On Community and Why it's Kind of Everything by Gabrielle Nancarrow
I’m reading a book at the moment called Body Full of Stars by Molly Caro May. It is so good. One line in particular I love and keep coming back to: “I wanted to fist pump every women on the planet”.
Because as women and as mothers we get it. We get each other and our shared experiences. We know the isolation of motherhood, the constant battle to find balance, the guilt, the love, the mundane, the wonder. We are in it together and having a community around us gives us context to what we are going through and the practical help we all need so very much—and the importance of that cannot be undervalued.
Community, connection and companionship is everything when you are a mother. And I really believe that while online connection can be and is amazing, it’s the in-person connection that is really needed and can be profound and powerful. I believe in it so much I created a physical space for women to come together and tell their stories. In our space, we hold circles to bring women together who have experienced or who are on similar journeys and give them a chance to tell their stories on everything from birth to infertility and IVF, pregnancy loss, single motherhood, adoption, surrogacy, abortion, and motherhood. It’s a powerful space to witness, one of non-judgement, vulnerability, empathy and honesty.
The idea for our space, which I called Gather, came to me in 2013. I was sitting on my bed in my New York City studio having just been told that I would miscarry my first baby—our first scan that afternoon revealed our baby had no heartbeat. I was shocked, devastated and felt totally alone. I wanted to talk to other women who understood the complex grief that I was experiencing. I never found that village so, five years later, I created it. And the best thing I’ve noticed since we opened the space two months ago? The tales of honest motherhood that have been shared and the incredible effect this has had on the women who gather with us. They are realizing they are not the only ones finding motherhood hard. They are connecting with other mothers and building their community—building their village. THEY ARE ASKING FOR HELP! This is the biggest and best thing I have seen come out of our space so far. Women find it so hard to ask for help and I am seeing more and more women realize that asking for help does nor mean they are failing. It means the opposite. They know they can’t do it alone—who can?—and that asking for help is a very important step on their self-care journey. If the mother is fed, the world is fed, right?
There is no better or more important time than now for women to gather. We need each other, we need our villages and we need connection. So let’s make this happen. Let’s create a movement so strong that all mothers feel that they have a community to reach out to and ask for help. Let’s connect with other moms in the park, at work, at yoga, at the market, on the street and ask each other how we are—how we reallyare. Let’s talk. Let’s share honestly and openly in person and on social media. Let’s paint a real picture of motherhood. Let us realize there are no failures on the motherhood journey and that we are all trying our best. Let’s never forget that we’re all in this together.
Gabrielle is a mum of two little girls, a birth doula and the founder of Gather, a space for women to come together, connect and build community free of judgement. She is passionate about speaking our truths, sharing our stories and celebrating honest motherhood. Gather is located in Melbourne, Australia and offers workshops, doulas, yoga, meditation and sharing circles.