On April 16, we welcomed Jacob Walker Eilerman at 9:50am, born via emergency c-section at Mercy Hospital Anderson. He weighed 8 pounds 3 oz and was 20 ½ inches long. When Jacob is a little stronger, he’ll have a regular place at the Lydia’s House table, and for a brief moment (before our next guest has her baby in mid-May) he’s the newest member of the Lydia’s House community.



For the time being, I’m taking maternity leave, which means I’m editing the newsletter from home, fielding the occasional intake question, ruminating over bigger issues with Meridith over lunch, breastfeeding hourly, and trying to take a nap every day. I expect to be back in the mix on Mills Ave, with Jacob in tow, by mid-June.


When we decided to have a third child, it was a hard deliberation. In many ways, Lydia’s House had taken on a role of epic proportions in our life while Sam was still an infant, and I joked that I had 3 kids—Annie, Sam and Lydia. However, life didn’t quite feel complete and I can read back on journal entries from early 2015: “I keep thinking about having another baby, but am not sure where that will fit. I want to believe in an economy of abundance not scarcity, and to know that this project can be held even in my absence.” Shortly thereafter, we completed the Jean Donovan House, Anne Housholder signed on to move in, and we recruited Kristi and Stephanie as one year associates. While I’m always skeptical that there will be enough (I handle the fundraising), it seemed by mid-July that we would be ok for the coming year. And by late August we knew that a third Eilerman baby was coming.


Jacob’s gestation was challenging, particularly because of my broken leg and ankle. But even through that we were held, and Lydia’s House marched on, with staff meetings held in my dining room, and regular visits from the regular crew to my house on Carter Avenue. Even in birth things didn’t go as planned—with him having a prolapsed cord, which led to a record breaking c-section turnaround of 13 minutes from the alarm sounding to the baby in the incubator!


All that said, each day our family is glad to have him, and I’ve felt confirmed in that small voice that kept nagging for his conception. This slowing down, this being at home, this time of focusing on our small children (Annie is 6 and Sam is 3) and all their goodness is welcome. The letting go of much of the day to day at Lydia’s House is also an invitation to many others to step in, to bring gifts that I don’t have, and for me to say “This is a project is much bigger than me and my family.” Thanks Jacob for that perspective, and for all you’re bringing to our little piece of the world. Thanks everyone else for creating the space for Jacob to come into it.

—Mary Ellen