For the past 9 years I have had the privilege of being apart of a moms group; specifically, MOPS (Mothers Of Preschoolers). I had no idea what I was signing up for so long ago. Life was busy with two kids: a two year old and a newborn with health issues. For the first 5 months of our son’s life we were constantly at the doctor’s office and specialty clinics on and off.
Our son was born with a condition called Tethered Cord Syndrome. Something we had never heard about. So many questions and scary thoughts plagued my mind all the time. Why did this happen? What did I do wrong? What will happen to our boy? When your mind and body are so completely exhausted from the newborn stage, let alone the newborn stage with health issues, it’s just hard to think straight.
My mother-in-law saw my struggles and immediately knew I needed some sort of support and outlet. Being a seasoned mother herself, she recognized my need for other moms. One day, she recommended a MOPS group meeting at the church I was attending at the time. (I think she figured the convenience factor would play heavily into my decision to give it a try…) At the time, I didn’t know what the group was or what they did or if it would be a fit for me. To be honest, I didn’t even look up what it was ahead of time. I was desperate for some friends that were in the thick of parenting just like me.
After registering over the summer, I patiently waited for September to arrive when the group reconvened. Suddenly, it was finally the day! I remember I got up extra early so I could get myself and the kids ready to go on time. I way over-packed the diaper bag and got those little ones buckled up in the car. We made our way to this so called MOPS group hoping to find community.
On the way there, I called my mom. I was having second thoughts about it. In fact, I was actually afraid… I mean, what was I doing?! I didn’t know a single soul. But I remember my mom so kindly said, ” Janna you are going to be just fine, people always love you and your smile.” I thanked her for the pep talk, and pulled into the parking lot. I sat for a moment, to take a deep breath.
Walking up to the door, I was greeted by two amazing women. The smiles on their faces felt welcoming, and like a breath of fresh air. They directed me inside and told me where to go. I dropped off my little ones in childcare, hesitating a moment before another staff member reassured me they would be just fine and to go enjoy some time to myself. Those words were like gold at that moment. I walked back towards the room for the moms and discovered it was thoughtfully and beautifully decorated… just for us. There was food and coffee, and suddenly my heart began to sing. I found my assigned table and sat down. Everyone was so friendly and kind. I remember loving every minute of it.
By taking a scary leap and putting myself out there, I suddenly had other moms to talk with about all the good moments, and the bad. Women who checked in on our family and truly carried for all of us. That community of mothers became my saving grace.
To this day I still attend MOPS. In fact, I eventually transitioned into a leadership position. It has carried me through motherhood. I allowed myself to say “yes” to something that was out of my comfort zone. In return, I gained so much – all because I took that step into the unknown. It delivered all it promised to do. It gave me a community, support, laughter and a place to be me.
Nine years ago, I was an overwhelmed and lonely mom, struggling to fully step into my new role of motherhood. Thankfully, I was able to reach out and find a community of women who came alongside me through the many emotions and struggles and obstacles of life over the years. I am forever thankful for these experiences, and humbled by all the love and support I’ve been offered.
Over the years, I’ve come to realize we as women and mothers are amazing! The words we speak into each other are so sacred and precious. So, with this in mind, be the light for others, not the darkness. See the woman next to you as a friend, and invite her into your circle. Include the ones you don’t know on a walk or to play with your kids. You never know what may come out of it. Because we all need community, we sometimes just don’t know the first step to take in order to get it.
“You Must Go On Adventures To Find Out Where You Truly Belong.”
Peace and Love,