The Mothers’ Space

The post below, by Balanced Breastfeeding mama and co-owner of 4th Trimester Support Libbie Feichter, gives some of the details of a new project I am honored to participate in. This is what I have been hyping in my newsletters the past few weeks and I am excited to share more about it with you now. To be clear, this is in addition to the amazing support services my colleagues and I offer at The Birth Center. I will still be at The Birth Center seeing clients five days a week and running breastfeeding support group every Friday from 1:00 to 3:00 and big babies group the first Monday of the month at 10:30. I am narrowing down my candidates to bring on an intern to work worth with me so we can continue to see even more breastfeeding mamas at The Birth Center.

The Mothers’ Space is another place for moms to go. All mom–formula feeders and breastfeeders. It is a place to get away from the same four walls of their homes and find friendship with one another and guidance from trusted experts in a safe and non-judgmental environment.

Together, we are creating The Mothers’ Space.

Despite my excitement, I’ve been having a hard time telling people what The Mothers’ Space is actually going to be. I think that is because it doesn’t fit in a typical mold and I also don’t want to get all hippie and flowery about it. I find myself defining what it is not: it’s not a yoga studio, it’s not a PPD group, it’s not a gym, it’s not a club.

The Mothers’ Space is a gathering place. It is a place to go—away from the monotony of your own couch and apart from a hectic world outside. This is a space to honor and celebrate mothers. Because you, Mom, matter. Mothers matter. We are creating a space to hold our combined experience—our own experience of great joy and connection in community and our experience of sadness, isolation, and frustration. The Mothers’ Space is about nurturing and connecting women as they grow into new and unfamiliar roles. This is not The Baby Space. Yes, you can bring your baby (and your baby will learn and grow, too), but this is about you. You the woman, you the mother, you the partner, the wife, the employee, the sister, the daughter-in-law. This is a place that supports your entire experience, from your greatest triumph to your darkest defeat.

As part of my own journey, I have had the privilege to learn from wonderful teachers, therapists, and specialists. These women really see me. They listen and hear the message between my words and they look and understand the story behind my eyes. And in their listening and hearing and looking and seeing, they have taught me to see and hear myself. They have held space for me and in doing so, they have taught me how to hold space for myself. Above the chatter in my head and beyond the noise around me, they have taught me to honor myself without judgment or reservation.

The Mothers’ Space is dedicated to providing the same nurturing support, dedicated to holding the same space for connection and growth so that all mothers can find space to honor themselves, above the chatter and beyond the noise.

Photo Angie Gray

This is a space where mothers can come and let their guard down. Where you can whip out your boob or a bottle of formula without fear of judgment and without having to explain why or detail the entirety of your feeding journey. We are creating a space where mothers don’t say annoying, trite things to one another. Where you can say, “This is hard,” without hearing, “But it’s so worth it” or “He didn’t sleep all night” without hearing, “Remember, it goes so fast.” In this space it’s okay to be honest about what motherhood looks like for you at this particular moment—whether you are loving it or hating it—without apology, explanation, or guilt. The Mothers’ Space is about creating room for you. Room for you to be seen, room for you to be heard.

Yes, there will be fitness. This space is for moving your body, but moving your body in a way that feels good, that is nurturing and healing. Yes, we offer fitness classes, but they are intended to rebuild core strength and the pelvic floor. We are not here for weight loss or bodies that look the “right” way.

Yes, we offer yoga classes, but they are not about twisting yourself into a pretzel, they are about creating space and time to nurture your body and mind together.

Yes, there will be classes to nurture and stimulate your baby, but these classes are for you too, Mom, because being a good mom means nurturing yourself as well as your child.

Yes, there will be support groups open to every mom, where sing song-y platitudes are not part of the program.

Photo Angie Gray

Yes, there will be experts. The experts we have gathered together are well known as the best in the region in their area of specialty:  Katie Madden RN, IBCLC, Anne Duch MPT, WCS, RYT,  Elizabeth Kerrick , Jessica Apel, D.O., Malina Spirito, Psy.D., M.Ed. … and the list is growing.

And, yes, there will be coffee (and, yes, you can drink coffee if you are lactating; you can also drink wine, which will be available during our Mom’s Night Out).

The Mothers’ Space is for the messy, gritty, beautiful business of being a mom. We are not creating a highlight reel of pretty pictures. We are creating a safe, comfortable retreat for real moms, where sugarcoating is for M&Ms. We are creating space for a community of mothers dedicated to nurturing support, connections, and growth.