A Patient’s Story: Transito


During an early medical visit, Transito screened positive for signs of depression and was referred to talk with one of Arlington Free Clinic’s counselors. After revealing details of a difficult childhood of neglect and abuse, she agreed to counseling and has greatly benefited from learning and understanding the long-term effects of trauma on the brain and body. She was seeing her counselor regularly when she became pregnant with her son in 2017.

Typically, AFC patients who become pregnant are transitioned to the Arlington County Department of Human Services (DHS) Maternity Clinic for all of their care. Transitioning our patients to DHS during pregnancy not only gives them access to well-established, high-quality prenatal care, it also prevents duplication of services and fosters collaboration. We made sure, however, that Transito continued to have access to weekly counselling sessions at AFC because this service wasn’t available at DHS, and continuity is an important tenet of trauma-informed mental healthcare. When Transito learned that her unborn child had significant heart defects and would require surgery immediately after birth, having unwavering mental health support proved invaluable.

Despite a very stressful pregnancy, she delivered her son in December, and he was immediately transferred to Children’s National Medical Center. Over the course of a few weeks, he had five successful cardiac surgeries that are allowing him to thrive now that he is home, surrounded by his parents and two older sisters.

Transito’s health has stabilized since giving birth, and she is feeling good about successfully juggling her school-aged daughters’ activities, her diabetes, part-time work – and encouraging the daily development of her now-healthy three month-old-son.