This project is helping women who can’t afford postpartum care

After experiencing a traumatic birth, Kay Matthews has created a center equipped with counseling rooms and wellness clinics to help care for others after birth.

“My daughter was stillborn and no one was making the correlation between stillbirth and maternal mental health, and so, I wanted to create a space that was not based on birthing outcomes but birthing experiences,” said Matthews, founder of Shades of Blue.

The Shades of Blue office assists women with accessing clothing, diapers, wipes, baby supplies and household needs.

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In December 2021, a study conducted by the University of Michigan Health found that 24% of pregnant and postpartum women reported unmet health care needs due to cost, while 60% reported health care unaffordability that had them worried about paying bills.

Matthews said women come from across Texas (more than 100 per week) to get help through support groups, counseling and wellness care.

The care at Shades of Blue remains free because of grant funding, donations and a partnership with Avenue 360.

“We don’t talk about the postpartum period or maternal mental health and how it escalates from baby blues to anxiety to postpartum depression. There are many different steps that we can actually help to stop by doing the little bitty things that can make a big impact,” Matthews said.


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