GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Having a newborn baby is an exciting time for any new mom, but it can also be exhausting and overwhelming — especially for women who don’t have extra help.
A local organization called MomsBloom connects families with volunteers who can provide that extra hands-on support. In the 12 years since it was formed, volunteers have helped hundreds of families get through those first few months with a newborn baby.
An extra set of hands, and a shoulder to lean on can make a huge difference.
The laughter and joy of a silly moment are how these days are for Timmy and his mom Lauren. But those first few days — and first weeks — as a new mom were tough.
“When I think back to it, I tear up. I almost start to cry just thinking about it,” Lauren Frazier said. “The types of support I needed was emotional, physical and practical.”
But like many women, Frazier was hesitant to ask for help. It was her husband Tim who reached out to MomsBloom.
“My volunteer was incredible,” she said. “She showed up and was so kind, so nonjudgmental and just really there to help.”
MomsBloom Executive Director Carrie Kolehouse says that in today’s society, moms are exhausted, overwhelmed and isolated. And MomsBloom is seeking to fill that gap.
We match them with a caring community member who goes into their home and provides them with whatever postpartum support they might need,” Kolehouse said.
The program matches one volunteer with one family to not only get to know them but to also focus on specific needs.
“Whether it’s holding the baby so they can get a nap or a shower — which we know can change lives — or doing laundry or listening and giving mom a chance to tend to her own mental and emotional health,” Kolehouse said.
For Frazier, it was an important first step.
“The biggest thing being a client of MomsBloom did for me was (it) enabled me to become more open to asking and accepting help, even outside of the program,” Frazier said.
Kolehouse says a lot of moms think they need to do it all on their own.
“They brought the baby into the world and it’s their responsibility to take care of it,” Kolenhouse said. “What we hope we can show moms is that they’re going to be a better mom and provide a better experience the more they allow others in to help them. It really takes a village.”
For Frazier, it’s a matter of positioning herself to be able to give the best to her family.
“That’s what help and support has done for me and it started with that experience of MomsBloom. “And having someone come in and say, ‘Hey, I’m here to help,’ and that’s what they did. That’s what she did, and that’s what that organization does. And yeah, it was really a blessing.”
MomsBloom encourages women to sign up before they give birth, because it is one less thing to worry about after the baby arrives.
MomsBloom is also looking for volunteers. A volunteer is matched with one family and typically gives about 4 hours of their time each week.
Details can be found on momsbloom.org.