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April 12, 2017

THE BIRTHING CIRCLE :: REBUILDING THE VILLAGE

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It’s a common phrase, “It takes a village to raise a child.” It’s true. But in the midst of our ever growing society, we have lost the village. We are more and more disconnected, distracted and living under the microscope of social media. Postpartum depression along with other anxiety disorders and birth traumas are on the rise.

These women and families need a village, and that is where The Birthing Circle of Frederick is trying to bridge the gap.

When I was pregnant with my first, I chose hospital midwives for my care. Thanks to them, they connected me with The Birthing Circle. I was a first time mom, no clue as to what to choose as options, or even what my options were. The online and in person support the group offered guided me through my pregnancy as my midwife did. But nothing and no one could prepare me for the wrath of postpartum depression. I slowly and silently slipped deeper and deeper into the darkness. I didn’t have a village. I had minimal support and was afraid to reach out for help.

I became afraid of myself. I was afraid my baby would be taken from me. I was afraid to be alone with my baby.

It was many long agonizing months before I started to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  In the midst of those dark days, I did have one place to turn —The Birthing Circle. It became my little village. A therapist reached out and offered help. Another mom turned into a close friend as we carefully shared our scary experiences together. More and more, I felt supported. I felt heard. I felt safe.

Recently The Birthing Circle took another turn and became an official 501(c)3 non-profit. President Jessica Kent’s mission is to rebuild the long lost village from pre-pregnancy to post-partum and beyond, supporting families in the season of most need. I knew how much these women saved me, and got involved in a more official role as well — not only to share my story, but to help support and care for those mothers and families with the essential village. Society today still shames pregnancy, post-partum, and mental health: We must quickly return to work, and have it all together. We must never show we are struggling.

That stigma needs to be broken, and The Birthing Circle is doing just that. From creating and offering The Frederick Doula Project, providing doulas to low-income and marginalized mothers, to offering in person support meetings and education, The Birthing Circle is on track to rebuild the village. Because at the end of the day, that is the greatest need during the journey of parenting.

View The Birthing Circle’s list of resources available to pregnant women and mothers in Frederick County here. (They also have lists for Carroll County and Montgomery County.)

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BY MARY NEUBAUER

Mary Neubauer became involved with The Birthing Circle as a first time mom with a young baby, seeking support. As her passion for birth and community ignited, the Birthing Circle was also growing, and Mary was approached to volunteer her time for the cause. The Birthing Circle obtained its 501(c)3 status in the fall of 2016, and Mary gladly accepted the position of Vice President to support the mission to build community and improve birth.

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