With A Little Help From The Village Written


Written by: Cole Yearwood
Photographed by: Alexxus Browning

“It's like giving birth to something else and also yourself,” Lauren Doyle says about motherhood.

Katy Bruce sits a couple inches away from Lauren on The Hunt Club stage in front of an empty patio. Now in their 20s, the women have known each other since they were 13.

Lauren an educator. Simultaneously interested in learning herself. Katy a creative. Continuously nurturing creativity in others.
Both mothers of young sons. Both are important parts of each other’s lives.
The two had drifted somewhat. Katy’s pregnancy a couple years ago was an opportunity for Lauren to be there for the soon-to-be momma with experience and a care package.

“So you were one of the first people who really showed me that the mother is as valuable or as important to care for as the child,” Katy says to Lauren. “Because when you're pregnant, it's all about the baby and all about you're a unit, but then when you have the baby and you're separate, it becomes all about the baby. So to be shown that care from you really made me feel like we were reconnecting.”

Katy didn’t have an easy time during her pregnancy.
“I wanted to support her through that, because when you become a mother, it's such a transition, not just with your body, but also, everything about your life changes,” Lauren tells ASLUT. “We need to support each other. Postpartum care is really fucking important.”
Motherhood has enriched their friendship far beyond any middle school hallway or high school hangout of the past could.
“Our friendship was already special, but I feel like we were just able to bond in a different way,” Lauren explains. “We understand the mental load that it takes to be a mom and just deal with mom shit every day. We just get each other.”

That love and support isn’t limited to the duo. Several mothers with young kids make up their village in T-Town.
A group of friends experiencing motherhood together. Making emergency diaper deliveries after frantic texts. Listening to the highs and lows of the day once a kiddo has gone to bed at night. Watching a child while another mother runs an errand, such as an ASLUT interview.
“We deeply understand each other's struggles and can empathize because we're going through the same things,” Katy says. “I really value our community of mothers.”
That community isn’t limited to only mothers. Katy’s friends turned adopted aunts and uncles to her son were well represented on the guest list for his last birthday party.
“He didn't care if I was around,” she recalls. He was inside with his uncle's playing remote controlled cars and shit. It was just very beautiful to witness that happen.”

Empowered by their love of their children and the support of their community, the two friends are pursuing their authentic and complete selves as mothers.
“I think that there's been this idea of what traditionally mothers should be doing, or what motherhood should look like,” Katy tells ASLUT. “It's important to challenge that, because everyone's experience is different, and everyone needs support in a different way.”
Especially in a conservative state like Oklahoma.
“It's tough because I feel like as a woman, you are judged or perceived differently as a mom,” Lauren says. “If you do dress a certain way or act a certain way, you're judged.”
Life becomes a balance.

“I think owning my sexuality and empowering myself to do things for myself helps me be a better mother because then I feel like my cup is full and I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything,” Katy says. “I don't want to compartmentalize parts of myself. I want to live my life as a whole person.”
Rooted among their village, Katy and Lauren are striving to grow and live whole.

“I am more confident,” Katy says. “I'm just different. I honestly don't care what other people think about me. I stopped caring. I care about the health and safety of my son, and I want him to grow up happy and loved. That's what's important.”