Alexandra Eidenberg ’05 always wanted to start a nonprofit. Today, her organization Mom + Baby provides support, advocacy and legislation for women and children.
In 2012, Alexandra Eidenberg ’05 declared she was running for U.S. Congress. Shortly after, she found out she was pregnant. Then she found out she was having twins.
Through it all, she was surprised at the lack of support for women both during and after pregnancy. Though she didn’t win the election, something else came out of her experience: the start of Mom + Baby, Eidenberg’s nonprofit organization that supports women and children with programming, advocacy and legislature.
At Columbia College Chicago, Eidenberg studied Public Relations, planning to use her career to help fund and support a future nonprofit. Today, she’s the co-founder and president of The Insurance People, a full-service insurance agency in Chicago, and she uses her job to fuel her work with Mom + Baby. She talked with us about why advocating for women and children is so important today.
How was Columbia a good fit for you?
I originally went to Western Illinois University, and I really struggled in the environment of getting lectured to in a classroom of 250 people. I also missed being in a large city. So I came back to a school where I knew the environment empowered people to learn and share and be surrounded with people who are in the industry. Plus, that smaller classroom size was crucial to me—just being able to feel comfortable asking a teacher a question and having hands on learning experience.
What inspired Mom + Baby?
I was a first-time mom and I realized that we live in a culture where we don’t talk about pregnancy, we don’t talk about labor, we don’t talk about postpartum. I was in the mix of doing all of these things [during my Congress campaign] while the media was watching me, and while I’m going to these big time debates with all these politicians.
I needed some new friends who understood what it was like to be postpartum. Mom + Baby just started as a couple moms meeting up and talking about their bodies and their feelings and their emotions, how to get back to work and the process of being postpartum. Then it morphed into an organization of more than 5,000 women who are passionate about having real conversations about motherhood and advocating for their families and communities.
What sort of events and advocacy Mom + Baby provides?
We do seven to 10 events a month. We have Mommy and Me programming. Then we also do several monthly networking events that are designed for woman business owners—those are structured, non-child events.
We also do legislative coffee dates when we get together with one of our local public servants, and we have a conversation with them about what they’re working on and what we’re working on. And we find a way to collaborate and work with them on a piece of legislation.
We testified and helped pass an equal pay law, we wrote and passed a pro-vaccination law, and we helped the tampon tax bill here in Cook County
We also have worked heavily on family leave. That bill has been proposed two times now. We’ve worked side by side with the legislature on it, and it has not passed, but we will continue to work on that this year.
What drew you to the Mom + Baby cause?
One of the biggest missions of Mom + Baby is to help women support each other. We need to create opportunity for one another, we need to go out of our way for one another, we need to stop judging each other for our choices. Especially as you become a mom and a parent, there’s so much mom-shaming. We’re all just trying to do the best we can, and if we can all just say yes to one another instead of no, it’s amazing how much further we can go.