by Alexis Barad-Cutler (NSFMG Founder)
“This was probably one of the most life changing experiences I have had.” — K
When the women behind Totum, Hello My Tribe, and Motherhood Understood and I conceived of something that would unite all four of our communities, we had an idea that we would spark something special. But we didn’t expect that when we all threw in our respective energies, and mixed them with thoughtful, brave, empathic Austin mamas — it would result in a blazing fire.
Our Austin event was beyond anything we could have imagined.
The space — Craft — a DIY creative outpost (with proportions you can’t find in NYC) invited the perfect space for letting go, and airing out feelings that we had been keeping pent up inside.
After a brief panel discussion and intro, we broke out into four groups that each centered around a theme that resonated greatly to each of us four founders: For me, as the founder of Not Safe For Mom Group, I was interested in how these moms (many of them new moms) were dealing with feelings of Shame and Guilt with regards to motherhood. My cohorts respectively took on the topics of: Mental Health (Jen Schwartz, of Motherhood Understood); Career (Erin Erenburg of Totum), and Self Care (Alex Winkelman Zeplain of Hello My Tribe). Attendees got to attend two different tables throughout the event, so that their experience wasn’t limited to just one theme.
In my two groups, we talked a lot about the early postpartum period, and how difficult that is, and how everything is just so freaking hard. Some moms had endured very traumatic birth experiences that were completely different from anything they had expected — one mother talked about nearly dying from childbirth complications. We talked about our anger, and how easy it is to get angry. We talked bout feeling guilty for being angry, feeling guilty for the way sin which we are not doing everything right. We heard from SAHM’s that worry that they’re messing everything up at home and from full time working moms who worry that they’re messing up by working outside of the home.
For many moms, it was the first time they had said these things out loud, or had heard other women admit that they were struggling, too. That is fucking powerful. And that is why I believe that talking circles, meetings, mom groups are so vital to our functioning as women, mothers, partners, and basically every other identity and duties we fulfill in our lives and the lives of those who depend on us.
When my friends write up their summaries, I will link them here, so you can read their POV’s from the day. I know that everyone left feeling uplifted, connected, and nourished. Austin moms — can’t wait to see you again.
For Photos, see below! They were taken by the talented eye of Angela Doran Photography. If you’re in Austin and you need a professional photographer, Angela is BEYOND.