A year of Empowering Moms
This year has been one of connection and creating community for the Empowering Moms Program. Reaching over 275 women and their children through our support groups in 2022, feels like a wonderful accomplishment for our program, which is not yet 2 years old and is regularly seeking out “New Moms.” In addition, we had over 950 times moms attended all of our events. Helping women as they enter the early years of parenting creates lasting foundations for these families and our community. We are grateful to embrace the spirit of Toto and further inclusive, accessible and empowering community connections.
One participant recently expressed her reflection on attending Empowering Moms groups: “Being around other moms with babies the same age and talking through the struggles helped me so much. During one group, I found the strength to say “I’m not doing okay” and the responses showed me I wasn’t alone even in the darkest days. The isolation and lack of sleep got the best of me in those early months but the routine of going to group and socializing was a lifeline. Reflecting on this year as my daughter reaches her first birthday, I am forever thankful for Empowering Moms for all that it gave me: support, guidance, strength, friendship—the list is endless.”
Normalizing the struggle, while feeling safe and heard in a community setting helps empower women in many ways. Early conversations around maternal mental health can bridge the gaps and fill needs that are becoming more and more apparent through research and news reports.
In 2022, we piloted secondary infertility support groups with Alicia Legget facilitating these. We continue to pursue funding to support those experiencing infertility. These opportunities can help parents feel heard, cared for and encouraged during their infertility, loss and reproductive challenges.
One mom helps express it well: “Going through fertility treatment for recurrent pregnancy loss was an isolating experience for me, marked with uncertainty and grief over lost pregnancies and what we had thought growing our family would look like. After the birth of our son, it felt difficult to know who to talk with about the challenges of parenting while navigating the IVF process in hopes of having another child. I didn’t feel like I fit in with the infertility community anymore now that I had a child, and my ongoing worry about being able to carry a second pregnancy was not typically a topic of conversation in traditional moms groups. The secondary infertility group provided a safe, encouraging place to talk about how I was feeling, and the shared experiences with other moms who were also in the midst of unique fertility journeys made me feel so much less alone.”
Together, Empowering Moms can help women construct the village that they frequently look for in raising children. In addition to fostering friendships and community in our weekly groups, we continue to enjoy an active Toddler Time group every other week, monthly groups in the evening and an opportunity for parents to talk about special interest needs in our workshops and specialty groups. Volunteers currently help to coordinate Moms Nights out, park meet ups, book club and special events. Our Empowering Moms Program appreciates any sponsorship or financial support to further our mission to empower women to gain confidence as new moms through a validating, diverse, and accepting community setting.
We look to 2023 with excitement of all that it can bring to our community.