“It’s the beginning of your journey and it will never be the same as you’ve expected. There are things that will naturally come out without you knowing. There are things that nobody has told you and you wish you have known. But you are strong. You are enough. You are a Mother.”
Are you one of the many mamas who experienced postpartum isolation and felt the need to connect? I remember the quote above. I wrote this when I started the blog last year with the post “Transition to Motherhood: where do I begin? It’s a fresh start!“
It truly takes a village. From my own experience, I knew I have been privileged enough to connect with fellow moms who were on the same boat as me. I am not alone.
Luckily, I met Jennifer Hammer, owner of Sacred Nest Mother’s Village, a Postpartum Doula, and a Lactation Educator, who has built the Postpartum Support Group Calgary and truly deserves a shout out.
I want to recognize her as our MomStar of the Month for being real and genuine in connecting with the community. The postpartum period is not easy and with what she has been through, her experience and passion to connect with others paved the way to help other moms who may have struggled in their postpartum journey.
What is MomStar of the Month all about?
MomStar of the Month shares inspirational stories of women, no matter what background, ethnicity or race; has a great career or not, is a first-time mom or not, it doesn’t matter.
Any Mom is a star in her own ways and with these stories, we share the journey of moms who aim to inspire others and transform lives with a purpose.
We highlight different women in our society, with their spirit to motivate others. A unique opportunity for all of us to hear and understand how these Moms learned how to flourish and balance their lives in today’s overwhelming world.
Want to know more about Jennifer? Read her story below.
1. Tell us about yourself (ex: Family, Children, Profession/ Background, what do you do, etc)
I am a mama of two sweet littles, Ryder (age 7) and Kinslee (age 4). I married my best friend of 18 years and we are always looking for adventure!
My background is in the sciences, specifically forensic studies and I spent a long time working in telecom to support myself through school.
I currently manage my personal business, Sacred Nest, as an intuitive postpartum guide and lactation educator. I also manage and run Postpartum Support Calgary which is a local community-based organization aimed to normalize postpartum and connect families with each other through a variety of meetups, events and services.
I started out as a Holistic Postpartum Doula and Lactation Educator and expanded my role into Belly Binding and trained to work as a group facilitator for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. I recently completed my Reiki Master certification and I am looking forward to adding this energetic modality into my services as well.
2. As a Mom of 2, what keeps you busy at the moment? How do you manage your day to day activities with your children?
Oh man, this is a loaded question!
I would say I am always living a very full life. I’ve been really mindful about trying not to use the word “busy” too much in my vocabulary because I think in a world of internet, social media and modern parenthood, we are all busy.
I love my work and what I do, yet adding on schedules with children and appointments can make work feel overwhelming at times. I love to be organized but I am far from any sort of balance. Right now, I would say I manage my days with a full tank of gas, a whole lot of coffee + my old-school style day planner! Ha!
3. How did you start the Mother’s Village and the Postpartum Support Group in Calgary?
Our first pregnancy was lost to a missed miscarriage and the experience was so profound for me that it led me on the path I walk today. The feelings of isolation that I experienced around my loss was something new to me.
After my son was born, the isolation in postpartum was further compounded due to my anxiety of being a new mom and from the unresolved emotions I carried with me from our loss. I felt a deep desire to shift the view of postpartum so that we could normalize the many paradoxes and feelings that new mothers experience.
I decided I needed to work in the realm of post-birth and certified as a postpartum doula and lactation educator.
As I began working with new families, I discovered so much familiarity in others. It became quite apparent to me that a large missing link in postpartum was access to a supportive community.
I knew that although I loved working one on one with each family, what I really wanted was to see these families brought together in a way that created a Village for them.
Parents need to tell their stories to other parents. They needed to be seen + heard and to sit in circle with each other.
They needed to know they were not alone, no matter what stage of parenting they were in.
I started facilitating a local support group + meetup through Dr For Moms called Sacred Nest Mothers Village, where we could create a space to provide a sense of understanding, acknowledgment and community.
I foster an environment with a parent-centered approach and therefore we always welcome littles of all ages from newborn to school age.
Our topics revolve around parenthood and postpartum specifically and I am very intentional about not “teaching” parents how to do anything with their children because I believe their intuition should and will always lead the way.
The Village has been meeting every month for over 4 years now! In order to connect on a more regular basis and frequency, we expanded the Village into Postpartum Support Calgary in which we offer weekly meet-ups, events, exclusive discounts to local shops and makers, a lending library, meal planning and so much more for families who are looking for community here in Calgary.
The Mothers Village is always FREE and open to the public so anyone can come join us!
4. How do you find time to organize other moms in your community while being busy with your own kids at home? What keeps you going?
I think this has to be hands-down the hardest part of my work. Managing my own personal life with kids and organizing events + meetups is not so easy.
Time is so limited and for me I really need to make space to get things done.
I used to spend a lot of nights working late after the kids went to bed. It’s funny because we spend so much time in the early years of motherhood wishing to sleep full nights again and when we finally get the opportunity, we stay up too late savouring all the quiet alone time we get.
I don’t think I have found a rhythm to the madness yet, but I am getting better at scheduling time during the day to focus on work and organizing our events. Sleep is so crucial and I just can’t sacrifice it much anymore.
The thing that keeps me going is the simple fact that this is heart-work for me.
I’ve thought many times about stopping and throwing it all in, because truthfully, at times, it can feel really overwhelming. But this is what my heart is called to.
My desire to work in the realm of postpartum is connected to my soul and so although it may shift as I change and grow, I don’t believe I could ever stop doing this work.
5. What do you think is the most rewarding part of being a mom?
For me, the most rewarding part of being a mom is really feeling truly in your power.
Motherhood gives you a whole new perspective on life. I am forever changed. I no longer view things the same as I used to; peoples opinions matter a whole lot less to me now and I have a renewed confidence in what my body and mind are capable of that I have never had before.
My kiddos are my heart + world and nothing compares to it. I can’t say I would even be doing this work if I hadn’t become a mom myself so for me, it was truly life changing.
Oh, and doing all the fun things we would never really do as kidless adults is super cool! We love to take our kids on adventures and seeing their excited faces just about takes the cake on all the hard that comes up in motherhood.
6. Leave us a message to all Moms who feel they are alone or simply those who struggle with Motherhood.
I know it sounds cliche, but I would say first that YOU ARE DEFINITELY NOT ALONE. We all struggle in some way or another. The key is vulnerability. I believe this wholeheartedly.
If you can be honest and vulnerable, even to just one other person, when it comes to your struggles, I think anyone will soon realize that there is a sea of women out there with similar experiences and feelings.
So please, share your story and keep talking about your joys, fears, struggles and triumphs.
This is how we connect with others and create community <3
Did you miss our MomStars of the Month Line up for 2020? Check them out!