After meeting one another at a MOMS Orange County class for their 0-5 month old newborns, Orange County women find community and are empowered to pass on their new insights to others while maintaining lasting friendships.
In February 2009, upon graduating from her Mommy & Me class at MOMS Orange County, Nancy Saldana felt a bittersweet joy. She was proud of herself and her spouse for their full completion of the series which taught them about playing with and engaging their baby, being aware of their infant’s development and sharing their experiences with others. Yet, she would miss their weekly gatherings at MOMS Orange County’s Santa Ana site and catching up with other parents who she had shared the highs and lows of parenthood. Since the first eight-week 0-5 month class through to the 12-24 month old class, Nancy had found friendship, guidance and camaraderie among this group of individuals. They had shared many laughs, milestones and proud moments as they saw their nursing infants grow into energetic and inquisitive toddlers.
During the workshops and on the final day, MOMS Health Educator, Gabriela Velasco, talked about preparing to transition into their own Mommy & Me group in their community and how important it was to maintain the group, not only for their child’s health and well being, but also their own. She encouraged class participants to continue the Mommy & Me model beyond their time with MOMS Orange County and spread their knowledge to other members of their community. Before receiving their certificates, Gabriela reminded the group to choose a location and dispersed suggested materials to continue their class on their own. As Nancy and her husband parted ways with their graduating class, they felt hopeful and inspired to continue what MOMS Orange County had helped them begin.
Today, five months later, Nancy leads her group of approximately ten Mommy & Me graduates with the assistance of her friend, Claudia. The women congregate with their babies on a weekly basis at Nancy’s home in Santa Ana and share ideas, stories and activities. Some activities the women have learned together have included singing songs, tips on reading to their baby, arts and crafts and group trips to the Santa Ana Zoo and Story Time at the local library. The lessons they have learned at MOMS Orange County have stretched beyond the walls of the classroom and into their own homes, where they continue to share with their friends, family and community.
“We love the fact that we have the support of each other. Our husbands’ have also been able to get involved,” said Claudia and Nancy. “We have fun and look forward to seeing other moms who are now our friends. It is nice to know that we can find support from each other inside and outside the class and that we are not alone.”