'God Is at the Center of Everything at Expect Hope'
Note: We asked young mom Bethany Barnes to share and expand on her experience volunteering at Expect Hope.
After I had my daughter, Poppy, I found some extra time on my hands as well as a passion for being with other moms. Early motherhood (well, really all motherhood), especially those first few weeks and months, can feel so vulnerable. You are home with a precious life in your hands, overwhelmed with emotions, a little confused, and still healing from the profound event that just happened. Being with other moms, sharing experiences and being able to talk about what's going on is so grounding and necessary, but sadly, there are not many structures in place for postpartum support. While difficult, my experience really provided clarity: I knew I wanted to work with moms in some capacity moving forward.
I found Expect Hope through HFNY, and it was such an answer to prayer! Expect Hope was exactly the type of ministry I wanted to get involved in: one that was about building relationships with mamas and mamas to be, all the while getting to do it with my P! Expect Hope is such a beautiful representation of what support for moms should look like, from birthing classes to resting and postpartum guidance. New moms are allowed time to bond with their little ones in a home called the Expect Hope House and get to know them in a safe and cozy space. But the best part is that God is at the center of everything. I believe pregnancy is a miracle and that God is displayed so clearly during this time of a woman's life. While that newborn smell is heavenly, resting assured that God loves you and your baby more than you ever could is where true peace and comfort is found as a mother.
Before COVID, I was traveling up to the Bronx once a week to spend a few hours with a young mama and her son at the Expect Hope House. Her resilience, despite everything she had been through, is honestly just insane. It’s hard to imagine what her life would be like if she wasn’t at the Expect Hope home. I’m so thankful Expect Hope exists for women like her. Our children are only a few months apart, so it is very fun to share stories, expectations, advice and just be together in this season of motherhood. Post COVID lockdown, and once things settled down a little, we began meeting at different parks around the city. It’s been so refreshing to reconnect in person and see how much her son has grown.
Establishing trust and creating this friendship is taking time, but it’s the one thing we do have. Building this relationship also takes courage, consistency, and prayer—three things I’m both failing at and working on. But God is good and gracious, and I believe he is working in me and through me, however that may look. It’s an honor to be a part of the work at Expect Hope!
Photo provided by Expect Hope