MOPS Offers Support for New Mothers

Health,Home & Family,Traditions
April 29, 2010

Group offers support and friendship for new mothers

MOPS groups welcome any woman with a child who is newborn to kindergarten age and is dedicated to the belief thatMOPS co-founder Jan Horner, now a grandmom, lives in Longmont, Colo.Fellowship among new moms is an important part of Mothers of Preschoolers, called MOPS, which has 3,520 chapters in the United States, including a group that meets at a Columbus church.motherhood-clubMelissa Chapman, also of Columbus, with her 3-year-old son, ReidEarly MOPS leaders, including Jan Horner (second from right), gathered in the 1970s in Wheat Ridge, Colo., to encourage and support each other as moms.Mother of five Suzanne Lammert of Columbus, Ind., with son Ben
Courtesy of MOPS International
Courtesy of Jan Horner
Tom Gillem
Tom Gillem
Tom Gillem
Courtesy of MOPS International
Tom Gillem
MOPS groups welcome any woman with a child who is newborn to kindergarten age and is dedicated to the belief that
MOPS co-founder Jan Horner, now a grandmom, lives in Longmont, Colo.
Fellowship among new moms is an important part of Mothers of Preschoolers, called MOPS, which has 3,520 chapters in the United States, including a group that meets at a Columbus church.
Melissa Chapman, also of Columbus, with her 3-year-old son, Reid
Early MOPS leaders, including Jan Horner (second from right), gathered in the 1970s in Wheat Ridge, Colo., to encourage and support each other as moms.
Mother of five Suzanne Lammert of Columbus, Ind., with son Ben
http://pgoaamericanprofile2.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/mother-with-child.jpg

When Julianne Vande Water moved to Columbus, Ind. (pop. 39,059), two years ago, the young mother didn’t know a soul in town other than her husband, Ryan; and their closest relatives were more than an hour’s drive away. Relocating with Ryan’s electrical engineering job, she had given up her pottery store in Madison, Ind., to stay home and care for a preschool-age son and daughter, and was about to give birth to the couple’s third child.

While feeling blessed to be a stay-at-home mom, Vande Water also remembers those days as exhausting, overwhelming and even a little lonely at times—until an acquaintance suggested she join other new mothers who gather twice a month at Grace Lutheran Church to encourage and support each other. At the Wednesday morning gatherings, she discovered about 40 women going through the same joyful but intense experience of early motherhood.

“I wanted a place to make friends, get a break from the kids, and kind of renew myself,” says Vande Water of her participation in Mothers of Preschoolers, or MOPS, a Christian-based organization dedicated to the belief that “better moms make a better world.”

In the process, she was reminded of the three reasons—Oliver, 5, Stella, 3, and Charlie, 1—that she chooses to stay home in the first place.

“It reaffirms that mothering your kids is an important job,” says Vande Water, 36. “You know it is, but it’s reassuring just to have other people say, ‘Yes, you’re doing the right thing.’”

Finding fellowship
The need for friendship and support among new moms is what inspired MOPS’ founding in 1973, when eight women in Wheat Ridge, Colo. (pop. 30,979), gathered one February morning in a preschool classroom at Trinity Baptist Church. While caregivers watched over their children in the church nursery, the mothers sat on child-size chairs and shared stories of early motherhood. They talked, laughed, prayed, drank coffee, made a craft and passed a basket to pay for childcare expenses.

“From the very start, MOPS was a place to come and find friendship, a creative outlet and spiritual perspective,” says Jan Horner, 67, one of the founders, who now lives in Longmont, Colo.

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