There I was sitting in a large conference room, while other moms with their newborns walked in and found their place. We politely made eye contact with gentle smiles and then got to the task at hand; maneuvering our new strollers through the room, unpacking babies and moving diaper bags well within reach. Little did I know, these moms would become some of the best friends I’ve ever had. Over the course of several months, we met weekly with a group leader and also began weekly play-dates at each other’s houses. Now let’s be honest, newborns don’t exactly need play-dates, but new mommies need contact with the outside world. And who better to commiserate with than those going through the same experience you are. We were all complete strangers, but we had babies within the same 3-month time-frame. We supported each other in countless ways. We laughed, we cried, we nursed and bottle fed, we celebrated, we learned…we became mothers together. Motherhood is one of the most significant transitions in a woman’s life. I am so grateful for the bond that grew between our little group.
Whenever I meet someone who is pregnant or has a new baby, I take a moment to encourage them to find a local moms group. You may have tons of friends and family and a loving partner, but there are just some things only new moms can really understand. Having a new baby is such a beautiful (but also stressful) time. A nurturing support group comprised of other moms who understand what you are going through can make such a difference in your overall well-being.
According to Triangle Area Parenting Support (TAPS), research shows that parent groups:
- Decrease isolation
- Increase parenting skills, knowledge, and confidence
- Provide emotional nourishment, guidance, access to resources, and role modeling
- Decrease parent stress and anxiety
- Normalize the early parenting experience
- And enhance a child’s school performance
Organizations like TAPS, La Leche League and Triangle Mommies are available in our area for new Mommies. MOPS is also a wonderful organization for moms with toddlers/preschoolers and feature several meeting dates and times throughout the Wake County area. Additionally, most local hospitals, birthing centers, and doulas often offer new parent support classes. Do a bit of research and find the group or class that works for you. You will be so glad you did! Contact information for local organizations is listed below.
TAPS offers a research based program which meets weekly with a trained group leader. Topics such as feeding, sleeping, work-family balance and much more are covered each week. Many groups continue meeting for play-dates and such even after the ten-week session. If you are pregnant or have a newborn under 16 weeks, contact TAPS to request to join the next available group. Email [email protected], call 919-774-8876, or register at www.tapsnc.org
TriangleMommies is a free community for moms in Durham, Wake and Orange Counties, North Carolina. Go to the membership page to register and request joining a local chapter. www.trianglemommies.com/members/register
The La Leche League of NC in Wake County has several open-invitation meetings Raleigh, Cary, and Wake Forest for pregnant women interested in breastfeeding and mothers who are breastfeeding. www.lllofnc.org/groups/wake/
At last, I have to give credit where credit is due. It was not exactly my idea to join a new-mommy group at first. My husband had actually read about the ‘Class for New Moms’ in the hospital brochure and really encouraged me to go. The thought of leaving the comfort of my house with a new fragile little baby, who seems a wee too small for the car seat and could cry/poop/eat at any unpredictable time, was extremely daunting. Maybe it was that little voice in the back of all that gray matter that whispered “Go! You should go!! You really have no idea what you are doing with a new baby.” that helped me agree to join a support class. So, I made myself presentable, counted the diapers, wipes and change of clothes in the diaper bag once more and drove to the hospital with my fresh new baby. I know it may seem too difficult. I’ve been there. But, you (and your baby) deserve the support, friendship, and guidance only other moms can provide.