Awaiting the birth of my first child in 1981, my mom’s best friend, Linda Bicum—one of the first volunteers in the Perinatal Positive Parenting Program (as it was then called)—found out I would be delivering at Beaumont and sang the praises of the program. When a volunteer came to my room after Dan’s birth, I was grateful for the opportunity to talk about nursing. It turned out that my volunteer was nursing her second child, so it helped put me at ease at a time when nursing was not always accepted.
Shortly after, I was invited to join a group. It was fun and informative because sometimes the dads were invited and we had outstanding speakers. Not too long after that, I became a volunteer in the program. I loved working with the moms in the hospital and doing home visits with them. Naturally, it followed that I became a group leader! I had two high-risk groups: One had all teen moms (such a challenge getting everyone together because I was the only one who could drive!), and the other had older moms at higher risk for post-natal complications.
Group #3 is the group that still meets 29 years later! These women and their families have become my family. We began in May 1984 and will celebrate 30 years together next Mother’s Day. The breadth and scope of the Parenting Program permitted others to join our group: one, the daughter of a delightful friend from church, had a 3-month premature infant, and the other a local mom who had adopted a son.
The Mom’s Group (as we call ourselves) has done everything together: from infancy, nursing, sleeping issues, siblings, girls nights out, family gatherings, dads playing golf, celebrating graduations, and even a few divorces. We shouldered one another in terrifying times and times of loss, and have celebrated every achievement and joy. We began when a physician come to talk to us, (as well as an Oakland County marine officer about water safety), and are now beginning conversations about social security! We have two grandchildren among us (we don’t how, because we are all 34 at heart.).
The Beaumont Parenting Program is the forum for some of our greatest joys and we deeply love one another. With gratitude for this gift, we celebrate with you at this landmark time.
– Nancy (Hendricks) Kelly