Dear Moms of Children with Bleeding Disorders,
My name is Jenna Stadler. I am a mom to two little boys (ages 2 & 4) with Severe Hemophilia A. I have been going to the Hemophilia Outreach Center since October 2016 when my oldest son was born. I recently attended my first Mom-to-Mom event in November of 2020. After attending my first event, Erica (Program Coordinator at the Hemophilia Outreach Center) reached out to me asking if I would be willing to write up a small article about my first experience with Mom-to-Mom group and my main “take aways”. I thought this was a great opportunity to tell my story and encourage other moms to partake in this group.
As I said above, I did not attend a Mom-to-Mom event until almost four years of being involved with the Hemophilia Outreach Center. I was aware that Mom-to-Mom existed, and I was asked to come and join in each and every one of the events, but honestly, I was afraid to attend. I made up a million and one excuses as to why I could not attend. “I was too shy”, “It was too far of a drive for me”, “I was in the middle of nursing school”, “It didn’t fit into my work schedule”, or “I wouldn’t fit in”. I thought there was no way any other individual could relate to what I was going through. I thought there was no way I would benefit from this Mom-to-Mom group. The list went on and on.
Finally, after 4 years of Erica inviting me to every single Mom-to-Mom, I decided I would give it a chance. How bad could it really be? So, I made the 2-hour drive to the Hemophilia Outreach Center for my first Mom-to-Mom. My entire drive was spent with me being anxious, nervous, wondering what the heck I could say or talk about. But, to my surprise Mom-to-Mom would be the most beneficial and most exciting thing I had done all year. I LOVED it!
Mom-to-Mom provided me with the most welcoming group of “mom friends” I will ever have. It is a judgment free zone where moms talked about their personal stories and provided wisdom for many different situations. It’s a place you can laugh or cry. There were no expectations and no competition. I FINALLY was able to talk to others about my children and the hardships we have experienced due to their bleeding disorder and feel like I was being understood. There were moms who could relate to my situation! Erica and the nurses did a phenomenal job to include me in every conversation and help me to relate to other moms. The events I attended were led by some simple games that spiked conversation relating to bleeding disorders. I also felt that I was able to provide other moms with wisdom and advice regarding some of the situations I have been through. For example, there was a mom who was concerned about her son’s first bleed and how she would know. I remember experiencing these same feelings. The nurses always told me that I would know when my son had his first bleed, and I could not wrap my mind around that. I was so afraid I would not recognize it or would not know what to do. I was able to share my personal experiences with this mom and reassure her that she will know what to do and that her fears were something I had once experienced and was able to overcome.
Mom-to-Mom group is also a great way to get to know the Hemophilia Outreach staff. It is a great place to bring questions regarding your child’s bleeding disorder. For example, with my child being 2 &4 one thing that has been on my mind is preschool. I expressed my concern to Erica and at the next Mom-to-Mom event I attended (yes, I actually came back! ????) She was able to include my questions into a game to start a conversation on the topic. That was a huge “take away” for me because the other moms were able to lessen my fears and provide me with advice on what to do when I reach that point in my children’s lives. Not only was Mom-to-Mom beneficial to me, but it was also something I found very enjoyable and fun. There is also amazing food provided, which I know can be a relief to some of us moms who scramble to figure out what we are having for dinner each night.
I can honestly say that I wish I would have attended Mom-to-Mom group since my son was born. We have all been through or will go through tough times being moms of children with bleeding disorders. This group is a great support for Moms. I know that I will continue to attend Mom-to-Mom to gain relationships, share my stories, listen to the wisdom of other moms, and have a GREAT time! My hope is that any new moms or moms who have not yet attended Mom-to-Mom group will follow in my steps and give it a “shot” because you will not be disappointed! I look forward to meeting any new moms who decide to come!