ENID, Okla. — When life gave some local women lemons, they made lemonade.
On the inviting wooden deck in the backyard of a suburban home in Enid, women gather to share their stories with cold glasses of the tart drink in hand.
This isn’t your average social get-together. This is Lemonade Ladies, a brand new group designed to help middle-aged or older women through issues like depression and emotional trauma.
After fighting her own battle with depression, Shelley Stutchman said she saw a need for a support group for women ages 40 to 75. With the help of two friends, Lemonade Ladies was born.
The group’s name came from Stutchman’s love of lemon pie, and now the women serve lemonade at every meeting.
“We didn’t really have any expectations,” Stutchman said. “It was an experiment to find out if women needed this — middle-aged to older women.”
Apparently, they did. Stutchman said a dozen women showed up to the first meeting in April, and the group’s success has reached people nationwide. Stutchman has received emails and phone calls from women far and wide, wanting to share their experiences.
Dena Patterson, one of the group’s three leaders or “Three Keys,” is a participant in the group, but she also has a background in therapy. She said the meetings allow women to form a support group that gives them stability.
“Often when people go through difficult or traumatic situations, they feel alone, and we want women to know they’re not alone,” Patterson said. “There is a safe place they can talk.”
Confidentiality is a vital part of the Lemonade Ladies meetings. Linda Pope, another “Key” who contributes her experience as a pastor to the group, said the confidential nature of the meetings is her favorite part.
“What I like is the trust level in the group right now,” Pope said. “The confidentiality and the trust level are high, and people feel they can share anything.”
With topics like broken hearts, rape and emotional abuse on the table, trust is essential. The women need a place to vent, but the purpose is to grow and strengthen one another, Pope said.
“We’re also really clear that we want to grow,” Pope said. “We’re not just getting together for a pity party.”
Pope also said the group is not meant to have a “man-hater” spirit. However, the women may feel more comfortable in the company of other women with the sensitive nature of topics discussed at the meetings, she said.
Stutchman said there might even be plans in the future to start a men’s group. She has received emails from several men who would also like a safe place for discussion.
The “Lemonade Ladies” have plans to expand in all directions. They have speakers lined up for meetings through September. With renowned public speaker Dave Ross coming to Wednesday’s meeting, the group will certainly need more room or another chapter soon.
Stutchman said they will soon put the lesson part of their meetings on YouTube for anyone to watch. Until then, the Lemonade Ladies will be working hard to give women the support they need.
“A lot of women at this age I think are embarrassed to admit they have these types of problems because they think they’re supposed to have it together,” Stutchman said. “But the fact is, there’s definitely a need for this kind of support.”
The Lemonade Ladies said any women from age 40 to 75 are welcome to come to a meeting. The group meets at 6:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Wednesday of every month at 2017 Windmill Ln.
For more information about meetings, call Stutchman at (580) 603-1372 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit the group’s Facebook page at facebook.com/lemonadeladiesdreams.