Sherwood mom is helping mothers postpartum
Maria Berglund is working to support mothers post-partum one gift box at a time.
“I always have championed moms because my mom was a single mom,” Berglund said. “When I was little, she needed a lot of help from our community, so now I get to pay that forward through my work.”
Berglund began her nonprofit, In Kind, to help uplift mothers after birth. The organization is centered around handmade gift boxes for new moms, filled with quality items for their babies and themselves.
Since her group’s first boxes became available in November 2019, In Kind has helped more than 2,000 needy families.
“You get a lot of support and stuff during pregnancy. There are lots of appointments and lots of support and care, but then once the baby comes, you get one checkup at six weeks, and then it all kind of just fades away, and I just don’t think that’s fair,” Berglund said. “There are a lot of mothers who are really struggling or feel really alone, and so we started In Kind to help them feel that love and support.”
For every box In Kind sells, one is donated to a needy family. The nonprofit has a network of organizational partners nationwide that Berglund sends boxes to that specifically help more vulnerable populations post-partum.
One of Berglund’s main goals with In Kind is to help support the current maternal health crisis. She sends many boxes to Alabama and explains that this is because it is one of the most challenging states for women to have babies in this country — especially for women of color. The state has high maternal and infant mortality rates, and parental leave policies and health insurance benefits lag behind other states.
Despite In Kind’s donation-based services, Berglund still holds the products in her boxes to a high standard.
“I would love to be able to give high-quality things to these families and not just have like a scramble of whatever people are donating thrown into boxes,” Berglund said. “We are very intentional about the things that we’ve chosen because I don’t think people should just have to be happy with what’s given to them but instead should feel like, ‘Wow, this is really special for them to take care of me.’”
Berglund continuously advocates for the importance of self-care for mothers in her work. Her boxes contain multiple self-care items that are just for mothers — because they deserve it.
“I think there’s this notion that when you have a baby, you, just as the mom or the birthing parent, become invisible. Like all of your attention has to be on the baby, and otherwise, you’re not a good parent. And I feel like it’s important for people to realize that their needs matter too,” Berglund said. “If you’re not thriving, your family’s not thriving because you’re running on steam. There’s just the narrative that you’re a selfish person if you take time for yourself, and I just don’t agree with that at all.”
Since her nonprofit’s beginning, Berglund and her In Kind volunteers have been working to ensure that moms of all backgrounds can be afforded self-care after the baby is born. Berglund explains that there are many post-partum care essentials she wouldn’t think twice about owning that so many mothers don’t have the means to purchase.
“I wanted to help people like my mom and other families that are struggling,” Berglund said. “When you have a baby, it’s so hard, and if you don’t have even have the basics, I mean, that’s exponentially harder, and I just don’t think that’s fair.”
As a mother of three, Berglund has experienced the common motherhood experience of post-partum struggles and isolation, so she works tirelessly for her cause. From packing the boxes to being a one-woman marketing team, Berglund pays her kindness forward twofold.