My prior knowledge of what a Ronald McDonald House is, became completely shattered after my month extended stay, last month. My three-month-old daughter and I were not your “normal” residents to the home. I came to find the Ronald McDonald House of Providence, by way of the Women & Infants Hospital’s—Psychiatric Day Hospital Program.
I think, if I give you a bit more background information of how I ended up in Providence, RI it might help you understand how special this house is, not only to me, but to all the families that shared this space with me. I am a mother to five children ages: 23,19,14, 19 months & 3 months. My last two babies are only 16 months a part. I became very depressed around the 4-5 month of pregnancy with my last child. I fought through all the overwhelming feelings of sadness, until I could no longer go without medical intervention.
The stress of taking care of two babies that are only 16 months apart alone became too much to handle. I found myself becoming more withdrawn and overwhelmed. I noticed that I felt no type of emotion towards the new baby and I was spending more time in bed and crying than caring for anyone- let alone myself. My nineteen year old daughter was trying her best to fill in where she could, but even she was overwhelmed by the situation.
My psychiatrist and therapist, began to see my mental state disintegrating right before them. With each passing day, my mental state worsened. I had been diagnosed with severe postpartum depression, anxiety, and OCD thoughts about my baby. Believe it or not, but the Psychiatric Day Program is the only program in the country that specializes in treatment of pregnant woman and postpartum-women, who suffer with mood and anxiety disorders and allows the postpartum mothers to bring their new babies with them to the program. I was fortunate enough to live fifty miles away from this program, but driving 100 miles roundtrip a day, would prove to be more than I could handle.
A call was made to the Ronald McDonald House of Providence to see if they would be able to accommodate me by referral from the hospital. I was accepted and arrangements were made for me to enter the RMH the following week. The night I arrived I was greeted by a volunteer named Lindsay at the front door. Right away, Lindsay made me feel comfortable and safe, which is very important to me, since I also suffer from PTSD. Lindsay got me all signed-in, but even went a step further and kept me company, as I washed dirty clothes because I came to RMH with no clean clothes.
The following morning, I met Ms. Sue from the front office and without knowing it, Ms. Sue became one of my lifelines at RMH. For people that may have never battled with depression, just the act of starting your day can be very overwhelming. Ms. Sue was my daily morning check-in person, which helped me stay on track and make it to the hospital every morning. Ms. Sue even offered to come to knock on my room door to insure I was up to start my day, which was the most powerful gesture I received through this process.
I was finally discharged from the hospital. Even though everything around me was falling apart I found peace at the RMH. I know many of the families I met had small ill children at the hospital, but the RMH saw my illness and my need for shelter just as important. I was unable to pay the requested nightly fee, but I still wasn’t turned away and I was always treated with respect and dignity.
The RMH of Providence will forever hold a special place in my heart and I will never forget all the acts of kindness that my daughter and I received.