are there any myths about maternal mental health that you’d like to bust?

Ivana: There are so many myths about new parenthood. For example, new parents are supposed to recover and bounce back after birth quickly. Their “parental instinct” will immediately kick in, which means breastfeeding and bonding will be second nature. And, the transition into parenthood will be filled with unmatched joy and fulfillment. But these misconceptions can be dangerous, especially for the 80% of new moms dealing with “baby blues” and the one in five struggling with perinatal mental health conditions, like depression and anxiety. That’s because these ingrained myths often bring about feelings of inadequacy and shame, making it challenging for new parents to seek the help and support they need. The truth is, anxiety and depression are the most common complications of childbirth, and they can affect any birthing parent, regardless of personal strengths and parenting abilities at any time. That’s why we need to talk about the challenges of motherhood, encourage open conversations, provide comprehensive care, and put aside all of these myths so we can prioritize maternal mental health.


Some of the myths:

  1. I don’t need to worry about my mental health since I’m not at risk – MYTH!
  2. Only the birth mother is at risk of developing a perinatal mental illness – MYTH!
  3. Postpartum depression and anxiety will go away eventually on its own – MYTH!
  4. You can’t treat depression with meds during pregnancy – MYTH!
  5. PPD only affects women – MYTH!
  6. Women with postpartum depression harm their babies – MYTH!
  7. Women with PPD cry all the time – MYTH!

What would you say to someone who thinks they might benefit from your Peer Support services but is feeling nervous about reaching out?

Ivana: It is ok to feel nervous and talk about personal struggles. Whether someone is diagnosed with a maternal mental health condition or not, motherhood is hard! Talking to another mother who is trained to listen and provide empathy without judgment and shame can be extremely beneficial.


Clara: Every mom has feelings of doubt or anxiety when they have a baby. It’s something you have never done before if it’s your first or you are learning how to manage multiple children if it’s your second or more. Peer to peer support can be so valuable to help learn from each other and gain different perspectives. Talking with other moms going through the same things you are is a proven buffer against postpartum depression and anxiety.


How can people get in touch to receive your services?

Ivana: The best way is to send us an email at, or text at 415-320-6707 and our staff will direct you to the right service. Our website also has forms and sign-ups for different programs.


Clara: The sign up information for the ROSE Program is available here


Is there anything else you’d like our members to know?

Ivana: We would like to encourage all pregnant moms and expectant families to take advantage of our free programs such as ROSE. This is a great educational program that can teach parents how to be better prepared for parenthood and how to minimize the risks for postpartum depression. You do not have to be low income or at risk to attend this program and the benefits of what you can learn from this program are truly invaluable!


I would also like to encourage moms to join our free support groups whether in person or remotely.


We will be having family groups as well (both partners and babies), lactation support groups, childbirth education, plan creation groups, and much more is coming in the new year.


Clara: Every pregnant mom can benefit from the ROSE Program regardless of your risk for postpartum depression. We welcome all to join us!

Ivana Jagodic

Ivana's passion for helping and supporting new mothers and families began after becoming a mother herself and experiencing first-hand the challenges of motherhood. Her struggles with postpartum depression inspired her to leverage her experience as a source of hope for other parents. Ivana holds a BA in Language Arts. She is a Certified Peer Support Specialist and also certified in Perinatal Social Support Network Development. Ivana is the first Postpartum Support International Coordinator for Marin County. Through her work and community involvement, Ivana gained invaluable experience and knowledge in leadership, counseling, problem-solving, and partner development. Ivana is also an author; she wrote a first baby book for fathers, "Thank you, Daddy" as appreciation for all the good work fathers do to support their families. In her free time, Ivana loves being with her family and friends, practicing archery, and bicycling. A PPD/PPA survivor herself, Ivana is committed to providing support services to new mothers and families in need.

Clara Love

Clara became interested in women's and children’s health from a young age after volunteering in the Labor and Delivery unit of her local hospital as a candy striper. After getting a Bachelor of Science in Biology with a minor in Chemistry at UNC Chapel Hill, she continued to deepen her interest in women and children’s health in Shanghai, China where she worked for the international charity Operation Smile. During medical missions across China, her passion for supporting parents and babies developed further and eventually led to her career as a childbirth doula, lactation educator counselor and prenatal yoga teacher. During the perinatal period, she strives to help parents feel educated, supported and cared for through this transformational time in their lives.

Clara is a birth doula with DONA International, a Lactation Educator and Counselor through U.C. San Diego, and a E-RYT 200 and RPYT (Registered Prenatal Yoga Teacher) with the Yoga Alliance. She is a volunteer with the Postpartum Support Center as a facilitator of the ROSE Program to help expecting and new parents lower the risk of postpartum depression. She is also the facilitator for the Marin circle of CircleMoms, a new mothers group for babies 0-3 months.

After over a decade in Shanghai, China, Clara and her family moved to Marin. When not supporting families you will find her cruising on the SF Bay, hiking, practicing yoga or playing baseball with her boys.


Sarah Dobrovolny lives in San Anselmo with her husband Spencer and their 20-month-old Sadie. Sarah is a Stay At Home Mom and serves on the SMMC Board as Director of Philanthropy. Sarah also volunteers as SMMC’s SAHM group leader, co-leader of the San Anselmo/Fairfax town group, coordinator for Little Movers & Shakers, on the 2023 Events team, and as a copy editor for The Crier.
More from this issue:

A Habit of Spontaneity HERE >> 

Embracing the Crown Over the Cape: Setting Boundaries for a Healthier You HERE >> 

Glad That’s Over HERE >> 

Move More in 2024 HERE >>

Postpartum Support Center: Wraparound Services for Perinatal Families HERE >>

The Power of Yet HERE >>