mothers

education AND support

Motherhood25 (2)

What a beautiful week for us as a staff of The Motherhood Collective. On Saturday we welcomed you to the Café Express. On Monday we held both the Café and our PPMD Support Group. Wednesday brought our Grief Support Group. What a gift to have the opportunity to serve so many women in such different ways. If you are new to our programming this week, welcome. As an organization we long to advocate for a societal shift in maternal health. We feel the way we accomplish this best is through education AND support by connecting you to each other and to your communities.

Education empowers. Education expands our knowledge. Education, on it's own, can also overwhelm and leave us without tools for success. This is where we feel woman to woman support must come in.

It is within the framework of support that women discover variances of normal. It is through the safety of support that women find assurance that they are not alone.

Thank you. Thank you for allowing us to serve you. Thank you for allowing us to learn what it looks like to connect you to each other and to your communities. Again, welcome to our new faces. Please let us know if there's anything we can do to further your education and support from pre-conception through postpartum.

All my love,

PS - Do you follow us on instagram? Here is a peek at what we've been up to this week!

Bravery.

BLUFULLMotherhood_Headshots15

Last weekend our volunteer staff had the opportunity to spend an entire day together. We ate, played, and spent time digging into our own stories - in order that we might be able to better walk alongside you. There was a resounding theme that echoed through the day. We, as a culture, must seek to rid ourselves of assumptions. We must validate the unique stories of the women in our lives. We can walk alongside each other in pain and in joy.

Through education and support we strongly feel there is hope for a societal shift in maternal health.

We acknowledge that we all must become better listeners. In humility and vulnerability, we must also share our stories. For often, healing begins with one person's simple bravery.

Will you join us in changing the culture? Will you join us as we seek to better the health of women from pre-conception through preschool? Change begins with individuals. Change begins with us.

All my love,

d7a195ed-2ffc-4f86-81f9-61e03906f6e5

Baby-Friendly USA - Standing behind our local hospital

TMC_WebsiteSlides_BabyFriendlyUSA

One of the things we most desire as an organization is to advocate for a positive change in maternal health on a community level. It is for that reason that we are proud to stand behind our local hospital (Centra Virginia Baptist Hospital) in their effort to obtain the coveted, Baby-Friendly USA designation. The staff and administration have worked relentlessly to integrate the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding best practices. Baby-Friendly hospitals and birthing facilities must adhere to the Ten Steps to receive, and retain, a Baby-Friendly designation. The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding are:

  1. Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
  2. Train all health care staff in the skills necessary to implement this policy.
  3. Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
  4. Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth.
  5. Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation, even if they are separated from their infants.
  6. Give infants no food or drink other than breast-milk, unless medically indicated.
  7. Practice rooming in - allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
  8. Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
  9. Give no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants.
  10. Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or birth center.

Centra Virginia Baptist Hospital will have their site visit for accreditation by Baby-Friendly USA on March 10 and 11, 2015. They have a request for you, the mothers of our local community. The goal of the 2 site assessors will be to see moms here in the hospital, but they may need to call moms on the phone to ask about their stay. If you were a patient in the last 6 weeks you have the potential to hear from a Baby-Friendly assessor. Questions could include: Was your baby offered a pacifier? How long did you do skin to skin? Was your baby taken from your room? Would you be willing to take the time to speak honestly and truthfully with the assessors? Would you be willing to think about your answers to these questions in preparation? We know your time is limited and precious, and we thank you in advance for considering your response. Together we will support this momentum for a positive change in maternal health in our community.

If you have any questions or concerns, Jackie Weaver (Unit Manager, Mother Baby) would love to hear from you, her office number is 200-4630!

 

For more details about the practices put into place and the road to Baby-Friendly, read on:

The journey to this site visit is what led our hospital to add many of the wonderful processes you may have experienced recently. Skin to skin is now possible for 100% of our vaginal deliveries as long as everyone is stable. We offer skin to skin for our C-section patients as well as long as mom and baby are stable. Even if skin to skin is not possible after your C-section, we have an increased focus on non-separation of mom from her baby. This can include a care partner holding the baby close by in the operating room or mom meeting her baby in recovery. Skin to skin should last as long as mom wants and at least through the first feeding. This process has been very rewarding for our staff as we watch babies transition significantly better on mom’s chest.

Other practices influenced by our journey include rooming in and lactation education for all our staff members. Rooming in helps mom and babies learn to be a team by matching sleep cycles and becoming familiar with babies unique cues. All staff members received lactation education and training. We now have a team of lactation consultants who see moms (formula and breast milk) in the hospital as well as outpatient at our Baby Café.

We are so thankful to groups such as yours for your support and collaboration. Through your discussions, patient experience stories, and questions we have been able to influence the population health of our community. With the support of the wonderful moms in our area, we now have a breastfeeding rate of 90%.

Jackie Weaver | Unit Manager, Mother Baby

Meet The Motherhood Collective© Staff: Liz Cook

Ever wonder who's behind The Motherhood Collective? Over the next few weeks we'll be introducing you to our dedicated team of volunteers. These women are all mothers - once, twice or many times over. While they come from different backgrounds and have various approaches to pregnancy, birth and parenting, each one is dedicated to creating a place where ALL mothers can find education and support.0015 Meet, our fabulous Liz! She's our Webmaster, Photographer and Designer!

Ok to start, this site that you're on right now, would not exist if not for Liz. From the stripes, color and font you see to all the behind the scenes "code", Liz did it all. We are so grateful to her for making our web presence so beautiful, welcoming and FUNCTIONING.

Liz joined us, as many have, by simply attending our Café outreach as a first-time mother. But it didn't take long at all for her to go from receiving to giving back.  Honestly, one of the best ways to describe Liz is "immensely giving".

By trade, our Liz is a photographer. It is her photos that you see beautifully capturing the love between mother and child on every piece of Motherhood Collective promotional material. We benefit from her gifts again and again with each new project.

When she's not keeping this website afloat, designing new products (like our t-shirts she's wearing in the photo above!) or photographing our mamas, she can be found behind the sound-booth on Café Mondays. Keeping our panelists audible can be quite the challenge over our vocal audience of chatty babies.

With dedication, enthusiasm, a constant fresh outlook and an infectious laugh, Liz  has a passion to keep us, "nurturing the mother to grow the child".

Thank you, Liz, for serving the women and families of The Motherhood Collective©.

Community: A Cure for the Mom Wars

Holding HandsCall it what you want, “mom wars”, “mom-petition”, “avocado pointing”, the tension between moms has been getting a lot of attention in the media (or at least on blogs) lately. It seems like all summer long, there was at least one link in my Facebook feed on regarding this topic. This is not one of those posts. Over the summer I posted this on my Facebook wall…

“I know some of you have asked if I need any help now or after the baby comes. I am putting together a list of ladies who would be willing to bring a meal after baby. (My sister in law will be coordinating this). Also looking for one or two women who might be able to come sit at the hospital with me for an hour or two during my stay, in case Josh has to work at some point. (C-section stay is a bit longer and hard to pick up baby on my own). If you are interested in either of these just PM me with your e-mail address or comment here with it. Thank you ladies so much. Blessed to have so many wonderful women in my life.”

What followed was a beautiful string of replies and e-mails offering love and support. But my mother’s reply has played in my head over and over again for the past two and a half months.

She said, “Women helping women birth babies into the world: a song as old as time.”

Isn’t that how it’s supposed to be? It’s not about simply saying “you do your thing and I will do mine”, but reaching out and actively doing life with each other.

As people, there is something deep within us that is designed to live in community. I believe that, as women, we feel this urge on a visceral level-- maybe never more deeply than when it comes time to bring a baby into the world. And yet, gone are the days of mothers, sisters and aunts being the ones by our side as we birth our children.

We live in a time and place where often births take place in a hospital and are attended by a staff of medical professionals we have never met, rather than by the women who know our hearts. We have taken the community and the support out of the birthing process and perhaps, by extension, taken it out of the mothering process as well. For some women, it has led to a return to home births attended by midwives and doulas, mothers and sisters. But for some women, for whatever reason, this isn’t an option. So where does that leave us?

We no longer live in a society where community comes naturally. It seems the days of knowing your neighbors and the names of all of your children’s friends’ parents, have passed. And so we must make our own community. We must choose to be actively involved in one another’s lives. Community isn’t easy. In fact, it is often messy, inconvenient and painful. We have to make the choice to invite people into our lives, and step into theirs. It’s not always easy or comfortable, but the rewards are beautiful. If you are busy investing in and loving on other moms, other women, other people, it’s a lot harder to judge them. When we choose to take an active role in one another’s lives, when we choose to love on one another, when we choose to do true community (no masks, no cliques) maybe the mom wars will fade away.

Meet The Motherhood Collective© Staff: Barbie Sutton

Ever wonder who's behind The Motherhood Collective? Over the next few weeks we'll be introducing you to our dedicated team of volunteers. These women are all mothers - once, twice or many times over. While they come from different backgrounds and have various approaches to pregnancy, birth and parenting, each one is dedicated to creating a place where ALL mothers can find education and support. Meet our Café Monday Mama and C0-Founder! Barbie helped design who we are today, read on to get to know her!

0009Barbie is a mother to many; both physically and emotionally. Encouragement exudes from her and she has walked many of us through our delicate transition into motherhood. When we began the process of forming this organization we knew we would need Barbie at our side. Through our initial days of dreaming and grunt work, she has been a needed voice of reason. Her dedication to women in our community is beautiful.

While her own children are almost all completely out of the home, Barbie continues to remain active in the lives of women in their childbearing years. A registered nurse, event planner, health and childbirth advocate, Barbie is a beautiful soul who delights in enjoying this life to its fullest.

Currently Barbie serves the women of The Motherhood Collective© on Café Mondays overseeing activities in our Café kitchen and continually thinking up new ways to serve our mamas. She consistently sits as a panelist and often leads our small group on Parenthood offering advice that is tempered by her many years of experience.

With an open heart, optimism and constant support, we truly could not imagine this organization without our Barbie.

Thank you, Barbie, for serving the women and families of The Motherhood Collective©.

Meet the Motherhood Collective Staff: Carrie McGinn

Ever wonder who's behind The Motherhood Collective? Over the next few weeks we'll be introducing you to our dedicated team of volunteers. These women are all mothers - once, twice or many times over. While they come from different backgrounds and have various approaches to pregnancy, birth and parenting, each one is dedicated to creating a place where ALL mothers can find education and support. Meet our Director of Hospitality! Carrie is such fun, you should get to know her too!

0002We met sweet Carrie after the birth of her first son, and had the privilege of walking alongside her during her second pregnancy! After observing all the ways in which she naturally encouraged and supported her fellow mothers, we asked her to come on board as our Director of Hospitality in the Spring of 2013.

Carrie's most important task is the organizing of Postpartum Meals. She interviews mothers who have requested this special service; then, upon the birth of their child, sets up a "train" of meals. These meals are provided by other women of The Motherhood Collective© and are tailored to the needs of each postpartum family's needs. She also volunteers her time on Mondays at The Motherhood Café, serving as a Group Leader and an oh-so-valuable Kitchen Worker.

With a mischievous sparkle in her eye and free-flowing laughter, Carrie's creative thinking, hard work and professionalism bring such value to our team!

Thank you, Carrie, for serving the women and families of The Motherhood Collective©.

~~~

Are you a cook? Would you love to serve by bringing a meal to those in need? Do you have a heart for mothers figuring out the postpartum stage of motherhood? Would you like to send a gift card from afar? Email Carrie at hospitality@themotherhoodcollective.org. We would love to add you to our hospitality team!