In the basement heading up: climb aboard!

by Leslie Lytle on May 30, 2012

I love getting in on the ground floor of a project. Which is exactly where we’re at with the development of our non-profit arm, the OmMama Resource Center. Or perhaps more accurately, in the basement. The planning we do now is the foundation for what is to come. We want to get it right. We want it to meet the needs in our community.

At OmMama, we envision a world where every family has the resources they need for the strongest start into parenthood, and we want to be the instigators for making that vision become reality right here in River City. The OmMama Resource Center board, as mothers, childbirth educators, prenatal yoga instructors, social workers, and doulas, believe that knowledge is the key to power. And having opportunities to practice using new knowledge in a safe, non-judgmental, supportive  environment helps women and their partners build the confidence and skills they need to become the best parents they can be.

As we look to the possibility of improving the local ecology of birth and early parenting here in Richmond, we envision three pillars to our work, summarized in our tagline:

move  • learn • connect

Under the move pillar, we envision programs that promote and support physical health and wellness, such as our signature prenatal and postnatal yoga classes, and other fitness programs that are specifically designed for the needs of pregnant and postpartum women. There is no better time to start taking the best possible care of yourself than when you are pregnant. Yoga’ not your cup of tea?  We hope to have a range of programs that fit a variety of needs that women in our community may have with regard to their physical health during pregnancy.

Under our learn pillar, we hope to provide programming in how to choose a care provider, evidence-based childbirth preparation, nutrition for the childbearing and early parenting years, breastfeeding classes, informed decision-making – all the many factors that parents, especially first time parents, encounter as they chart their course through pregnancy, birth, and early parenting.  What we’ve heard from our students is that it can be hard to access resources like these: we want to make affordable childbirth and early parenting information accessible, fun, interesting and very cool. After all, what’s cooler than being a confident parent?

From our perspective, social support and connection is the third rail of the childbearing experience. We’ve seen over and over again how friendships and social connections formed in our prenatal classes continue on for years as moms go on to form playgroups and mom’s groups – in essence becoming an extended family for one another. Having a tribe is truly important for both mental and physical health, and science backs this up. So we envision move and learn programs that have opportunities for connection built into them, as well as programming such as facilitated peer support groups where members of our community can come together to learn with and from each other.

And we’d really like to know what you think.

As someone who is pregnant or is contemplating a pregnancy, what resources would you like to have in place to support you in your journey? What needs and desires are would you like to see fulfilled?

As a professional who works with women and families before, during, and after childbirth – what do you see as our community’s needs for our childbearing women and families? How can we support you in your work?

As someone who’s been there, done that, what do you wish you’d had in place when you were pregnant or in the first couple of years of parenting? What worked for you? What would you like to see changed? What can we do better as a community?

There’s a fourth pillar to our work, and that is that we hope to inspire – and be inspired by – positive conversation and action. Let’s start a dialogue. We’d love to have your input as we establish the basement and ground floors of our organization. Please share your thoughts in the comments and/or on our Facebook page. Think big picture. Together we can make Richmond a mother/baby/family friendly city.

Can’t wait to hear from you!


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Diana Thompson Vincelli May 31, 2012 at 12:27 am

Hey, I recognize that beautiful little baby butt !!
This is a beautiful beginning for OmMama, and everything sounds like what I would have loved when I was pregnant and with young babies. Go for it with love and light!


Cheryl June 1, 2012 at 2:09 am

Lovely aspirations that will aid moms-to-be into lovely early motherhood! If there is anything I can offer as an experienced mom of multiples, I’ll be at the ready! Wishing you all—and all expecting little ones—great success!


Ann June 7, 2012 at 5:21 pm

Seeing the phrase “the ecology of birth” reminds me of the first time that I saw young girls leaving hospitals alone with their newborn infants. My brain kept asking “What is wrong with this picture?”


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: