While never having been pregnant, or had a child, herself, one can forgive Cheryl Hart for thinking she knew a lot about the subject matter.
Hart did, after all, edit a magazine called Pregnancy&Birth in London before moving to the United States, and ultimately San Jose, last decade.
“I've written and edited articles about motherhood and pregnancy and parenting,” Hart said.
So, when Hart gave birth to her first son in 2009, she thought she had a pretty good handle on what was coming. She was wrong.
“I was blindsided by motherhood,” Hart said.
A baby who rarely slept for more than an hour at a time stretched Hart to her breaking point. A second child, two years later, who never stopped crying nearly pushed her past it. Depression and anxiety lead Hart’s mind to some dark places and she didn’t feel like there was anywhere to turn.
“I had a real hard time admitting that I was having a hard time,” Hart said. “I was really struggling.”
Hart said she only managed to make it through thanks to a caring and supportive husband. She has now made it her mission to be that support for other struggling moms.
Hart started her own non-profit, Supporting Mamas, run out of her San Jose home.
For the past few months, Hart has been leading a drive to collect children's’ clothing, supplies and toys. In time for Mother’s Day, Hart is donating the thousands of collected items to mothers who may need them at San Jose’s Heritage Home and YWCA.
“Every woman needs support. I think no matter what walk of life you're in, but particularly the underserved populations of Santa Clara County really need our help and if we're in a position to help, then why wouldn't we do it?”
Supporting Mamas also runs a drop-in support group and connects moms in need with the professionals who can help them.
Hart knows there are other groups out there that do similar good, but she was moved to create her own because it is her own story that’s behind it.
"I felt there's nothing else that I really want to do more than this. I felt like I was driven to to do this work."