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Celebrating the Resilience of Mothers

Posted on July 3, 2018 by in


Our theme for this year is Building Women’s Resilience, and we chose this theme for a lot of reasons. We know that our community deals with a lot of hard situations. Infant mortality is twice the national average. Maternal mortality and severe maternal morbidity is still a crisis in the community.

The thing that has kept our community going is resilience. The ability to meet challenges with strength, with creativity, with continued hope, and in the face of adversity is what we are celebrating. The mothers and families with whom we work are deeply resilient.

I asked our staff members to each pick a photograph that represents resilience to them, and I wanted to share some of them with you. This is mine.

If you’re a parent and have seen this image, remember back to that moment, to remember how it felt. How scared, how excited, how vulnerable, how sad, how hopeful you felt. I cried each time with my three beautiful boys, who I am so proud to mother. Every single time, I felt so full of emotion when I saw that. I felt terrified, excited, and every emotion in the world when I saw that image in front of my eyes, and I know I’m not the only one. So I want you to think about that little moment – that little word on a plastic stick that means everything has changed. But you don’t have proof of it yet, other than this little plastic stick and you’re not going to show that to everybody. But I thought I’d show you all this one because this little yes on a plastic stick turned into this.

This is my youngest son. We call him “Blueberry” because he was the size of a blueberry when my oldest sons found out that he was going to be a part of our family. And he’s Blueberry to this day, although now that’s he’s a bit bigger, he’s graduated to “Blue.” He is an amazing little soul and he makes me smile everyday. I always remember back to that first moment – that first “yes” on a little plastic stick that told me he was going to be part of our family, and all the feelings that I first felt. That represents resilience to me.

But some of our staff members shared pictures of the resilient women who have come before us – women who been our role models, our champions, been resilient for us when we couldn’t find resilience in ourselves. Seeing ourselves in the long history of resilience for us helps us be resilient for women in the next generation. 

I appreciated that some of our staff shared images of becoming those resilient woman themselves.

This is a moment that happened at our conference this past year, where we focused on domestic violence and pregnancy. This is a moment between two of our staff members, Vanessa and Sherita, at the conference about an experience that was shared. I’m really honored every day to work with this team and all my staff.

There is no one who demonstrates more resilience than the mothers and families that we have the honor of serving. These powerful woman overcome mind-blowing obstacles every single day, but they shouldn’t have to, and that’s where we come in. Our job is to have their backs and to help make it just a little bit easier when all the odds are stacked against them.

375 tushies diapered.

Think about the simple dignity of being able to change a child’s diaper. That’s a basic moment of parenting.  It happens multiple times a day, every day, for years. And not every parent in our community has the ability to buy diapers. So we’ve been increasing our diaper distribution this year as one of the many ways that we are here for the families we serve. If you leave diapers at our office, we will get them where they need to go. Because every parent should be able to change their child’s diaper. It’s a basic human need and part of parenting.  We want to support every mom and every family, because every baby deserves that.

Zero.

Zero is my favorite number every year because it means zero infant deaths in our Healthy Start program. Infant mortality is twice the national average in Rochester, but it doesn’t have to be. Within the Healthy Start program where we serve some of the most at-risk moms in our community, we had zero infant deaths this year. This tells me that it’s not biology, it’s not fate – it’s about getting moms connected and giving them the support that they need to have healthy pregnancies. Healthy Start is eradicating infant mortality and we are so proud to be part of it and so proud of the mothers and families who made it happen, thanks to the support they received. They have achieved a tremendous victory, which is every precious baby born ia still with us today.

 

Written by Lauren S. Deutsch, Esq., Executive Director for Healthy Baby Network


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About Deanna Spiotta

Deanna is the Communications Director for Healthy Baby Network.