Becoming a mom can be both exciting and overwhelming. The transition from birth to motherhood can be challenging and topics such as breastfeeding can feel intimidating and isolating. Thanks to El Jardin Birth and Family Resource Center (El Jardin), founded in 2013 by a group of mothers who saw an unmet and critical need for education around birth and parenting, women are empowering women through support and advocacy.
Prior to the pandemic, El Jardin offered in-person services, that included support groups, music classes with music educator Maria McCullough, and private breastfeeding consultations. Despite last year’s challenges, the resource center persevered and built a safe community for new parents by shifting to virtual platforms. Nicole Cobb and Lizabeth Berkeley, co-founders of El Jardin, said the need for support has never been greater.
“We’ve seen an even larger need for emotional support, due to isolation resulting from the pandemic,” said Cobb. She said in addition to their traditional classes, they also hosted speaking engagements addressing mental health, stress triggers and relaxation techniques.
Although Zoom groups are nontraditional, they have continued to have a lasting impact on those who attend. One mom from the online breastfeeding support group said she couldn’t have continued her breastfeeding journey without support. “I never would have kept breastfeeding if it weren’t for this group. I’m so grateful for this community,” said a mom from the Zoom Breastfeeding Garden Group.
Naomi Fertman, the third co-founder for the organization, noted that classes, such as “Music with Maria,” have remained active and continue to make a positive impact with new and returning group members. “This class continues to foster social and emotional growth for our little ones… even on Zoom!”
El Jardin continues to closely monitor CDC guidance around in-person events. As soon as it is deemed safe, they look forward to returning to in-person support groups and music classes. If you or someone you know is looking for help with breastfeeding, please feel free to reach out to El Jardin at 915-257-8844.