We're taking a little detour from our usual 'Friday Introductions' and sharing our executive director's very personal letter this week. This letter serves as its own introduction of sorts, not only to Lauren, but to our organization. We hope you enjoy it.
I see you. I see you open your eyes in the morning and think, "this is not what I expected."
Expectations. Dreams. It can all be so messy. Comparison. Failure. The hurts run so deeply.
Last week I began to tell you my motherhood story. You can read it here if you missed it. To paraphrase, conception was not an easy road for me. I found dead ends with every attempt to educate myself and find support. Miraculously, after 2 years of trying, I became pregnant in January of 2010. The birth of my daughter in September was empowering and life-changing.
During my pregnancy I found a childbirth educator that was as passionate as I about supporting and empowering women, and a one-of-a-kind midwife who believed in me and my choices. I still felt like an exception to the normal American childbearing woman, but at least I was surrounded by support.
Then came postpartum. I was not prepared. I knew I had "contributing factors” for postpartum depression - such as the recent death of my mother, a type-a personality, etc. but I felt alone and scared. There was simply nowhere to go for help.
Depression, unhappiness, and sensing that I had lost myself were not exactly the emotions I expected.
I made it through. But vowed in my heart that I would do everything possible to change the landscape for other women.
Fast forward a few a few years... to the moment everyone began asking, "when are you going to have another?" How could I tell them that I had never had used contraception since the moment she was born? (TMI!!) How could I tell them that everything in my body, heart and soul longed for more children? How could I tell them that I never dreamed I would be the mother to an only child?
Friends, this is not the life that I expected. But as my dreams faded, The Motherhood Collective grew - each program and each outreach has a personal connection to my own broken dreams. There are days when I look out into the audience of our programs or sit with you in a support group and just for a moment my breath is taken away.
What if my life HAD looked like I expected? What if all of "my dreams" HAD come true? I tear up even at the thought. For, friends, I would have missed out on so much. I would have missed out on you.
I do not hold any more of my own babies in my arms, but I hold yours! My broken dreams link arm in arm with yours. My tears for my own losses pool together with yours. And I wouldn't trade it for the world.
For you see, I now firmly believe that beauty is created out of brokenness. I see it all around me every day... in your strength and in your bravery. Thank you for giving me a life that I never could have expected, but that is more than I dreamed it would be.
I deeply hope that through the work of The Motherhood Collective you, too, are equipped and empowered to dream your new dreams... to allow yourself to become more than you ever expected you could be...
Friends, I see you, and you are not alone.