Our earliest supporters and followers know that this company began as a small Etsy-based business in late 2017. I had just been uprooted from my home of 7 years (the US Virgin Islands), and M2M Gifts LLC, formerly Mama2Mama Gifts, was born, in a sense, out of what uprooted me, Hurricane Irma.
Anyone who was in the islands for Hurricanes Irma and Maria can remember how emotionally raw those times felt. So many of us were truly on autopilot, scrambling to figure out a new, chaotic normal. Just doing what instinct told us to do. A lot of people stayed. A lot of people went. People from both sides were judging and being ugly to each other. Reflecting back on witnessing that judgment, I see now that people were just ...scared. And when people are scared, they tend to do whatever will quell that fear. Shaming others or trying to justify their own decisions to a fault, for some reason, seemed to quell that fear. I'm not perfect and definitely did some of that. All water under the bridge now.
About a month after the storms, I returned to the islands to bring donated baby supplies from the states, help out, get the rest of my belongings, etc. It was surreal but it also felt like the first month of COVID here in the states. It was nice to not have traffic. It was nice to see people smiling through the pain. It was nice to see people appreciating FINALLY having the time off work to spend with their families, even though many were without roofs, adequate utilities, etc. It really is kind of crazy how similar post-Irma and COVID life have been. Two storms, just one is meteorological, the other biological.
The day before I left St. Thomas to return back to the states, I shared a very personal story of mine on Facebook with my friends. There's no sense in going over it all again but the more important thing was that it was RAW. It was words straight from my heart. So much of it was words that had been laying dormant in me for nearly 7 years.
After I shared, dozens of women began opening up to me, some publicly, some privately about very intimate details of their lives. Loss. Grief. Humiliation. There was a theme of shame in nearly all of the stories that were being shared with me.
I was shocked.
"Why do us women feel the need to be so perfect in the eyes of society? Why do so many of us forget who we are while we are pretending to be someone else?" Those were some of the questions I asked myself after all these women opened up to me.
About a week or so later, I decided to act on what I promised that group of women, and I created Mama2Mama Gifts, then a small care package business that featured some of their stories as "anonymous letters" in the care packages. The whole point of the anonymous letters was for women who were also hiding in their shame, to find comfort in words from a stranger somewhere in the world, who was openly sharing that they too, had experienced whatever it was that woman was experiencing. It was powerful. I knew it then and I know it now.
So... 2.5 years later, I am so honored and humbled to announce that these women's stories, the words across their hearts, are finally being turned into a book. Your anonymous letters that have inspired and uplifted hundreds of people since M2M Gifts was born are now going to be commemorated and illustrated in a beautiful and meaningful way.
Stay tuned. And if you were an original letter writer, PLEASE email me. Lol. I've been reaching out to many of you on Facebook but ya know... life. You can reach me at mama2mamagifts[at!]gmail.com