A recent Commonhealth blog asked a good question in response to the closing of Isis centers: Can Maternity Support Make Money? There certainly is a need so it could be a good investment. The catch is that it’s a long time before there’s a return.
The most effective maternity support, as I see it, is local, person-to-person. The small businesses and non-profits that offer these services are important.
Maternity support is a specific, time sensitive need. What we’re really aiming for, starting with maternity support, is stable family units. A stable family contributes to the economy and the fundamental happiness of a community. That’s the investment and long term return.
Beyond offering classes and groups for new parents, there are other ways to support families. We can make our towns and cities more family friendly. That is the bigger business model.
To deter the isolation and loneliness that new parents (and elderly) struggle with, make it easy to be in green spaces, visit health clinics or social places and buy fresh food. That means investing in good public transportation, more parks and farmers markets, CSA’s and co-ops. For the most part, this is what more affluent families have already.
I respect what Isis Parenting had as it’s mission and I understand why maternity support doesn’t make money. Once families have their small beginning, they begin to grow their village. Let’s look at the ‘village’ and improve that environment. That way, more families will be healthy and that’s good for everyone’s business.
The photo is of the Southwest Corridor Park in Boston. It was originally slated to be a twelve (!) lane highway, slicing through the city. Instead, it became a fifty acre green space with a 4. 7 mile walkway, traversing past community gardens, basketball courts and local train stations. A wonderful example of healthy city space.