How has the “mom community” changed your life? Being a mom may not always be an easy job, but we can all make it a little easier by supporting one another. Medela Recycles Ambassador Stephanie Barnhart shares how her life has changed since becoming a mother and why she’s helping us spread the word about our new pump recycling program.
We are so grateful for your support of Medela Recycles. What inspired you to join us as a Medela Recycle Ambassador?
It’s such a great program that allows moms to help other moms seamlessly. Since becoming one myself, I have realized the necessity and power of the “mom community” and being able to pass on something that another mom in is need of is a great feeling. I love the Medela brand and what they stand for – plus my breast pump got me through many days and nights – I have pumped standing up in dirty NYC bathroom stalls, the Steelers football stadium, road trips to Pittsburgh, and client’s offices in the middle of meetings. My pump has allowed me to be a mom and still be able to be myself. If recycling my breast pump means that this can happen for another mom, then that’s the best gift I can provide.
What about Medela Recycles speaks to you?
I have been to see friends who have had babies in the NICU and it’s heartbreaking – especially to see new moms feel so detached from their children. Medela’s donation of new hospital grade pumps to Ronald McDonald Houses can help these mothers reconnect that bond by allowing them to breastfeed their child when they might not have been able to due to financial strains. That’s the last thing you should have to worry about when it comes to your children’s growth and health. Thanks to Medela, we’ll be able to help moms nationwide connect with their children. Those first few days are the most critical for that. These little steps will ripple far into the lives of these children as they grow up.
How does your role as a mother influence your work with Medela Recycles and RMHC?
Once I became a mom, I saw the world as a completely different place. I realized that as a mother, it was not only my responsibility to raise my own son, but to also be a role model because not only was he watching and mimicking me, so was everyone else. I realized this once when we were out to dinner alone on a road trip to Pittsburgh. A stranger paid for our meal and wrote on the check – “enjoy the best date you’ll ever have – your son.” I still have that receipt pinned to my wall as a reminder that people are always watching, and they see you being the best mom you can be. On days when it’s really hard, and you don’t think you are, you just need that reminder to know you’re doing a great job. I hope that being an Ambassador for Medela will do the same, encourage other moms to recycle their pumps because it’s just a kindness they can do for free that will make significant changes in the lives of strangers that they too will never forget.
Who is your biggest philanthropic influence, or role model, who you feel is actively changing the world for the better?
Honestly? Moms in general. There is a shift happening in the world and I see so much support from other moms that I never saw before. There is a lot more acceptance and help occurring rather than shaming. Of course there will always be negative, but if you just look around you’ll see it – a mom recycling a breast pump, passing on her child’s clothes to a friend, babysitting for a single mom so she can take a much needed nap, little things that show me moms are ready to step up and be the role models of the future that we need to be. It just makes me feel content as a mother that my son’s peers will also be just as compassionate and accepting of others as he is.
Working with Medela as a Recycles Ambassador, what sort of legacy do you want to leave behind?
I believe in the saying, “It only takes one person.” If just one person can see what I am doing with Medela and follow in my footsteps, that will continue to pass on and pass on… we can’t expect to change the world overnight, but if I can just change one person’s mind to help another, we’ve thrown the little pebble in the water that will turn into big waves.
Want to learn more about how you can help, too? Your participation in the Medela Recycles program supports the donation of new hospital-grade breast pumps and breastfeeding supplies to Ronald McDonald House Charities across the US (next stop, Pittsburgh!). The goal is to provide moms with the same high-quality equipment they use at the hospital during their stay at a Ronald McDonald House. Learn how you can get involved.
Stephanie Barnhart is a writer, editor and social media consultant by day — and mom by life. She is the NY Editor for MommyNearest.com and a published author who has been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, NY Metro Parents Magazine, and PARENTGUIDE Magazine. There’s nothing Stephanie loves more than spontaneous road trips or mini weekend getaways – and occasionally skipping out to travel the world, too. You’ll find her and her sidekick, Maximo, out and about in the city looking for the best kid-friendly places. Stephanie blogs at Football Food & Motherhood.