When I was a young mom, I started attending a CFC-O-funded support group for mothers. I was a young, lonely and scared mom with an infant. My husband worked long military hours, and far from friends and family I felt isolated and depressed. It would have been easy and natural to direct my frustrations, anger and fear towards him.
A neighbor invited me to the support group and said it would be a great place to connect with other moms in the same stage of life and make some new friends. At my first meeting we discussed topics of interest to me as a young mom, I met accepting and supportive women who liked me just as I was, and my son was held by loving caregivers who wanted nothing more than to give me a couple hours of peace and rest. But most importantly, I found the emotional, physical and spiritual help I needed. I felt like I belonged in a way I had not felt in a long time and from that point on I was hooked!
We’ve moved many times since then, but coast to coast, the organization has always been there with the same sense of belonging and emotional, physical and spiritual hope I found at my first meeting. The friendships I made there gave me the help I needed though the birth of 3 more children, 5 deployments and endless life struggles. The women I met in my groups were the positive influence I needed when mothering, marriage and military life got rough. Without those friendships to depend on, I’m not sure I could have made it through it all.
The organization also gave me the opportunity to develop leadership skills that now, as a support group leader, I use to help a new generation of moms. As the years go by, the leadership opportunities and responsibilities increase, but the end goal of giving young moms the hope they need remains the same. As the group was, and continues to be, a lifeline to me, I want to extend that helping hand to as many other military moms as I can.
Most recently this led to helping launch a new military mothers’ support group at Fort Belvoir and a second just one year later. There is nothing more gratifying than seeing a woman’s outlook on her marriage, her children, her military life and her future change as a direct result of the hope and support she receives. In this time of increased deployment tempo and financial hardship, it is now more true than ever; change a mom’s life and it changes the lives or her children, her husband and her community. The CFC-O-funded support group not only saved my marriage, but it has made me the mother, woman and leader God wants me to be.