Ministry aims to get mothers to Square One

Rebecca Hoeffner/Staff Adrianne Miller with her two boys, Joshua and Jachin, and Starla Lawrence pose for a photo. The two women will be two of the leaders in Grace Community Church’s Square One Ministry for first-time mothers

First-time mothers will soon have an opportunity to learn from those who have gone before them in a class offered by Grace Community Church in Tyler.

"It's called ‘Square One Ministries' because you start as square one with each baby," said Starla Lawrence, one of the mentors who will be leading the program.

The program is based on a successful model at Watermark Community Church in Dallas. The program consists of seven weekly classes. The classes start Sept. 9 and will be held from 9 to 11:30 a.m. on Tuesdays for first-time mothers with children up to 5 months old. There is a $10 registration fee, and registration opens at on Aug. 3. Mothers are even encouraged to bring their babies.

"We don't get easily flustered by that," Mrs. Lawrence said.

The ministry will fill a gap that new mothers often feel, Mrs. Lawrence said.

"There are things for mothers of preschoolers, but when you have a new baby and are overwhelmed, all you want to know is what the next week is going to look like," she said.

Mrs. Lawrence gave birth to her first of four daughters in Germany in 1981 while her husband was serving in the Air Force. There was no social media, and though she was surrounded by other mothers, they spoke another language. She often drove long distances to meet with the other American pilots wives who were stationed there, she said.

"We were there for each other," she said. "Whether moms are in their 20s, 30s or 40s, first-time motherhood is terrifying."

Adrianne Miller is one of the five team members; mothers who had a baby more recently and will be able to help new mothers navigate the way motherhood looks today.

Mrs. Miller had her first son in December 2011 and her second in February.

"I was really eager to get it all right (with my first son)," she said. "As a mother who was 31, I felt a lot of pressure to do it right all at once because I was older than a lot of other moms. I had a lot of neurotic crying moments. My sister-in-law forced me to come out of the house to the park and play. I said, ‘I can't come out of the house and show everyone I don't have it all together,' and she said ‘It's OK, no one does.'

In an age of social media curating, all new moms often see is other moms' happy photos, which can be discouraging when you have a baby that won't stop crying, the two women said. The new class will be a place to be honest about struggles.

"We won't be talking much about personal preferences, like whether to use cloth or disposable diapers, or whether to breastfeed or bottle-feed," Mrs. Lawrence said. "We are going to talk about how God is not going to leave you alone, and how to you take care of yourself and your husband and still be a good mom. We want to lift their chin to look past the next dirty diaper. There is power in knowing you are not alone."



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