By: Shelley Galbreath
Jennifer Norris Hale, founder of Mission: Motherhood, believes motherhood is a journey. As the mother of three boys ages 10, 7 and 20 months, Hale’s journey began in 2019 when she shared her own experience with postpartum depression and anxiety, hoping it might help others. It was then she found her voice and she has not stopped advocating for mothers since.
What is Mission: Motherhood?
Mission: Motherhood began for women to share motherhood experiences and know they are not alone. It is about intentionally creating a safe space to share, without judgement and with full support, no matter the background or journey. Our mission is to help mothers who are struggling with maternal mental health conditions take care of themselves and their families by providing the specialized resources they deserve. Mission: Motherhood supports all aspects of a mothers’ journey.
Our society does not give mothers nearly enough time or the necessary tools to navigate successfully. The journey of motherhood was never intended to be made alone. Motherhood requires community – a village. My hope is through Mission: Motherhood, we can break the stigma surrounding maternal mental health and create a village we can use to raise our mothers.
What do you want GLO readers to know about you?
After I graduated college, I moved to NYC for my career in the apparel industry and had absolutely no intentions of motherhood. I was fortunate to travel internationally and collaborate with major retailers and live the dream. When I became a mom, everything changed, and I was not prepared for it at all. What I learned is that motherhood is not about perfection or appeasing others, and it is not an overnight success story. It is a journey. I struggled with postpartum depression and anxiety for over a year after my son was born. I focused on my career and pleasing those around me because that is where I found my worth. The turning point for me was when a childhood friend passed away by suicide. I immediately realized I needed to change my life. Mission: Motherhood is the result of that journey. I do not if I would be here were it not for my village, so I wholeheartedly believe and intentionally strive to empower women to know they are not alone.
Who has inspired you?
Princess Diana was such an inspiration to me. She had so much grace, generosity and desire to make a difference no matter how big or small. She did so much for so many and I have always hoped just to leave an ounce of impact she was able to make.
Also, my mom; my older sister; and some amazing women locally: Leslee Hill, Kristin Giant, Anne Marie Labenberg and Janell Lane have been and continue to be inspirations to me.
Have you had the opportunity to mentor anyone?
Yes. I find mentorship one of the most rewarding experiences whether it is in personal or professional life. Any opportunity to support another woman is time well spent. Mentorship is a relationship that works to produce positive outcomes for both the mentor and mentee. It is a big part of why we are looking forward to launching “Just Between Mothers” this month in partnership with Associated Churches. “Just Between Mothers” is a motherhood mentorship program connecting volunteers in the community to establish relationships with new and/or mothers in need of services and practical support. I am beyond grateful and excited to make this a reality for mothers and families in our community.
Do you have any regrets?
While I do not regret the path that got me here today, ideally, I would have really taken the time to work on finding myself rather than focus on everything else going on around me and adapting to please everyone.