BY MARY HOLLOMAN
No one understands isolation like a new mother. Long days at home caring for young children can lead to feelings of loneliness and frustration.
Add to that a global pandemic, and the desire to connect becomes unrelenting.
Just ask Ashley. Ashley and her husband had just given birth to twin girls in 2019. Both girls had special needs, and one required active care in the hospital for several months. Tragically, in the spring of 2020, one of Ashley’s daughters passed away.
Around that time, Ashley found out she was pregnant again.
She and her husband moved to Greensboro in the hopes of starting over, but the road ahead was anything but easy.
“He was an absolute, complete surprise,” Ashley says of her now 2-year-old son. “It was kind of bittersweet.” Ashley and her husband found themselves both mourning a child and celebrating new life. As they began trying to restructure their lives, they knew they’d need additional support.
A Google search led them to The Pregnancy Network.
Ashley made an appointment at the non-profit organization, where she received a medical-grade pregnancy test and limited OB ultrasound, administered by a staff registered nurse—all at no charge. Throughout the course of the appointment, Ashley learned about Connect, a program that paired interested clients at TPN with women from local churches. Ashley was eager to get started.
“I needed that,” she said of the Connect program. “I needed a church, a connection, a friend—a support system.”
Nervous, but hopeful about what sort of friendship could develop, Ashley signed up.
Madison, a mother of two attending Life Community Church, is a self-proclaimed introvert. So, when a friend approached her about participating in The Pregnancy Network’s Connect Program, her first instinct was to say “Thanks, but no thanks.” But after much prayer and consideration, she felt led to step out in faith.
“Although way outside my comfort zone, I felt the Lord leading me to step up and volunteer,” says Madison. “I was already very familiar with TPN and was excited to work with, and encourage, other women in the community through the Connect Program.”
She signed up, went through TPN’s interview process, and was soon paired with a young mom: Ashley.
Madison reached out to Ashley in the summer of 2020, and for many months due to COVID restrictions, their communication remained virtual via texts, phone calls, and even participating in an online Bible study together. For the two young mothers, this connection became a lifeline.
“For me, it was a way to build a relationship and a bond and a strong connection with somebody I knew was going to be there for me,” says Ashley. “It meant so much to me.”
Together, they shared prayer requests, Scripture verses, and encouragement. When Ashley began going into labor with her son, Madison was one of the first people Ashley contacted.
A few months after the birth of Ashley’s son, she and Madison finally began meeting together in person. They gathered for play dates, their children’s birthday parties, and even attended a mom’s group at Madison’s church.
For Ashley, getting connected with Madison felt like being reunited with a lifelong friend. “The love she shows to my kids,” she said, “The love she shows to my family, is irreplaceable.”
For Madison, the feeling is mutual. “The friendship I have found in Ashley has been such a blessing. It’s been so rewarding to watch our children over the last two years grow, develop their own personalities, and achieve little milestones.”
When asked why the Connect Program matters, Madison didn’t hesitate. “The Connect Program helps you build community. It’s so important, especially in this beautifully crazy season of life as a mom, to have people in your life to support, encourage, and pray for you. The Pregnancy Network has offered a wonderful platform for me to reach out to other women in the community to encourage them, as well as point them to Christ.”
While it’s true the early years of motherhood can lead to loneliness and isolation, Ashley and Madison have found that, with a little courage and intentionality, it doesn’t have to.
“There’s nothing like a bond between two friends,” says Ashley.
And no one understands that bond like Ashley and Madison.
The Pregnancy Network exists to empower women to face their unplanned pregnancies without fear. TPN offers free medical services, educational classes, and mentorship to women throughout the Triad and beyond. If you are interested in getting started with the Connect Program, visit thepregnancynetwork.org/connect or call 336-274-4901.
Mary Holloman is the Communications Coordinator at The Pregnancy Network, where she has served in a variety of roles since 2012.