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If You Build it, They Will Come

A group of children and adults holding hands in a circle.

So, I didn’t build a ball field because a) I’m pretty sure there are several in the area and b) Kevin Costener/Ray already did that successfully in the late 80s. And I like to pave my own way. 

But I did build a home away from home for growing and evolving families in Putnam, Westchester, Dutchess, and Fairfield counties. 

And, guess what? Magically, they did come. (And, not for nothing, my guests totally outnumbered the Ghosts of Baseball’s Past in Ray’s cornfield.)

A Simple Place

From working as a doula with over fifty families in the area, and from being a mother of three growing kids in this area, I knew that people (including myself) were craving a space for their families to connect with others, to learn, to be nurtured, and to simply BE. 

Baby Botanica evolved from this longing, as well as the desire to create a place where care professionals who serve growing families could learn from and share their experiences with one another. 

My vision blossomed last year while on holiday in LA, in an incredibly cool and delicious cafe called Botanica, where I took pen to paper in a brainstorming flurry, and I took dozens of photos to which I’d refer over the next six months as we created the cool, earthy, eclectic, relaxing, organic, neutral, and beautiful vibe of Baby Botanica. 

And, after all those months of planning, Baby Botanica opened its doors last Saturday to the community at large, so everyone could catch a glimpse of our space, our team, and our services. 

Oh my. I would like to live in that day forever, watching and listening as a whopping 175 people came through our front door, and visibly embraced and admired the space they had just entered. 

They said, “It’s perfect.” They asked, “Where were you when we had babies?” and “Can I just live here?” They marvelled “You thought of EVERYTHING new parents need.” 

Young children drawing in coloring books
Children play with coloring books at Baby Botanica’s opening on Nov. 16, 2019.

Community Became Family

Friends and doula clients hugged me and exclaimed, “You did it, exactly what you set out to do.” (With that, I did tear up a bit, which is no surprise to anyone whose birth I’ve attended, who knows that moments of accomplishment and empowerment leave me breathless and a tad weepy. Occupational hazard.) 

Parents told their kids to kick off their shoes, grab a bite to eat, and draw with other children on the cozy rugs. Mothers breastfed here, there and everywhere. Care professionals and parents joined empathy and mindful parenting demos. 

Toddlers played with yoga balls and practiced their frog pose. Grandparents snuggled babies, some of whom they had just met. Older kids catered to the little ones or kicked a soccer ball outside. 

We sipped sangrias, met new friends, danced and sang, and hammed it up in the photo booth. 

What I saw was community becoming family, family becoming community, lives interweaving, multi generations laughing together and teaching one another, and families letting their joys and woes out in the world. What I imagined Baby Botanica could be paled in comparison to what that event actually was. 

So thank you everyone. I built it and you all came in all your authenticity, diversity, creativity, beauty and humanity. For that, I owe you the utmost gratitude, and warmly welcome you and all newcomers to come every day from now on. This was just the beginning!

Four people posing for a photo in a photo booth.
Facilitators, consultants and doulas Maggie Rosenfeld and Ryan Ewers and their guests pose for a photo at Baby Botanica’s opening on Nov. 16, 2019.


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