Resilient and Joyful Parenting with the AC/DC Method

By April Hadley from Grand Rapids Center for Mindfulness
I have been a parent for just over 14 years. I think that should make me an expert. In fact, if I gave a significant portion of my time and energy to almost any other subject for 14 years straight, I am confident I would feel some measure of competency. But these rules do not seem to apply to parenting. In fact, most of the time, I end up feeling fairly incompetent which is to say I am never 100% sure if I am choosing actions that are helpful to myself or my children. The feeling of “not sure” seems to come with the territory of having 3 kiddos in my life who are constantly growing and changing from their shoe size to their food preferences to their social groups. Each change requires me to start building my competency all over again.

Rather than resist our feelings of incompetency, we can learn how to embrace them with a method I call the AC/DC of parenting (inspired by the heavy metal band AC/DC because everyone knows rock bands and parenting have a lot in common – especially the loud, messy, stinky parts). AC/DC is less a parenting method and more of a foundation upon which we can build the parenting journey. AC/DC has made me a more mindful, resilient, and joyful parent and modeling these attributes to my children is the most powerful gift I can give them on this journey through life.

What is the AC/DC of Parenting?

AC/DC stands for awareness, compassion, do-over, and community. Here is a brief description of each of the 4 main layers of AC/DC along with a couple of practice links to help you get started on your journey.

Awareness: Mindful awareness gives us clarity around our present moment experience. When we have clarity, we can begin to acknowledge when the parenting journey is going well as well as when it is a struggle. It is easier to move into the next layer of AC/DC parenting when we can let go of shame and can be clear about our struggles. Practice: 3-Minute Breathing Break

Compassion: When we are clear about our struggles, we can offer ourselves compassion. The majority of us spend a lot of time beating ourselves up over every perceived parenting mistake. Parenting is hard. We all mess up. Rather than meeting our mess-ups with harshness, we can learn to meet our experience with the soothing touch of self-compassion. Practice: Self-Compassion Break

Do-over: Learning how to do-over is a vital part of the parenting journey. It is also an exquisite practice of self-compassion. Do-overs allow us to stop in the midst of a parenting struggle and begin again. A do-over has three elements: 1) Take responsibility for your actions 2) Ask for permission for a do-over and 3) Wait until everyone is ready for a do-over. A do-over may sound something like this: “I am sorry for yelling at you. I would like a do-over. Please let me know when you are ready.”

Community: We all have our limits as parents. When we ignore our limits, we are likely to become anxious, irritable and angry. Rather than seeing limits as a bad thing, we can learn to view them as a gift nudging us to ask others for help. When I encounter a sticky spot in parenting (such as getting my kids out the door for school), I will ask a friend ahead of time if I can call her when I get stuck. Just knowing I can call helps me feel less helpless.

Start your journey of AC/DC parenting today! And when all else fails, find something that makes you laugh. In that spirit, I leave you with these words: “When my kids become wild and unruly, I use a nice, safe playpen. When they’re finished, I climb out.” -Erma Bombeck

Power of the Flower

For every day in 2016 I will be wearing a flower.

The flower will be my reminder to be better and do better in my daily life and through the work I do with MomsBloom. I promise to fight even harder to reduce the stigmas that exist around mental illness, IMG_3363specifically perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.

I have been witness to an incredible outpouring of kindness and support following the death of Sasha*. I realize these intense feelings of unity will diminish as time passes and as we move on with our lives – even though many lives have been forever transformed. In my own small way I want to keep the sense of unity alive and be reminded of the many heroes that give so much daily to make sure women have the support they need.

I’m inviting others to join me, in wearing a flower, for a day, a week, a month, whatever inspires you. My hope is that the flower will continue to link us all and create a field of blooms.

Let me know if you decide to participate by emailing me at bloom@momsbloom.org. I’m developing cards** that can be handed out as people inquire or comment on the flower. To reduce stigmas we need to start with education.

Here’s how you can participate in the Power of the Flower campaign:

~Flowers can be any color, real or fake, big or small. They can be placed on a shirt, a purse, in your hair…wherever! Friends have offered to make or purchase flower pins for those that need them. You can send a request to bloom@momsbloom.org.

~There is no pressure to wear the flower for any particular length of time. It can be for a day, a month, a week – whatever inspires you.

~Take a picture wearing your flower and post it on the MomsBloom Facebook page and include the hashtag: #poweroftheflower or if you post it somewhere else, please include #momsbloom so we can easily find you in a search. Randomly throughout the year, I will select a name from the posts and send that person flowers.

~Feel free to add other organizations related to the #poweroftheflower mission; it’s a great way to connect us all and learn about the many great resources available.

Additional thoughts/ideas to post with your picture:

  • Name your hero. Who has supported you or has been there when you needed someone most? Who inspires you?
  • What are you doing in your daily life to stop stigma or raise awareness of PPD?
  • Is your flower in honor or in memory of someone? Let us know, so I can honor them too.

Let’s BLOOM and smother the stigmas that exist around mental illness!

*Sasha Naomi Hettich (Lewis), aged 27, passed away December 25th, 2015 after having lost her courageous battle with postpartum depression

**The cards are currently being developed. I’m consulting others about the best information to include. With limited space, I want to make sure I have the best possible information to share!

Building the Village…How One Mom Has Made It Her Mission

By Stacey Figg, Volunteer Extraordinaire 

This past June I decided that it was my time to give back, to really come full circle in my journey as a mom. Since hearing about the MomsBloom organization several years ago, I have always wanted to become a volunteer to help other mothers in the community. However, I had to wait until it was the right time for my family and me. I’ve “worked” in a number of capacities over the last 5 years that revolve around women’s health and motherhood. This has really become a true passion of mine especially since fighting thru postpartum issues with my firstborn.

I understood the mission behind MomsBloom as well as their vision, but what I didn’t know was how my experience as a volunteer was going to affect me as a person. Going thru the training process triggered a number of emotions within me as I reflected back on the first few months after both my children were born. Back then, the emotions were fierce and the struggle was real. Shortly after the training my journey began.

I have to say that my volunteer experience thus far has exceeded all of my expectations. I’ve given countless talks at institutions, conferences, and support groups, but nothing could have prepared me for the emotion I felt and the bond that was created once I met the family. It was so fulfilling to feel that immediate connection with another mom and I could tell it brought some relief to her as well.

The mom I am working with had given birth to a beautiful baby boy this January. Unfortunately, things haven’t gone as expected and her experience as a new mom has been anything but textbook. She has struggled in a number of ways, most of which I could relate to and some I could not. We shared stories as well as our struggles and when my time was up we shared a long hug. I made a promise to her (and her husband) I would come every week for as long as I could until we found the light at the end of the tunnel.

Thru this short interaction I learned, once again, that giving someone hope when all hope is gone, is priceless. With each experience, I could feel myself channeling my inner strength her way while guiding her thru the dark tunnel. I have taken great pride in watching her progress. Along with hope, I was also able to provide her with a sense of “normalcy” that we sometimes lack as mothers. It’s normal and ok to be in your pajamas, not shower for days and slack on every household chore known to man. In my opinion, motherhood is one of the most selfless acts you will encounter in life. And sometimes we are just too hard on ourselves, constantly second guessing our parenting decisions and are so quick to judge when things don’t go as planned.

Taking care of a small baby, trying to take care of you and finding the fine line in between is a daily struggle for most moms especially in those early days. I’ve come to learn that I’m supporting more than just a new mom but a blossoming family of 3 that is trying to find their new norm. That means not just taking care of mom and baby but also supporting the father as well.

The family is so grateful for my time and the resources I’ve been able to provide as they transition into parenthood for the first time. We all know this task can be rather daunting especially when it doesn’t meet our society’s inflated expectations. As I drove away that day, I knew I was right where I was supposed to be, I could feel it in every sense of the word.

Parenthood is challenging especially as we learn to balance our life with that of a little one, a little one that is completely dependent upon us. No one tells us how hard it may be or what to really expect. Everyone’s journey is different from conception, to pregnancy, all the way thru labor and delivery. We each have a different experience none of which are exactly alike. I know I can’t save every family from the demons and dread of postpartum or make motherhood easier at the snap of my fingers. But as mothers, we can lock arms and walk side by side thru this journey together, upholding one another. Along with MomsBloom, I want to create a voice, a sounding board, and a place free from judgment where we can openly share our triumphs and supposed failures. After all, it takes a village, so lets create one!

About the author: 

Stacey and her husband, John, are the quintessential, proud parents of two…Riley (5) and Rowan (3). She’s worked full time inside and outside of the home and just about every where in between. Stacey will openly tell you that it’s much easier to go to work every morning than manage a house full of little people. 

After suffering from severe postpartum issues (due to PMD), Stacey has made it her mission to inspire other moms by sharing her journey. It’s not just her story that she aims to spread, but also honesty about motherhood and the parenting profession in a non judgmental capacity.

How Do I Play with my New Baby?

By Danielle Boog, MS, OTR/L and Courtney Joesel, MA, CCC-SLP

Bringing home a new baby from the hospital is a scary thing. Especially as first time parents, it is overwhelming to make sure that all of baby’s needs are met. It takes hours of your time to make sure your new child is fed, changed, and sleeping at least okay. At some point, things become a little more routine, and you may find yourself wondering “what’s next? I have their basic needs met, but how do I interact with this new little being?”

It is never too early to start interacting and playing with your child, even if you don’t feel like you are in a routine yet. By interacting with your child in different ways than meeting their basic needs, it may help to relieve some of your stress. The most daunting question when thinking about interacting with your baby is “how? My child doesn’t speak yet or seem to interact with me at all, how can I interact with them?” The following are a few ideas as to how to get started with interacting with your new bundle of joy and promoting their development in the process!

Engage Their Senses

Even if your baby seems like they are not aware of the world around them, their senses are ready to take it all in! Show your baby the things that you are interacting with, and tell your baby about them as you do them. Show them different textures, and let them feel them on their skin. You might not see any reaction from baby, but know that they are taking it all in and it takes them longer to process information. Repetition is key, and they will respond the more they are exposed to sensory experiences.

Sing Songs

The fluctuation in your voice as you sing (no matter how off key) is calming and rhythmic for baby. Repetition happens so much in songs, and this is a great way to expose your baby to language over and over. Making silly faces along with the songs will help engage your child and keep them interested in the song. Movements to songs such and rocking them bouncing them (gently!) help to engage their motor system as well.

Let Them Move

Baby’s motor system is ready to explore their world around them too! By placing them on the floor either on their back or stomach (tummy time), it will help them start to explore their new world. Baby’s reflexes will help them explore their world, with mom or dad really close to facilitate the interactions and keep them safe. It’s recommended and necessary that baby experiences different positions instead of just on their back. Don’t prop your baby in sitting, for example, if they can’t get there on their own yet. Give them time to learn to enjoy new positions, and be there for support and encouragement as they figure out how they engage with their new environment around them.

Narrate Your Day

It is important for language development to expose your child to language as soon as possible. As you go around your daily routine with baby, narrate what you are doing, “I have one sock, now I have two socks!” Point out objects in a room or while in the car.  This is another great way to develop vocabulary.  By hearing language on a daily basis and a variety of vocabulary, it will aid in language comprehension as well as language production later in development.

Read Out Loud

It is never too early to start reading books to your little one. Keep the books in the beginning simple, with more bold pictures and contrasting colors and less words. When you read, it changes your intonation and prosody, leading to increased word recognition. Point out pictures of details of the pictures, such as colors, shapes, and parts of the object. It’s also another great way to get baby snuggles!

Have Fun

Enjoy the time spent interacting with your new baby. Make it fun for both you and them, and know that there is no wrong way to play with your child. Any interaction is great for developing skills, and bonding with you. The more fun and sillier the games, the better it is for baby’s brain!

Ask Questions

If, after trying these activities multiple times with your baby, you feel like they are not changing how they are responding to you or making eye contact, do not hesitate to ask questions to your pediatrician or see out occupational or speech therapy services. It never hurts to ask! You know your baby better than anyone else, and gut feelings should not be ignored.

*Danielle Boog is an occupational therapist practicing in pediatric services for 3 years. She enjoys promoting development in infants and supporting their parents by giving them the necessary education to feel confident in promoting these skills. She has three children of her own, and has learned so much about interacting with children from them.

*Courtney Joesel is a speech and language pathologist who has been providing pediatric speech and language therapy for 5 years.  She loves watching children explore their world and assist in developing the language necessary for development. 

Both Danielle and Courtney work at BRAINS located at 3292 North Evergreen Dr. NE in Grand Rapids. More information about services offered there can be found at brainspotential.com.

Doula? What’s That?

By Cassie Schultz, Founder of Over The Moon Doula Services LLC

What’s a doula? I get that question a lot and I love answering it! Doulas are professionals trained to provide practical and emotional support to families during pregnancy, labor and delivery and the first few months of a baby’s life. There are many types of doulas, but the most common ones are birth and postpartum. Both birth and postpartum doulas are filling gaps in maternity care by tending to the emotional needs of mothers which might be overlooked by caring but busy healthcare providers.

Birth doulas are actually present for the labor and the delivery of a baby. The support we provide mothers is strictly non-medical; as a popular quote goes “doctors and midwives care for women from the waist down, doulas care for them from the waist up” (source unknown). During labor and delivery the birth doula may assist the birthing mother with comfort measure such as positioning, massage and breathing techniques. We also help you understand options you may not even know you have and talk you through any decisions you are faced with.

You may be wondering, “What about the dad?” When the birthing mother has a partner with her, the doula is there to support the couple and coach the partner to support the mother. Sometimes, the birthing couple has a great rhythm and doesn’t need interruption. During these moments we are able to step back and give you privacy, but you have the peace of mind knowing that we are close by when you are ready for our help again!

People often ask if you have to have a “natural” birth to have a doula. I am happy to tell you that at Over The Moon Doula Services LLC, we work with families in a variety of situations. We help you acquire the knowledge you need to make informed choices and support you in those choices. Are you planning an unmedicated home birth? We can ease the intensity of your contractions with a firm “double hip squeeze.” Think an epidural will be the way to go? We can help you get set up with a peanut ball which could shorten your labor time! Planning a Cesarean? We will help you with calming techniques to make your birth peaceful and joyous.

By now you’re probably thinking, “That all sounds great, but are there real benefits for me and my baby?”

Birth doula support has been shown through research to have many benefits for laboring women including lower rates of cesarean sections and shorter labors. The babies of mothers who had continuous labor support are less likely to have low Apgar scores (source: the evidence for doulas).

Birth doulas typically stay for a few hours after birth to make sure everyone in the family has had their needs met and assist with breastfeeding, if the mother chooses to nurse. One postpartum visit within the first few weeks of the baby’s life is typically provided.

But what after the baby is born? Does doula care have to end with a single postpartum visit from the birth doula? Of course not! Enter the postpartum doula. Postpartum doulas act as guides to coach parents through their journey of postpartum recovery and caring for their newborn (whether you’re having your first baby or your fifth!). Postpartum doulas offer many types of support including: emotional, informational, and practical.

Our emotional support includes really being there for parents. We ask mother’s and fathers how they are feeling and really listen to answer. Are you feeling anything less than pure bliss about the arrival of your baby? It’s all right, you can be honest with us. We understand that parenthood includes and ups and downs. Sometimes these ups and downs are a normal part of the process. Sometimes it’s something more, which is why we screen for mood and anxiety disorders such as depression and lead families to the resources they need for recovery.

We teach parents about baby care. Are you feeling at nervous about diapering, dressing or bathing you new infant? Do you have questions about breast or bottle feeding? What about using your fancy new baby wrap or carrier for the first time? We can help with all of that!

You may be thinking, “All this information and support sounds great, but what if I just need some help?” We’re here for that too! Many parents feel shy about asking for help with basic house tasks like dishes or laundry, but as postpartum doulas that is part of our job! We want to keep everything around you running smoothly so you can focus on caring for yourself and your infant.

Here is one last compelling reason to consider adding a postpartum doula to your care team; research has shown that postpartum doulas also offer many benefits to families including lower rates of postpartum depression and less abuse (source: DONA). 

If you think a doula might be a good fit for your family but want to learn more you can locate a few local doulas and set up free consultations. If you are in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area you can find me and the rest of the Over The Moon team at www.overthemoondoula.com.

Not in Grand Rapids? Other sites that can help you find a doula include Doula Match and DONA


Cassie Schultz is a DONA certified postpartum doula and newly trained birth doula and has a bachelor’s degree in behavioral science. She is the founder of Over The Moon Doula Services LLC. She serves families in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area and has a special interest in supporting families through cesarean birth and recovery and perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.

Reading Really Is Fundamental

By Vonnie Drudy
With all of the recent snow-mania and freakin-freezing-record-setting weather we’ve been dealing with as of late, nothing sounds better than cuddling up in a soft, warm wubbie with your baby or toddler and sharing a good book. I seem to recall that before the epidural had even had a chance to wear off after the birth of my first baby, I had signed up for automatic deliveries of Dr. Seuss books. In retrospect, this was one of the best things I could have done for myself and for my baby!

I asked my firstborn, now almost 22, what she remembers as some of her favorites from the Seuss shipments, and she readily recalled “The Foot Book”, “Horton Hatches the Egg”, and “Are You My Mother?”, penned by P.D. Eastman. We also reminisced about some of our other favorite books from her childhood:

  • “Goodnight Moon”, by Margaret Wise Brown
  • “Love You Forever”, by Robert Munsch
  • “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?”, by Bill Martin, Jr.
  • “Guess How Much I Love You”, by Sam McBratney
  • “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom”, by Bill Martin, Jr.
  • “The Rainbow Fish”, by Marcus Pfister
  • “Time For Bed”, by Mem Fox
  • “Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks from A to Z”, by Richard Scarry
  • “Corduroy”, by Don Freeman

This list could literally go on for pages since our family’s library grew weekly (“Hi, I’m Vonnie, and I’m a shopaholic”)! In my research for this post, I found an article entitled Building Baby’s First Library: 25 Must-Have Books on Parenting.com and I was gratified to see that many of our beloved tales had made this list.

Books have always been one of my favorite gifts to give, too: cookbooks for Mom, Auto-Biographies for Grandpa and Motivational/Self-Help books for me (from Santa, of course)! When my kids graduated from high school, I gave them and their best friends another Dr. Seuss book to add to their collection: “Oh, The Places You’ll Go”. I sincerely hope this Dr. Seuss “shipment” starts or continues to foster a love of reading for all those kids, and their kids to come.

“So be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact. And remember that life’s A Great Balancing Act. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed) Kid, you’ll move mountains.”

-Dr. Seuss, “Oh, The Places You’ll Go”

Blog: Trust Your Instincts

By Vonnie Drudy, MomsBloom Volunteer

I call them Mama-Wanna-Bes. Also known as your mother, mother-in-law, nanny, babysitter, hair stylist, nail tech, lady behind you in the check-out lane at Meijer…you get the picture. They are the ones who start their sentences with “When my kids were babies…” or “Well, I f I were you…” or “Have you ever thought of trying…” Generally speaking, there is zero malice in their intentions and after all, they have been-there-done-that, so why shouldn’t they share their knowledge, right?

In response to these do-gooders, I have learned to appreciate the subtlety of what I call the SAN technique (Smile And Nod).   Oh, please do not confuse this with condescension, but rather think of it as a way for those who wish to voice their opinions, or share their experiences, to have their moment in the sun, while you practice the SAN technique, taking in what makes sense to you and letting the rest go.

As new moms, we are starving for information. Who, what, where, when, why, how…YES, YES, YES! The temptation is to become a sponge and soak up every drop of Mama-Wanna-Bes’ advice; but what about our own instincts? No one has more questions than a new mom, I mean you are solely responsible for this adorable, drooling, babbling, bundle of joy and it is as scary as it is exhilarating. We can learn to strengthen our own intuition and flex it like a muscle.

But between the Facebook posts, Mommy blogs and What to Expect While You’re (fill in the blank) books, you may feel more nauseous than you did in your first trimester!

Here is some good advice I was once given:

  • Find a Mommy-Mentor – the Mommy you most admire and whose advice you already trust
  • Find a great Pediatrician – the kind where you can hear the smiles in the nurse’s voice when you call to ask about whether peaches or pears would be best to start with
  • Trust your instincts – you know your baby best and you know when there is one more burp left in him or if she hasn’t wet enough diapers today

It has just occurred to me that I may be a considered a Mama-Wanna-Be just by writing this post. So if you found yourself reading this with either a smile or a nod or both….don’t worry, I’m not offended.

*Vonnie Drudy is a Sales Operations/Marketing Analyst for Verizon by day and a freelance writer and MomsBloom volunteer by night. Vonnie’s hobbies include reading, movies, decorating and yoga. Her favorite part of volunteering with MomsBloom is connecting with moms and snuggling with babies, all while waiting for her two college kids to text her back.

Blog: The Best Gift of All ~ Extreme Self-Care

By Vonnie Drudy, Volunteer Extraordinaire

Halloween costumes put away? Check!

First snow fall? Check!

Holiday music on the radio? Check!

Yes, it’s that time again – the season for giving: giving gifts, giving parties, giving to others in the most loving of ways…but have you forgotten someone on your list? Are you giving to yourself?

I know you are probably not the first person on your list (and you may even be the last at times) but remember what those perky flight attendants always advise us to do? That’s right, put on our oxygen mask first! Before the baby, before the significant other, and before Grandma (yes, even Grandma). This is sage advice so why should we limit it to air travel? Think of it this way – if you don’t take care of yourself first, how can you take care of anyone else?

Here are some ways to give a gift to yourself everyday:

  • Nourish: Your body needs good foods and drinks to refuel
  • Rest: Your body needs to rest and recover from each day
  • Connect: Let nature and spirituality refresh you from the inside out
  • Move: Get the blood flowing in any way which feels good to you
  • Relax: Nix the electronics for a while in favor of reading, meditating, and breathing
  • Reach out: We all need daily conversation, laughter and support

Practicing these forms of extreme self-care is not selfish, in fact it’s quite the opposite…it’s a necessity. When you are rested and joyful and at peace, you can afford to share your gifts with others.

When a friend calls for an impromptu play-date, you will be nourished and rested and ready to go. If the neighbor needs you to watch their dog (or even the twins!), you will be relaxed and focused and able to take pleasure in the gift of time you are giving to others. Too often we let ourselves get run-down and lending a hand becomes an unwelcomed burden and we may even resent it.

So, here is my gift to you: I’m giving you permission to give back to yourself. Take a warm bubble bath, stream your favorite music and lock the door! Buy a new pair of yoga pants at whatever size you are now, and wear them while you stretch and move and breathe.   Make a healthy smoothie, get a massage, buy a new lip gloss, get your hair trimmed, take a nap, bake a cake, clean out that junk drawer you fall asleep fretting about (or maybe that’s just me)? Either way, give to yourself that which gives you the most joy and bliss and peace…think of it as your invisible oxygen mask.

Blog: A Family Story ~ Markanetta

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ~Maya Angelou

The best part of my job is hearing stories from families who have been transformed by MomsBloom. Recently, Markanetta shared her beautiful story (see below) about first struggling as a new mom, then bonding with her MomsBloom volunteer, and ultimately finding her calling in helping other new moms. A simple act of kindness that has made a lasting impact.

I’m proud that MomsBloom resets the expectation meter for motherhood. Our mission is to build strong families – through peer support and advocacy – to successfully navigate the challenges of early motherhood. We reinstate the support network to help parents meet a more realistic set of expectations. The goal is not for mom to be superwoman. The goal is not to be a perfect parent. The goal is to have a healthy, well-adjusted mom who can raise a happy baby into a healthy well-adjusted child, thus helping to build a strong family. ~Sara

Markanetta’s story:

After I had my son in August 2011, I found out about MomsBloom through a postpartum depression and anxiety support group. I was suffering from severe anxiety and often felt overwhelmed. I struggled as a new mom and I found it difficult to take care of myself as I prepared to return to the workforce. The group facilitator told me that MomsBloom had a program where a volunteer would come to my home once a week to provide company and an extra pair of hands to help with my son. I was thrilled to get additional support because I was often lonely at home and knew that having some company would help lift my spirits.

I had a lovely woman visit me on Wednesday evenings. She watched my son so I could clean or rest. She was a former teacher who had recently become a grandmother. We bonded over discussions about our children and her grandson. Each week she brought books, blocks and other toys for my son to play with, and she enjoyed spending time reading to him. She had a special way of getting my son to fall asleep, which gave me a much-needed break. I looked forward to her visits because I knew I’d get a recharge and engage in some self-care to better interact with my son. I didn’t have many visitors, and she made me feel not so alone. She was such a blessing.

It was a very hectic time in my life and unfortunately, I do not remember my MomsBloom volunteer’s name, but I will never forget the impact she had in helping adjust to my new role as a mother. Her kindness and compassion really touched me. The postpartum period is a time of significant physical and emotional changes that is not often talked about in society. Although I have recovered from postpartum anxiety, I will never forget what a difficult time in my life that was and how MomsBloom helped me. I feel called to help other new parents gain the resources and services available to them in the community, particularly low-income and families of color. I am currently in graduate school for social work and hope to one day advocate for families affected by postpartum and anxiety. ~Markanetta