Evolving into Motherhood with Meaghan Barakett, Founder of One Girl Inc.
Meaghan Barakett is, first and foremost, a mother. She’s also the Founder of the non-profit organization, One Girl Inc., a Humanitarian, a Yogi, and holds the title of Miss New York USA 2005. Meaghan’s advocacy for girls and women has led to empowering programs and support across the New York City area. We’re honored to have Meaghan in our Matrescence community as she shares more about what motherhood has taught her and her mission toward creating a brighter world for women.
The term "matrescence" is defined as the process of becoming a mother. What has this journey been like for you, and how has the process shaped who you are now through the lessons you've learned along the way?
Meaghan Barakett: Becoming a mother is an experience of unconditional love that is limitless and boundless. My son, Lincoln, the one who made me a mother, is no longer earthside. Although he is not with me physically, he is always with me, and I will always be his mother. I didn’t know love like that existed, and even through loss, love does not go away or change.
One of the lessons I have learned in motherhood is about surrender; we learn to live with the process of letting go. There will always be a last time for everything. This has such profound meaning for me now. When you lose a child, it is the ultimate letting go.
As a mother, I am always evolving. Motherhood transforms us at every turn and stage. At each phase of letting go, we are new and different. I am continually learning about who I am, and who my children are, through my ever-evolving relationship with them. Now that I am a mom for the second time to my son Bond, another lesson for me is to hold grief and gratitude simultaneously.
Support during motherhood is crucial. What does your support system look like? What have you learned about building relationships with other moms?
MB: I allow my support system to evolve as my family’s needs change. I have learned that support goes beyond having help with tasks. Just because someone is an expert, it does not necessarily make them the right support for you. I think it’s most important to have people around you that make you feel nurtured and loved.
The motherhood journey can be hard. It is an intense emotional experience that can also be deeply transformative. Authentic connections with other moms are meaningful to me, and I am grateful for the friendships I have with those who are walking the path with me.
Along with being a mom and humanitarian, you're also the Founder of the non-profit organization, One Girl Inc., where you are dedicated to supporting and empowering women in their careers, home lives, and society. What sparked the idea to start One Girl Inc.?
MB: I had the honor of being Miss New York in 2005. That opportunity allowed me to explore my passion for non-profit and community service work. At the same time, I deepened my love of yoga, which became a tool for social justice and community building. I stayed in touch with my pageant community, and it was a caring sisterhood. The girls all had connections to causes that were meaningful to them. I loved seeing their passion, but I often heard, I’m ‘just one girl’ and ‘what can I do?’ Together, we can support each other and make a larger impact with our passions.
One Girl Inc. was founded on the idea that we can create a supportive network to make a positive difference in each other’s lives. It was also a merging of my passions for social justice, yoga, and meditation. For us, yoga is a pillar of self-study, supporting us to show up for the meaningful work we want to do in the world.
In the past, One Girl Inc. has created events where hundreds of women had the opportunity to network, learn about each other's careers, and celebrate their successes. What's next for the One Girl Community, and how can other organizations get involved or provide support?
MB: The work that we do at One Girl Inc. motivates me to work towards meaningful positive change, and I’m excited for our next steps. We are planning an in-person conference, bringing back our one-day leadership events, and have a yoga day coming up. We are excited to be able to explore both in-person and online events. We will be sharing details on our social media channels and would love to see some Matrescence Mamas there!
As a not-for-profit, we invite support and accept donations. We are always looking to collaborate with organizations that are doing amazing things, because we can do so much more when we work together. New members are welcome; it is our members that drive our organization, and we’re always happy to have more!
Let's chat: self-care! What's your go-to self-care ritual? How did having a self-care ritual during pregnancy help? As a yogi, is there a specific practice you do for your mind and body that you'd recommend for other moms?
MB: Yoga and meditation practices helped me to connect more deeply with myself and my children before they were born. Motherhood is a life-changing journey that starts even before conception, as a soul-to-soul connection. I would tune in and connect with my body and baby at different stages of pregnancy. Being in nature daily and taking evening baths were rituals that felt sacred to me. Yoga Nidra is something that I found restful and nurturing in pregnancy and postpartum. Becoming a mother is an enormous shift. Choosing practices that help you feel connected to yourself is the most important thing. Yoga and meditation are tools to navigate the constantly changing nature of life and the journey of motherhood. For me, this is the ultimate form of self-care.
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