Daniella Franco-Romo ’25

The Motherhood Center of New York, New York, NY

The Motherhood Center of New York is dedicated to treating mothers struggling with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders that offers an outpatient program and a partial hospitalization program for more acute patients who may still need the care a day program can provide. The day program often has mothers participate in dyadic therapy alongside their baby. Clinicians provide both in-person and virtual psychotherapy—individual, couples and family therapy are all available.

Daniella Franco-Romo at work.I worked mainly as an administrative assistant. It was a bit overwhelming, learning how to navigate the billing sheets, a very antique scheduling site, and other business platforms. In addition to front-desk tasks, I sat in on Tuesday morning meetings, in which clinicians would share patient treatment plans and determine who would take each case. Hearing the back-and-forth clinicians sometimes had when deciding whose treatment style suited a patient best left me amazed—so much discussion and care for each individual filled me with hope. The gravity of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, something I had never really thought about before, was made so clear. Being a nursery intern every once in a while allowed me to have interactions with current patients, which was quite difficult. Though all I did was care for the babies while their mothers received intensive in-person therapy, I often had to be present while they cried to the nursery director about their difficult circumstances.

The most impactful part of my experience was meeting with clinicians. I spoke to a psychiatric nurse practitioner, a psychologist, two psychiatrists and the co-founder and CEO. One of the psychiatrists I spoke to, Laura Polania, a Wesleyan graduate who is Colombian—as am I—and grew up a Latina in NYC, like me as well, resulted in me sitting in and acting as scribe for multiple patient evaluations. Having such raw and direct access to trauma was heavy. When I attempted to condense my nine pages of notes into a history of present illness, I received feedback that I had written too much personal detail, my sentences were too intimate and not clinical enough. I had failed to create a summary that truly highlighted the patient’s medical needs. On my second evaluation, my notes filled up only two pages, and my history of present illness was used in the Tuesday meeting. I had learned the formula, and the clinical approach of hearing the story of a person’s life! This experience, along with learning the different roles clinicians with different professions had in The Motherhood Center, has me feeling secure that I want a future working in mental health.

I’d like to thank the ASIP program for allowing me to experience this amazing team, learning so much about how it really takes a village to make a difference in the life of one mother struggling with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, and how powerful a choice and what a privilege it is to receive help. I am truly grateful and feel such love for The Motherhood Center and all the wonderful connections I made.