Starting at Square One

“I was THAT mom walking into the building with the infant who would not stop crying,” said Whitney Sawyer. “I came to Square One, Watermark’s ministry to first-time moms, and the leaders would stroll my son, Egan, down the hall so I could take part in the class. I learned about baby care, but I learned even more about caring for my marriage, loving our extended family and growing in my walk with Christ. The moms in our class really connected, and six years later we still meet weekly.”

It’s women like Whitney who motivated Sarah Crotty and a circle of other women to start the Square One ministry ten years ago. “Having a new baby is wonderful, but it also rocks your world and can be the crisis point for a lot of marriages,” said Sarah.

“Women feel overwhelmed and isolated as they are taking care of an infant all day. Community and biblical counsel are so important to new moms.” A nurse and mother of two, Sarah always had an affinity for babies and new moms. She taught prenatal and breastfeeding classes at a local hospital, and that is where she saw a different opportunity to serve new mothers.

“Women are inundated with information on baby care, books on parenting and a lot of secular advice,” said Sarah. “What’s missing is God’s Word and community with other believers. New moms need to be reminded that the Lord is with them, and He provides the wisdom necessary to raise a child. That’s what women find when they build community with other moms in the same season of life.”

Sarah reached out to Karen Brosseau, Kelly Gittemeier and several other women with the idea of ministering to new moms at Watermark. “I was immediately drawn in,” said Kelly. “Between Karen and me, we raised 10 kids. We both knew that it was a time where women feel broken, tired and in need of the Lord.”

“God did so much through the delivery of our first child, who was premature,” said Karen. “I remembered what it was like as a new mom to feel vulnerable and in need of God more than ever. That experience changed me forever. I discovered that every issue – whether it’s fear, guilt or loneliness – could be addressed by the Lord.” In addition to having discussions on finding our identity in Christ, stewardship, marriage, family relationships and personal growth, Square One groups new moms with seasoned women who serve as mentors along the way. Over the course of seven weeks, the leaders see women change and grow more comfortable with their new role as mom.

“For some women, the first time they get out of the house with their baby is to come to Square One,” said Kelly. “Most are getting here by the skin of their teeth, having barely slept the night before. As the classes continue, the women connect, build friendships and share their experiences.”

From the very beginning Square One has been about much more than babies. It’s about evangelism. “Moms from all walks of life join us, and we’ve seen God do some really big things,” said Karen. “We had a mom who was an atheist when she came to the class. At the beginning she stood in the corner and didn’t really participate. Then she started sharing her prayer requests with the group. The Lord softened her heart and changed her pattern of pushing others away.”

Just like in any other season of life, Sarah Crotty says that becoming a new mom is all about priorities. “It is easy to get overwhelmed with the needs of a new baby and the jobs that need to be done around the house,” said Sarah. “What’s most important is the time we spend with the Lord. Keeping our walk with Christ the priority should be our true mission. I’m thankful that God uses these precious little lives to help put women on track for faithfulness, biblical community and authenticity.”

It’s the changing needs of her family that keep Whitney and the other moms from her Square One group meeting together each week. “All of the women in our group had such different stories,” said Whitney. “But God used our shared experience as mothers to build relationships that are still important today. It isn’t just older kids who were originally in Square One that have benefitted. Our younger kids have grown to be best buddies. We still keep up with each other, encourage one another and offer practical assistance. God continues to use these women to make a difference in my life.”

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