Often, I hear and read about Moms criticizing each other: don’t use bumpers, don’t feed formula, don’t work outside the home, don’t let your kid cry it out…you get the picture. We are quick to put each other down; question each other’s parenting skills; and wonder, secretly, all along, if we are measuring up. Are we a good parent, a good wife, a good citizen of the world?

A coworker came to my office one day in July with an amazing story: another coworker is a foster family for two siblings and the birth mother was pregnant again. To keep the siblings together, this family decided to take another child: a newborn, and with only about three days notice. Can you imagine? Preparing for 40+ weeks is still not enough time, but to grow from a family of four to a family of five, with an addition of a newborn, with only a few days notice…amazing.

The foster family (let’s call them the Browns, for now) took in the other two siblings when they are a little older, so the Browns didn’t have any infant gear. The panic in my office that day turned into action. I didn’t have anything to offer besides some burp cloths and receiving blankets: Harper was still using everything a newborn uses. I felt helpless for a minute…until I remembered my virtual mom groups on Facebook. I simply posted the following message on two “Mom” pages:

Donations needed: I have a coworker who is Fostering two older children while the courts terminate parental rights (and hope to eventually adopt them). Their birth mother just gave birth to a baby girl and this family wants to keep the siblings together. That means they will have a newborn in their home either tonight or tomorrow! This family doesn’t have anything for a baby (the other children were 2 and 4 when they came into the home). If you have anything to donate, please let me know. At this point, even boy clothes would be appreciated! A small group of us will come around to collect anything you have this weekend…thanks!

Within 24 hours I had over 40 comments. People were donating clothes, diapers, formula, car seats, strollers, exersaucers…everything. I was absolutely amazed at everyone’s generosity. Moms I’ve never met helping another mom they’ve never met. All the criticisms end when a Mom is in need. I had Moms delivering to my house, letting me pick up from their house, offering their house as a dropping point in another city. When I said I thought we had collected enough, I still had Moms offering help. 

Ms. Brown came to my house that weekend and loaded her Jeep Liberty to the hilt. Every available space was full, and we still had items in my driveway with nowhere to fit. It took me the remainder of the week, brining a load a day to work, to transfer all the donations. I did get to see Baby I when she came that weekend, and she is a cutie! She was a tiny baby, much like Harper. I hope Baby I is as good of a baby as my Harper.

This experience made me grateful for the help of Moms around the county. We all rallied behind a Mom in need, and that’s what it means to be a community.