Cierra works in childcare. When she was pregnant with Drake, she knew the first few months of motherhood would be challenging — and they were. She had anxiety, depression and felt like she was letting her family down. Meals, bath time and getting Drake to bed created big challenges. She felt self-conscious asking for help.

“I felt like my world was crashing. Every therapist I called was busy,” Cierra explained. 

When Drake vomited a strange color, she brought him to the Children’s National Emergency Department. Drake received treatment and recovered quickly. That’s when perinatal mental health social worker, Anna Koozmin, MSW, LGSW, walked into the room.

”Something felt so refreshing about her,” says Cierra, who wondered how honest she should be on the mental health questionnaire. “I was crying and she smiled and let me know how I felt was normal for a new mom. Anna also said, ‘we’re going to figure this out,’ which gave me a lot of confidence – just knowing someone cared and could help.”

Cierra was laughing before she left the hospital. She also had a contact for a therapist she now sees once a week.

“Before I met Anna, I was calling about five therapists a day and got the same response, ‘hey, we don't have any space for you’,” says Cierra. “Having Anna do all the work was awesome. She quickly found a therapist for me and that really took a big weight off my shoulders.” 

“Motherhood wasn’t meant to be a solo endeavor,” says Anna. She works with caregivers in the Emergency Department and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit experiencing postpartum depression and anxiety.  “A lot of what we try to do is decrease the barriers to getting help with mental health services like therapy and support groups.” 

“My son has a happier mom now,” says Cierra. “I have what I need and I can be a better parent. It's awesome that Children’s National is here for moms, and children, too.” 

A young patient at Children's National Hospital.

Make a Difference

Your charitable donation changes children’s lives. Support exceptional health care and discoveries that offer hope, healing and brighter futures.

A young patient at Children's National Hospital.