Throughout the school year, the Women’s Center offers many programs that are designed for students. Robin Garrett, the director for the Women’s Center, is always open to students’ ideas about what kind of programs they would like to be offered. Shelly McCaffrey took this a step further and worked with Robin to restart a vanishing program called Motherless Daughters. Two West Chester students started the program two years ago. They had lost their mothers and thought that it would be a good idea to get together with other students who had gone through a similar experience. Every week, there were four or five people who attended the meeting. One of those in attendance happened to be Shelly.
When the program was not continued last year, many students were disappointed. Old posters that still hung in some of the buildings on campus directed students to a meeting that was now non-existant. Shelly decided to do something about that and went to Robin to ask about how to restart the program.
The focus of this group is really for women who have lost their mothers to get together and “laugh together and cry together,” according to Robin. Robin also pointed out that people who have not gone through the experience of losing a mother would be overwhelmed when talking to a friend that has gone through that experience. As much as others want to help and try to understand, they simply cannot comprehend the complex emotions felt by those living without their mothers.
For this reason, it is important for women to come and talk to others who share this experience. Students are welcome whenever they are able to attend the weekly meetings. Robin realizes that some women need extra support at times like Mother’s Day and Christmas when they feel most vulnerable about their loss.
Another issue Robin wants to point out to people is that you “can’t assume everyone has the same array of family.” Professors are guilty of this when they assign a project that involves interviewing your mother. Some women are uncomfortable pointing out to their professors that they do not have a mother to interview. Also, when students come from a family with both parents alive, it is easy to assume that everyone else was raised the same way and ask questions that may be insensitive to those not raised in similar environments.
The Motherless Daughters Meetings are held on Tuesdays from 12-1 in the Women’s Center.