The beauty of community…

I’m in Texas for two weeks helping my daughter and son-in-law find a new normal after the birth of their daughter Marie.  Marie was born 7 weeks early.  She spent two weeks in the NICU and has now been home two weeks.

Erica had full placenta previa and was hospitalized from the middle of July for bleeding. A cesarean was scheduled for Sept 12…three weeks before her Oct 3 due date. However, little Marie decided to make her appearance on August 18.

It was so hard to be so far away from my girl at such a difficult time.  We already had a plane ticket purchased for me for Sept 11…to arrive in time for the scheduled birth.  After Marie came early, Erica and Kendall decided I should still wait and come on Sept 11 so I could help make the adjustment home.

The only saving grace for me during that waiting time was their church, The Journey Church in Killeen.  Their church was truly the hands and feet of Jesus. They visited them in the hospital. They provided meals. A group came over and tackled their house and laundry after a month of Erica being in the hospital and then Marie being in the NICU. Because Erica didn’t get to come home to Illinois in August and have her planned baby shower, her church is giving her a shower next Sunday while I’m still here.

Then there was the Army Chaplain who checked on them and offered assistance as needed.

I love when the church really is the church.

Erica had planned to breastfeed, but getting a preemie to nurse is a huge challenge.  Erica had been working on it since Marie’s last few days in the NICU. Marie just wasn’t catching on. I arrived last Tuesday and Erica and I decided to give it our full attention. We tapped into the wisdom of the lactation consultant at the hospital and the local leader of the La Leche League.  It was discouraging. There were tears. Erica was weary of pumping and ready to give up. Finally Saturday, on her one month birthday, Marie got it!

It was the accumulated help, encouragement, support, wisdom, and experience that made the difference. That’s the beauty of community!

Every mom needs a mothering community.  This is a group of women she can turn to for help, wisdom, and perspective.  Mothering communities can be found at church, at a moms group, and in your own neighborhood.  They are relationships that are intentionally built because we recognize that we need both help and encouragement.

Erica’s finding her mothering community at her church and her local La Leche League. I think she’s going to try a MOPS group this week, too.

For years, my mothering community was my moms group.  Now that I’m in a different season of motherhood, my mothering community is comprised of several close-knit friendships that I’ve spent many years building.

We’re not designed to do the mothering journey alone.  We need each other.

What about you? Where do you find your mothering community?

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11 Responses to The beauty of community…

  1. kristin says:

    I love this testimony to community. I have four friends whom I’m especially close to and all our relationships started at different points in my life, but now we’re all moms together. One is a friend from college; I’m so thankful we live in the same town! Another is a mom who I kept crossing paths with through activities with our families and kids, so we decided to become friends. Another is from a mom’s group I was involved in just after I quit my job to stay home when my daughter was just 4 months old. And the fourth is a friend from church. I wouldn’t be the mom I am without them.

  2. Pauline says:

    Kudos to all of you for sticking with the breastfeeding until the baby was ready! It will truly be a blessing for both Mom and baby. Most people would have given up and taken the easy way out!

  3. What a beautiful baby! Thanks to God that she and her mom are doing well.

    I was part of the first MOPS group in this area and am still friends with several of the moms I met there. Now we’re in the stage of life where our kids are heading off to college. My friends are diverse and I’ve met them in different places (school, church, cattle shows), but I am blessed to know and have the support of each of them.

    I’ve also made it my personal mission to encourage moms of young children, as I remember how much the encouragement of more seasoned moms meant to me when my kids were little. I especially try to talk to them before and after church as I remember how, when I took my kids to church, it seemed every little peep would surely disturb everyone. When I assure moms that they are doing such an important thing in bringing their kids to church, and that their noises are so much louder to the moms than anyone else, they always seem relieved.

  4. Christine Taylor says:

    I am a home schooling mom. I have only been in our current location for 5 years since just before my youngest was born. I have decided to join a local home school support group and I’m so glad I did. I connected with some of the mom’s from the group over the summer and it was so nice to be with other mom’s who are doing the same thing and being there to support one another. I have a close friend who goes to our previous church in our old hometown. My daughter and her daughter have been friends for 14 years and my daughter was her bridesmaid 3 years ago. We cannot get together often, but we exchange emails regularly, pray for one another and I have just decided to read the book The Resolution for Women (from Courageous and Fireproof series) together.

    I am also building friendships at our church and hope to end up with some really close friendships as a result. One of those friendships is with the mom of my daughter’s boyfriend. My daughter and her young man are in a committed dating relationship and were friends for over 2 years before they started dating. Their interest in each other was apparent to many 🙂 and God just started providing opportunities for our families to connect and we continue to do so. I am attending our church’s Ladies Retreat next weekend and am so looking forward to it. I don’t know who I am being roomed with but I know God will place me where he wants me.

  5. Christine Taylor says:

    I just noticed in my comment above when referring to The Resolution for Women – it should read we have decided to read it together.

  6. Cathy says:

    Jill, she is beautiful, congragtulations to all of you! What a wonderful story of community coming around a couple in need, I always love to hear stories like this! Enjoy your time with your new grandbaby (and her parents 🙂

  7. Sunny says:

    Congratulations Jill! And, to Erica and Kendall as well! So wonderful that they were able to find all the support they needed! Thank you for sharing this story!

  8. Sylvia says:

    Great post. The truth is we all need “community”, no matter what lfe stage we find ourselves in. I don’t know what I would do without my gang of female friends to help me through health stuff, marriage stuff, money stuff, crisis of faith stuff… Life’s too short to isolate.

    As usual, your posts are rich and full of things we all need to hear!

  9. Carol says:

    Congrats on your new grandbaby! I had a preemie who couldn’t figure out how to nurse, so I completely understand the struggle there. Props to Erica for sticking with it!
    When I moved 4 months ago, the one thing I wanted was to find that mom community in our new city. It’s a battle every day for me now, and if I had to choose one thing I miss the most, that would be the answer: my mom friends. My best advice is to find that community while your kids are young so that you have that instant connection. Now that my girls are older, it’s much harder.

  10. Susan T says:

    Very encouraging Jill – thanks for sharing! Congratulations to Erica & Kendall and your extended families. So glad for Erica that nursing worked out! I have heard from more than one friend of an early baby that one month – 6 weeks is a more realistic timeframe for an early baby to really latch on.

    My mom community in the early years was a mother’s group – women who had an interest in promoting natural childbirth and nursing, LaLeche League, and my version of a cyber community was knowing there were other readers of the original magazine Welcome Home – this was before MOPs or the Internet. 🙂 WH was published by a group called Mothers at Home and some of them wrote a book “What’s a Smart Woman Like You Doing at Home?”. Yes – that was pretty much the culture in the late ’80s!

    In early 1994, WH advertised a conference in Normal, IL called Hearts at Home and a couple of friend and I attended. It was a wonderful encouragement to meet intentional mothers and celebrate our calling! And we each appreciated and agreed with the Christian emphasis and returned many times and recommended it to many. How God has blessed this Ministry – Glory to Him!

    Later my mom team became other home educating moms and now that I am almost finished with our school years, and before I could wonder what I was going to do next – God called me into volunteer leadership for Community Bible Study and gave me a dream job as Coordinator. So my mom team has really expanded and become multi-generational, and I am very blessed.

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