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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