For quite some time, a couple of friends and I have dreamed a joint dream of helping women in the community with a network of resources geared towards pregnancy, birth, mothering and beyond. We all are also constantly involved in multiple volunteer projects, owning our own businesses, raising children and homeschooling. Sometimes I think we’re a bit bonkers! These dreams we’ve dreamed….they’ve taken various forms, swirled around our heads, danced through our sleeping minds….
Ever since I can remember, my friend Trisha has talked about turning an old house into a birth center/woman’s support place. We’ve talked multiple times about buying it, and over the years her idea has melded into my head. While both of us personally choose to have our babies at home, we see that our community needs something in between stuffy hospital with strict policies/agendas and home birth. What if there was a place for these mamas? What if it could accept medicaid? What if it was based on woman-centered care? As more birth centers pop up, we see the practicalities of this reality coming true. This particular place is practically perfect. It has a large main house for prenatals, classes, group meetings, maybe even a storefront. In addition, it has several little one room cottages that would make fabulous birth cottages! A courtyard is in between them. Seriously, I can not imagine a place better suited to the intended purpose…especially one that is already laid out in this manner. Every time we pass by it, I remark with a sigh about it. Unfortunately, the cashola to get that enterprise up and running is just a tad out of both of our budgets. If you, or someone you know, happens to have about $300 – $500,000 extra lying around, be sure to leave a comment below! 😉
Two years ago, Molly and I were thisclose to making some of our dreams a reality with WomanSpace before we realized that we were getting ready to have babies less than four months apart and what in the world were we thinking?!! So, we put our ideas on the back burner yet again. While I was sad at the time, I knew that was the right decision when I spent the first few months postpartum in a haze of depression. I would not have been able to keep up with outside demands as well. I guess the universe knew better than us…
Several months ago, these friends and some other birth peeps met to discuss learning together, supporting each other and bringing more resources/support to our community. After much hard work, sweat and a few tears, Rolla Birth Network was born. For me, this is the culmination of years of working, yearning and learning. Everything I’ve done has been with the intention of providing more and better resources for women/families, supporting them and helping them on their parenting journeys. While I know my own journey is far from over (there’s still so much I want to do!), this is a fabulous little “rest” stop.
On August 4, we hosted our coming-out event in conjunction with La Leche League of Rolla, which we named MamaFest. It was a hit! Over fifty women came to celebrate each other, have some fun and learn something new. It went so well, in fact, that we’re already firming up plans for next year’s event.
I have a couple other projects in the works as well. One of these is another form of support that I felt called to after two close friends and myself experienced pregnancy losses. While I was previously aware that women had miscarriages and still births, I had no idea just how prevalent it is and also how hidden this world can be. So many women/families suffer in silence, have little or no support during the actual miscarriages/births and are expected to pick back up right where they left off. I knew I wanted to help families during these difficult times, but wasn’t sure how to go about it. Enter Stillbirthday, a superior resource for families experiencing pregnancy loss or stillbirth. In addition to stories, pictures, and more, the organization offers a listing of bereavement doulas who volunteer their services. I have been privileged to be a tiny part of this by offering my doula services and now I’m even more privileged to be participating in their first official training. The course looks very in-depth, the trainers have extensive experience and the first book I’m reading is both insightful and compassionate (be looking for a book review soon). While I’m not excited this service is needed, I am excited to learn more about providing it and take that knowledge to the families I serve.
Another project I’m working on involves a couple of personal challenges, one week long and one 30 day long. As my headaches (and overall health, really) have become more troublesome, I am finally making some necessary changes. One change involves diet and the other involves honesty. Intrigued? Stay tuned…..