Starting this month, we will have a Spotlight Mama Bear of the month! This will allow our community to get to know other Mama Bears and their stories. This month, the Mama Bear we are highlighting is Courtney Vrablik! You may recognize Courtney from the video she created during our Mama Bears Giving Circle launch week. She is a thoughtful, compassionate leader and mother. We are so thankful that she shared her Mama Bears experience with us. We are excited for you to learn more about her!
Why did you originally join the Mama Bears online group?
When my autistic daughter came out as bi, I was totally expecting it. Individuals with ASD tend to view gender norms as (to use her words) “ridiculous.” As a mom, I always felt that if something was affecting one of my kids, it was my job to educate myself as much as possible to be their best advocate. It wasn’t until my middle kid came out and started exploring various labels that I started to feel I needed help so I wasn’t just *saying* I loved and accepted them. I wanted them to see that in an actionable way. And, also, full transparency, as a mom, we often have these hopes and dreams about our kids’ futures, and when life shows you something different than what you expected, you sometimes need a space to mourn that lost future. I did at least. A dear mom friend of mine told me about how Mama Bears helped her when their child came out and recommended me to the group. I’m so grateful for her and other moms like her.
How has Mama Bears positively impacted your life?
Where do I start?? It’s a safe space to ask questions, to share our deepest hopes and fears, to learn from others who are a little further ahead in their journey. I don’t really post much myself, but I read *everything.* There are days when just getting to see other families celebrating proms and babies and weddings and engagements and graduations gives me so much hope and joy. I’ve also learned to relax a tad. There is no perfect way to be a mom, no one way to be an ally and our kids raise us as much as we raise them.
What does it mean to you to be a Mama Bear?
I grew up in a big family–lots of aunts, uncles, and cousins–and one of the clearest ways I knew I was safe and loved is when my mom and aunts would be gathered together over something. I knew something was happening when those women were united. That’s how being a Mama Bear feels. Try us, we’re ready. Don’t mess with our babies.
What compelled you to join the Mama Bears Giving Circle?
Two reasons: One is leadership by example. I never ask someone to do something I’m not willing to do myself. The second reason is that I work in the nonprofit sector myself. Nonprofits appreciate support in many ways but money keeps the lights on, the staff paid, and the program programming. I wish we could operate on two Cheerios and high-five but in the real world, our money is our vote so this is my vote.
Did any of the nonprofits in the giving circle specifically stand out to you? If so, which one?
For me, Gender Spectrum. My kids are not yet adults so GS’s focus not only on youth supports but training others who work with kids is really relevant to our lives right now. Teachers, leaders, coaches–all the adults that come in contact with kids and teens–can have a powerful impact in a young person’s life. I want those professionals to have good training and resources to draw from.
Share your story!
If you or a Mama Bear you know is interested in being our Spotlight Mama of the month, we would love to connect! Please note that Spotlight Mamas may be anonymous if this makes the person sharing their story more comfortable. It is important to us that we honor the privacy of those in our community. To get involved please email Juliana Jordan at email@example.com. We appreciate you sharing your journeys with us!