Whether going through pregnancy or postpartum, we are constantly in motion – externally and internally. Even when asleep our bodies are hard at work to create and sustain life. This makes it easy to become overwhelmed, exhausted, and emotionally drained. Because of this, self-care should be our first priority, not our last.
Yesterday marked the sixth birthday of The Motherhood Collective, this organization that I hold so dear. Each year I recall the freezing cold temperatures of January 10, 2011 and the lack of experience our small team of five possessed as we launched our first program in a warehouse (temporarily without heat); we had 12 women in attendance that first day.
We couldn't have given you a mission statement, a catchy tagline, or a polished elevator pitch, but we each knew something had to change. We KNEW someone had to improve the mental, physical, and emotional well-being of women from preconception to postpartum. Our small team of five saw a need, and we embraced our responsibility. We might not have known it at the time, but we were pioneers.
Slowly but surely, women came to us with their needs and desires. As they felt safe, they expressed their insecurities, frustrations, and regrets. The more we listened, the more we learned. Soon we found that the women we serve are our greatest teachers and vision casters. Our mission became simple: Provide rich, evidence-based education and unwavering social support, allowing women to become equipped, educated, and empowered; at all times, assuring each woman that she is not alone and that she is, indeed, the best mother for her child.
So friends, the mission statements, taglines, and elevator pitches all came in due time. Volunteers, business partners, and board members arose, each taking responsibility, in their own unique ways, for the maternal health of THEIR community. Now, six years later, here we are, preparing women in our own unbiased, unpolarized, and judgement-free way, for a venture unlike any other: MOTHERHOOD.
So happy birthday, TMC. I love you and the women we serve so very much. This year, may our team purpose to prepare, provide, and pioneer in new and provocative ways. May the women that we serve continue to be our greatest teachers.
Thank you for all you have given me.
As 2017 approaches, we are looking for new ways to reach the women we serve. One of those ways is through a consistent team of contributing story sharers on our blog. Yes, story sharers. You don't have to be a 'writer', have your own blog or have anything published to contribute. We want real-life mamas sharing real-life things. Good things like the joys of motherhood; ways you have learned and grown as a woman; ways you have been empowered through your story or struggle. Hard things like depression and anxiety; miscarriage and loss; unmet expectations. Stories of the day to day and what that looks like...and how it changes. We're looking for women who would be willing to contribute 5-10 posts/YEAR. That's it! Sometimes we may ask for a specific topic, other times we will just share what it is that you're passionate about sharing. We want YOUR STORIES...your beautifully messy, imperfect stories. If you are interested, please contact our blog editor, Alisha, at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can't wait to hear from you!
We love sharing what day-to-day life looks like for different moms. Here, Jenna shares what two different days a few weeks apart looked like for her as a work-from-home mom. We may get Jenna to share a follow-up soon, as she recently transitioned to being a full-time stay-at-home parent, and her days probably look even more different now!
I’m a mental health professional and I hate the phrase “mental health.” Just like I hate the term “mental strength,” in case you had the joy of seeing that blurb go around Facebook last year. Why? Because it suggests polarity. If there is mental “strength” or “health,” then there must also be mental weakness, mental illness. For the record, mental strength (and by extension, mental weakness) are made up, pop-psychology, BS terms that mean nothing. I’ve consulted multiple versions of the DSM and those phrases are poppycock. That’s right, I said poppycock. Ok, all done there.
We're starting a new series here at TMC entitled, "Mom Confessions". Basically, it's a fun, informal way for us all to gain some solidarity in this motherhood journey, because we all know there are days we could use some! In this, our first installment, we share some holiday-themed confessions, provided by some of the leadership team, past and present.
"As women in this season of preconception through postpartum, we are united by a common thread. We need each other... Your stories remind us why we do the precious work we do. Your bravery inspires us. You are beautiful. We need you. "
Isn't she beautiful? She's simple, easy to use, and, we hope, clear to understand.
Through the years as our organization has grown we have expanded our programming and narrowed our audience. We have grown our connections and simplified our words.
Our first site was (and will always be) so incredibly special to me. It was designed by a dear friend, and founding member, Liz Cook. She poured so many hours of love into the original design, nothing will ever replace it in my heart. Without individuals like Liz this organization wouldn't have become what it is today. We will be forever thankful.
This leads me to our new site. Also a labor of love and also a gift so extraordinary. You may remember our hints on Instagram about two months ago. (If you don't follow us on IG, you probably should, some pretty amazing content is shared there!)
Ben Manley, Creative Director of Knapsack Creative Co., believes in his community. He and his team have worked tirelessly to build a business that delivers quality product to each client. On top of this they have committed themselves to giving back to local nonprofit organizations in need of design work.
As technology and media have advanced, our old site struggled to keep up, and it was time for a new look to convey the heart we have for the women we serve. Learning of Knapsack's desire to serve, we boldly submitted a request for help redesigning and relaunching our site.
We were accepted! Not a week later we were seated in their Daypack office! In one "day" we were able to completely rethink, refine, and redo our site. It was incredible.
We were so impressed by Knapsack's customer service from start to finish. They have a well oiled system for gathering information and treating clients with respect and dedication. Their team of four functions seamlessly. Joy treated us like royalty, Jael refined and culled our content with a keen and observant eye, Jeremy fueled us with never ending coffee, and Ben brought our renewed vision to life.
We highly recommend their work for any creative project you have on the horizon. We can vouch for the passion and joy with which they approach their work.
We'd love to know your thoughts on the new site! We can't wait to see how it better enables us to serve women and change lives. Thank you, Knapsack. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Together, we are "nurturing the mother to grow the child."