Pregnancy is such a remarkable, life-changing event that it’s easy to get sucked into the black hole of baby oblivion. (It’s even easier to get pulled into babyland when your job revolves around all things maternal.)
One of the best things I have done in this life and especially during my pregnancy is taking a break by taking the time to give back for all the blessings I have received. When you’re stuck up there on cloud nine (and rightly so, pregnancy is definitely the best time to focus on your own needs), it’s easy to forget that there are people in the world that are less fortunate.
I am so lucky that I come from a family that embraced service projects and made them a constant part of my childhood. I can remember donating clothes, working as a volunteer at church service projects and taking food to the elderly from a very young age. As I entered college, that volunteer mentality became even more nurtured and developed. While working during several Spring Break weeks for the Hurricane Katrina Recovery Project in New Orleans and the surrounding areas, I not only learned the importance of helping those in need, but I also found my true self in the process. I now know that we are all connected and that through helping others, without even meaning to, you actually help yourself in return. Something I plan to instill in Braxton.
Our little guy, in fact, participated in his first service project this past weekend. There’s a wonderful place in Atlanta called the City of Refuge, created to help families who are struggling to make ends meet by providing food, shelter, job placement, healthcare and education. Brack and I (and Braxton) worked at a carnival for the children. Each smile, each hug and each opportunity to hear a family’s story made an impact on our hearts, our lives and our community. And just as simple as that, I forgot all about stretch marks, nausea or exhaustion.
Volunteering can be one of the best ways to reinvigorate your spirit and renew your energy when you’re feeling just a little too pregnant.
Here are some easy ways to lend a helping hand (bump in tow!):
• Soup kitchen—Contact your local soup kitchen or homeless shelter to sign up for a time to hand out food.
• Donate—Clean out your closet and do some good. Give away anything that you think you won’t wear after the baby or anything that will be out of style.
• Mission—Find a mission center or shelter and sign-up to provide a service (like hair cutting or teeth cleaning).
• Non-profit organizations—Volunteer for organizations close to your heart like March of Dimes, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the Ronald McDonald Foundation or your local children’s shelter.
• Habitat for Humanity or Disaster Recovery—Now is not the time to pick up a hammer (leave that up to your partner) but you can volunteer to provide meals and drinks to the workers.
• Walk—Sign up to march for a cure, to save babies or for any reason at all. Remember to go slow and stay hydrated.
• Random acts of kindness—Bake cookies for your local fire department or volunteer to walk your elderly neighbor’s dog.
Do anything and everything you can. I promise you won’t regret it! Go ahead and get moving …
Lots of love,