Gratitude, perspective gained in tough time

To the editor:

As the new year approaches, I wanted to say a huge thank you to my constituents for their support during the four years I served on the North Adams City Council. I know that I have been notably absent since May due to the premature birth of my son.

As some of you know, I gave birth to my son, Joseph A. C. Breen, in May at 29 weeks gestation due to the onset of severe pre-eclampsia. He was born at 2.68 lbs and lived in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Baystate Hospital from May 11 until July 1. I moved to Springfield to be with my baby for those two months and took a maternity leave from the council.

When we left the NICU in July, Joey was still on oxygen and remained so until recently. Becoming a first-time mother, especially to a sick child, was a real eye opener regarding priorities. I never thought I would miss a City Council meeting, but politics definitely took a back seat the past seven months.

I do not know what the future holds, but I did not run for re-election because I am engulfed with being a mommy right now. And, Joey is 100 percent off of oxygen and all medications. He is a healthy boy and I am eternally grateful to God and Baystate Hospital. I would also like to thank the Visiting Nurse Association and Early Intervention.


I have many colleagues to thank for their support when my son was sick and when we lived at Baystate: Mayor Richard Alcombright, Council president Lisa Blackmer and all of my former colleagues on the council. Mayor Alcombright was able to reach out to his son, Matthew, a priest in Springfield when I needed my baby baptized right after birth. His prayers at my bedside and by Joey's incubator gave me hope where there was little.

I want to offer congratulations to the new council and to the folks re-elected. I hope and pray that progress can continue to move forward as it has been the last six years.

At the end of the day, I've learned that if nobody dies from it, then it really is small potatoes. Politics and power struggles in North Adams — none of it matters. I hope that ALL involved in local government, from City Hall to the gadflies, do not learn that lesson the hard way. Please find peace in each other and count your blessings. I know I have.

From the bottom of my heart, I thank ALL of my constituents in North Adams for the opportunity to serve. God bless.

Jennifer M. Breen, North Adams