With the help of the Workmom group, a Millburn mother is showing that when it comes to raising children, it really does take a village and, sometimes, it takes someone else’s village as well.
A month ago, Emily Bauer — the owner of Maplewood Village's — was looking forward to the joyful news of the Nov. 25 delivery of twins expected by her friends and colleagues Michal Friedman and Jay Snyder, but instead learned the unimaginable had happened - Michal, 44, had died from complications after delivering the babies via C-section the day after Thanksgiving.
“It’s unbelievably heartbreaking,” she said. “They had tried for seven years to conceive and she was so excited to be a mom, finally. Then she gives birth to these beautiful babies and dies. It’s so incredibly unfair.”
Struggling with how to help Friedman's husband, Jay Snyder, Bauer reached out to the Millburn Workmoms group, which with an email listserv keeps parents in the loop on all things related to the schools and the township and gives moms a chance to network and reach out to others in times of need.
“The Workmoms group is a lifeline in a lot of ways,” Bauer said.
Bauer knew Snyder and Friedman through her work as a voiceover actor and had worked with Snyder on animated cartoons. Friedman who also did voiceovers, was best known as the singer Michal the Girl.
In preparation for the birth of their twins, Reverie Vivian and Jackson James, the couple moved from Brooklyn to a bigger place in Inwood and really had no connection to Millburn.
But Bauer said she never thought that would matter to the Workmom group, which has proven time and time again to be generous and caring about others, no matter where they live as recently shown by helping to collect donations for homeless flood victims in
A few seconds after she sent an email to the group, she started getting notes back, offering counseling, parenting coaching, doulas to help with the babies, photography sessions, clothes, donations, financial advice to help set up charity funds.
“No one here even knows this family yet people are reaching out to give what they can,” she said. “They ask for nothing in return; the giving is enough and often I hear, ‘I wish I could do more.’
“It’s a tragedy on so many levels and people just want to help,” she said. “We, as mothers, as people and as a community have been so touched by this."
During his wife’s memorial service, Snyder talked of the seven years they tried to have a baby, of the mixed emotions of grief of losing his true love and wanting to share the joy of their babies with her.
“That Michal has died, and particularly the way she died, feels incredibly cruel. Those closest to her, those who cared for her most, and supported her on her struggle toward motherhood, or simply admired her for it, have a long road ahead to letting the outrage and sorrow go. We must eventually accept that life makes no promises, as much as we might wish it would,” he said at the service, documented on the website set up for Snyder and the twins. “Michal chose to bless us with two beautiful children. Michal herself was a blessing in my life, and will continue to be through our family…. Best of all, I got to be the father of her children, and I still get to love her for the rest of my life.”
Snyder also thanked those who’ve helped his new family, from family and friends and staff at NYU hospital where the babies were born, to people he’s never met like the moms in Millburn and Short Hills who reached out through Bauer.
“I don’t know exactly how I’m going to move our family forward, but I know I won’t have to do it alone,” he said.
Bauer said, “What happened is incredibly unfair and I am thinking about that all the time. But through their support, the moms of Millburn and Short Hills are helping Jay to provide for his family, to let him know that we are here for him. It really takes a village and then some.”
To help Snyder and the babies, go to www.thesnydertwins.com.