As with most journeys towards creating something special, mine towards founding Alli was years in the making.
In 2013 I was a birth doula. I was supporting a single-woman who had just celebrated her 42nd birthday. She wanted a baby and finally made the executive decision to do it all on her own.
Doctors told her she was too old.
Her dietician told her she was too overweight.
The fertility specialist told her the chances of success were less than 10%.
Fast forward 5 months, she was pregnant and all of a sudden... she wasn’t. She lost the baby she waited so long for. She didn’t lose hope and a few months later I came into her life as her birth doula.
She had defied the odds again and this time... with twins!
I always admired her for her bravery, strength in overcoming adversity and determination. My job as her birth doula was to support her yet I often had to squeeze myself in because her independence wanted to push me away. She always felt like she could do it all on her own. Physically, mentally and emotionally.
We all class that kind of ruthless independence as the ultimate strength to aspire to don’t we? We have this notion that if we can resist holding up our hand for support just a little longer we will get to hold onto just a little more power.
As I held her hand during birth class and she squeezed it just a little tighter, I knew she needed me.
She needed a community. We all need someone sometimes even if we don’t realize it or ask for it right away. We may accept help from a friend or a family member but a professional? It seems over the top.
Many times we don’t reach out for help until we hit our personal breaking point, we try to “handle it” all on our own until we are diagnosed with needing help. The miscarriages, the personal challenges and all the hits to our ego yet still we try to walk alone.
What if instead of raising our hand when we were drowning someone held it so we could swim with less effort? We have professionals holding up beacons of light ready to help us carry our burdens and move towards our goals yet we are so scared to swim towards them.
What if we saw support as strength?
I believe that if we start standing up and admitting that we need help sometimes and trust those that have dedicated their careers to helping us... we will inspire others to do the same.
Over time there will be a ripple effect and we will all see mental health support as just another beautiful part of life. We will no longer have to face our challenges alone, we will be able to do it as part of a unit. We will be allies.
They say it takes a village to raise a child. I believe it also takes a team of allies to support the parents. Welcome to the community.
co-founder of Alli