Jane Adler '13 & Rachel Creighton '10

Celebrating Their Village

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Jane Adler ’13 and Rachel Creighton ’10 became fast friends as undergraduates — Creighton, a member of the Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team, dated a men’s lacrosse player (now her husband), and Adler was in the same friend group. When their extended friendship circles merged, they stayed in touch after graduation despite long-distance (Adler's home base is Southern California, while Creighton lives in Philadelphia), attending Notre Dame weddings and meeting up for reunion trips. 

 The two women grew even closer when they both became pregnant at the same time with their first children. As Adler puts it, they became each other’s “lifelines.” 

“We just were going through the same typical pregnancy woes, newborn woes — ‘Is your baby doing this? How are you surviving?’ … There was a lot of dry humor, but also a lot of tears and just trying to support each other and lift each other up,” Creighton says. 

Grateful for the mutual support, the two stayed in connection after giving birth. Creighton’s son, Charlie, arrived in April 2019, followed two months later by Adler’s daughter, Elle. Then, in November of 2019, Adler sent Creighton a text: 

Okay, hear me out. What if we started a group of sorts of our Notre Dame friends with babies with the goal of supporting our new moms and sharing tips but also fun stuff like trips with the babes, toddler tailgates, etc.? I’m making it sound uncool but we could make it cool. 

New and Gold, an unofficial Notre Dame alumni group for mothers, was born out of this conversation. 

“If we are experiencing this, the two of us, what must be going on with other moms in our circles?” Creighton says. 

What started as an intimate Facebook group of 12 friends and acquaintances has since become a “full-blown community” of over 1,500 members. During the COVID-19 lockdown, Adler and Creighton added an Instagram account and an email newsletter to increase engagement. The group is no longer exclusive to Notre Dame alumnae, but welcomes spouses of grads or even friends outside of the Notre Dame network. 

The group, too, both women emphasize, is not just for mothers. 

Adler with daughters Ava (1) and Elle (4).

“You could be trying to have kids, you could have child loss, or infertility. You may not have an interest in having your own children, but you’re an aunt and want to be more involved,” Creighton says. “We are celebrating and supporting all different types of women going through all different types of struggles.”

For Creighton, the group remains distinctly Notre Dame because of the values and service-oriented mission of the network. The conversation threads on Facebook include practical topics like “sleep progression, picky-eaters, [and] traveling with kids,” but also more difficult topics, from how to cope with severe postpartum depression, as Creighton herself experienced, to the death of a child or spouse, or a critical medical diagnosis. New and Gold members have reached out directly to mothers in crisis and pain — beyond just virtual comments or posts — sending gift cards, rosaries, and flowers, and even lighting candles at the Grotto on their next campus visit. Creighton, in fact, developed a bond with two New and Gold members who have now become some of her closest friends, even though they’ve never met in person. 

“We as a community come together — and I think that is very Notre Dame — giving back and supporting them the best we know how,” Creighton says. 

Adler and Creighton are members of other “new mom” groups on social media — there are tons on Instagram, in particular, often labeled as “mommy blogger” accounts in pop culture circles. They both describe feeling a sense of judgment or shame at times when engaging with these types of accounts — a sense of unachievable perfection and curated posts that paint motherhood as seemingly effortless and easy, which masks the true challenges of motherhood and disallows for vulnerable discussion. 

“I would want to post questions, but didn’t because I didn’t want to look silly. … I would get self-conscious,” Adler says.

New and Gold, on the other hand, hopes to provide a safe space for members to express opinions and questions openly. The group is private, allowing members to feel empowered to admit confusion or express vulnerability around certain aspects of motherhood. One of the most popular features of the community is the “Tuesday Takeovers” on Instagram — an opportunity to see a New and Gold mother record a day in her life, offering a realistic, “no-filter” glimpse at one mother’s daily experience, from the woes of commuting across town to daycare before work, to struggles with breastfeeding and bedtime routines. If there is no scheduled takeover, members are quick to let Creighton and Adler know that they miss having it.  

Though the majority of New and Gold members are in their late 20s to early 30s with babies or toddlers, the group also includes mothers with older children in their teens and even some women without children who are curious about learning more. Though most in the group, as Adler describes, are “cut from the same cloth,” the group contains “all different types of moms.” 

“We have people who are religious and who are not religious, who bed share and don’t bed share, people who want one child and those who want 10,” Adler says. 

Though its diversity allows for a wide spectrum of opinions in the group, New and Gold members share a mutual respect bound in their connection to Notre Dame and to each other. Adler likens the common thread to seeing someone on the street with a Notre Dame hat — there’s an immediate sense of kinship and community. 

“Because we rely on this foundation of the ‘Notre Dame way,’ it just works,” Adler says. 

Adler and Creighton also have hopes of leveraging the group as a sort of professional network — many New and Gold mothers work full-time in a wide variety of roles and fields. They view this as an additional benefit to the members — the ability to tap into the help and expertise of fellow mothers who could offer career advice or mentorship — and a defining aspect of the group: New and Gold members express a desire to progress in their respective professions and maintain and excel in their personal passions beyond parenting.

“I think what I love the most about this group is that when I’m interacting with them, I’m back to the old Rachel that was a Domer, a student-athlete,” Creighton says.  “I think everyone knows that to be a Notre Dame student, you have to be disciplined, intelligent, ambitious. … I think that is what sets us apart, too.”

Creighton with children Charlie (4), Mikey (2), and Mia (2).

Adler and Creighton have had to balance their professional pursuits while raising children. Creighton runs her own photography business, while Adler is a full-time writer. Many working mothers in the New and Gold community share ways to optimize their time and how to “do it all,” from outsourcing, organization tips, and ways to keep children entertained when they need to get work done. 

Both Adler and Creighton express the same sentiment: being a mother, while it’s the hardest thing they’ve ever done, is also the most rewarding. Mother’s Day offers them a chance to reflect on their gratitude for the generations of mothers before them and also to practice greater empathy for the generations of mothers that will come after them. 

“Mother’s Day is a time to celebrate everyone who is in this village with you,” Creighton says.

Adler compares the day to “crossing the finish line of a marathon” — a time to celebrate all of your hard work, thank those who helped you get there, and to cheer on those coming behind you. 

The two continue to utilize the group’s resources themselves, leaning on the community for support just as they did when it was only the two of them. Adler had her second child, Ava, in February 2022, and Roshani welcomed twins Mia and Mikey in early 2021. 

"When you have a child, you pour your heart and soul into them, and you pour from your cup constantly,” Adler says. “And then your cup gets empty and you find ways to fill it back up. And for Rachel and I, filling it back up was this group.”