We've all experienced it: that feeling you get the night before your child celebrates another birthday.
You remember the feelings prior to delivery. You remember all of the questions you had about what he/she would be like.
You remember how you doubted yourself. Am I capable? Will I be a good mother? Will this child make a difference? How will I know what to do?
Then there is the memory of the actual labor. Whether C-section or vaginal, it was an experience that changed your life forever. It was the beginning of the story.
Five years ago tonight was the beginning of our story. I still remember the nervous texts that flew between phones. Will people come? Will people be helped? Will we make a difference?
And here we stand, five years later.
I'm brought to tears as I think back on five years of stories: Stories of empowerment; Stories of education; Stories of programs supporting and equipping women to make confident choices from preconception through postpartum.
Tomorrow we will fittingly celebrate our birthday in the morning at our flagship program, The Café. Then, in the evening, we will host our Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders support group. I honestly can't think of a better way to spend the day. Because, honestly, motherhood isn't all about celebration.
Motherhood is full of hard things--things that break you, things that change you, things that make you question your chosen path. We want to walk with you on days when the sun is shining and on days where you cannot even see the next step. Tomorrow we will spend our day walking both roads with you.
After five years, we still make mistakes. We are still young; we are still learning. But, friends, we believe that our mission to "to nurture the mother to grow the child" has only just begun.
Maybe you are just beginning to see the skills and strengths in your five-year-old, abilities that your child will use to change the world. We, too, are beginning to understand our skills and strengths. We may not change the world, but we are firmly committed to changing the lives of every woman within our reach.
Thank you for being a part of our journey. Thank you for believing in us. Thank you for believing that maternal health matters.
Happy birthday, TMC. May the next five years be as rich and as full as the first.
With all my love,