“It takes a village to raise a child.” As any parent can attest, there is so much truth in this African proverb. It takes community for just about everything it seems, and interdependence is never more starkly highlighted than when you are charged with the task of keeping a helpless, tiny human being not only alive, but thriving.
We recently gathered as a community to celebrate our mom-to-be Tori with a baby shower. It was wonderful to see some of our supporters, our guests, and staff old and new, all together in one room, doing all the typical things one does at a baby shower. We ate, played a silly game, opened gifts, and the other fellow mothers tried not to scare Tori too much by how little sleep is in her future.
It’s been a gift for me personally to build relationship with Tori as she prepares for motherhood. At Love Wins, we believe that one of the six principles of hospitality consists of building relationships based around commonalities, not our differences. So pregnancy was an easy access point for me to begin to get to know her and offer support wherever I could. I’ve appreciated the glimpses of bravery, resilience, and wit she’s been willing to share with me. We like to say that the Community Engagement Center is a place to belong. Knowing Tori has helped fortify that for me because through knowing another mother in the community, I’ve felt even more at home. We may make different choices around how we choose to give birth, or our parenting styles, or whether or not we think little boys should wear blue or green or pink…But that’s the great part about relational hospitality: we honor each other’s agency and choice (which is another one of our principles of hospitality).
We both get to belong.
And as Tori’s community, her village, we’ll be here to support her in the difficult and beautiful time of adjusting to life with a newborn. And for as long as she wishes to remain in community with us, we’ll show her son that he belongs, too. None of us were meant to do this alone.