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Celebrating Social Workers

Every March we celebrate Social Worker Appreciation Month. This is a time to reflect on the differences social workers make in our communities using their empathy, compassion, and advocacy. Perinatal social work brings in a new level of complexity as these social workers seek to provide the crucial support needed by those going through the transformative journey that is conception, pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. The Life Workshop’s Brianna Mangano, LICSW discusses how rewarding it is to work with this population as you are trusted to help and guide those going through this intimate and vulnerable time. 

Brianna describes a day-in-the-life of a perinatal social worker as one where she is mostly meeting with clients, all in various points of the perinatal period. No day is the same, and no day is typical. Brianna can go from meeting with clients who are just a few weeks postpartum dealing with the challenges that come with this, to working with a mother who is parenting several young children. Although all stories are different, the underlying theme of empathy remains. Brianna is able to provide the most compassionate support for her clients by discussing her own experiences, and making it known that she has been through this before. Brianna became a mom during the pandemic where she felt that although she has ample perinatal training, she still felt unprepared for the systems she was working with during this tumultuous time. The simplistic ideas of self-care like taking a bubble bath are no match for the complexity of the challenges faced by the perinatal population, and being realistic about this helps Brianna to provide the utmost support and care for her clients while they work to understand and process their feelings.

Outside her direct work with clients, Brianna is an advocate for those she supports - a key element in the social work profession. Brianna has worked with a state representative in the state of Massachusetts, particularly in the Springfield area, to ensure that funding is going to appropriate pregnancy centers for those experiencing unexpected pregnancy. Brianna also assists her clients in advocating for themselves, and getting the most out of the systems in place. 

Although no one social worker's journey is the same as the next, Brianna’s story is an exemplary one in looking at the powerful work social workers do on a regular basis. For any future or aspiring perinatal social workers, Brianna wants to share with you how rewarding this career can truly be. Be prepared to laugh and cry with those you serve, sometimes even within the same session. Learn everything you can from a variety of different people and experiences, and most importantly, know that you do not need to be a parent to do this work! As we continue on into Social Worker Appreciation Month, we can express gratitude towards these dedicated professionals, and continue to acknowledge the pivotal role that they play in our communities. 

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