AP NEWS

Asbury UMC focuses on uplifting mothers

November 25, 2018

Asbury UMC has built a community through their programming by bringing mothers of preschoolers together to help one another navigate parenthood.

Mothers of Preschoolers is an international organization that offers mothers a space to have needed conversations to better themselves and their family.

“During our meetings, the kids go down to the nursery and the moms visit, have breakfast and we watch a video or we have a speaker come in to talk about things that relate to motherhood,” Sarah Griffin, Asbury UMC MOPS coordinator, said.

Griffin said the organization makes it easy for any mother to attend a meeting and ask for help on anything like finding a pediatrician, understanding the local school system or the steps of having a child tested for a learning disability.

“It becomes more like a support system for moms and we just help each other out whenever we can,” she said.

Danyelle Tyler is a Midland resident that said the commute does not stop her or many other members that travel from areas such as Pecos or Seminole from attending the group meetings. She said the greatest resource MOPS gives is just having a community of mothers that are going through some of the same struggles together, which she said fosters an environment of understanding and support.

“I started going about two years ago when I moved to Odessa from New Mexico,” Ashton Ballard, an Andrews resident, said.

Ballard became pregnant with her second child after joining MOPS.

“I had went in for a regular ultrasound and found out that my baby wasn’t getting a good blood flow so I got put on bed rest right there for 2 weeks,” Ballard said.

She said a MOPS member either came to visit her in the hospital or called her every day. After her child’s birth, Ballard was released from the hospital but her child needed to remain in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Ballard said MOPS members stepped up again and brought her meals and drove with her to visits to the hospital.

“I felt so much love from that group,” Ballard said. “The fact that it’s more than just a place to go it was a family that really just helped me out a lot. I have no family here…with all that I went through I could have easily fallen apart.”

MOPS members said takeaways from the meetings include everything from children’s bedtime routine tips to advice for postpartum depression and how to process feelings of isolation.

“A lot of times as parents you feel the stress that you’re not good enough, that you’re not doing enough for your kid or that you just don’t put enough time into you,” Tyler said. “You’re so busy putting all of your time into your kid that there’s nothing left for you.”

Every year MOPS chooses a theme to embrace an idea that they want to share with members.

“This year the theme is finding your fire and it’s all about being brave, finding what you’re passionate about and then doing it well and helping others to light their fire,” Griffin said.

Griffin said MOPS believes that mothers are really powerful, and empowering a mother with resources and companionship has lasting effects that extend beyond the individual.