Lynchburg, VA - A non-profit for moms launched over the summer called the Motherhood Collective.
No one can prepare you for motherhood. Just ask Ashley McGraw.
"When it came to having him, the first couple weeks I was like, wow," McGraw said. "No one could ever tell you."
With family out of state, McGraw found the support she needs to help raise her son Aaydean at the Motherhood Collective. She started attending meetings at 30 weeks pregnant.
"His dad is in the military so he is gone too," McGraw said. "So it's really important for me to have a support group to come to."
Lauren Barnes got the idea for the Motherhood Collective when she was pregnant.
"I couldn't find anything with this type of environment," Barnes said.
So Barnes became a mom two years ago she helped start jump start it all. Founded in 2011 as the Anticipation & Beyond Café, they created a non-profit organization and named it The Motherhood Collective last summer with arms large enough to more accurately serve the needs of our community.
"Our little tag line is nurturing the mother to grow the child," Barnes explained. "We really feel like we want these mothers to be the best that they can be and a lot of women are crying out saying, 'Wait a second! This is so much harder. And I'm supposed to do this alone?'"
Moms don't have to be alone anymore. Twice a month they meet at the Plaza in Lynchburg for educational topics under the umbrella of The Motherhood Café. The other two weeks there's a local playgroup to connect.
There are also bi-monthly evening workshops for working moms and quarterly movie nights.
"Women can take the salad bar approach." Barnes said. "They can take what works for them and leave the rest."
Online the Motherhood Collective provides blogs, a wealth of information on their website and an active Facebook community. It's all to help families in the Lynchburg area.
"Yes maybe we are a small town but we are a town full of families and I think the women of this area deserve this resource," Barnes said. "We're very pro-mama. We want to rally behind our mothers and help them to be the best mothers they can be.