The importance of meeting more moms. It's all about sharing experiences.
A post by Dr. Brian Murphy
Get dressed? In proper outfits? What are actual clothes? Right, new moms, I get it. The LAST thing you want to do is get yourself dressed and leave your house with your 8-week-old. But hear me out, because I’m going to tell you why you might thank God you did.
“It takes a village to raise a child” is probably a quote you’re familiar with, but this proverbial village isn’t exactly as prominent anymore in modern parenting. For the past 50,000 years, most new moms would have been surrounded by families and relatives who would help get them through the first few overwhelming months of motherhood. But, women this generation don’t always find themselves living close by to their families and close friends and find themselves spending long days alone with their baby. In our twenty-first century society today, raising a child on your own may not be a big deal, and sometimes the idea of ‘strong, independent parent” is even idolized. While it may be considered “normal”, it’s definitely not natural- We weren’t meant to raise babies alone. So, what can we do?
The postpartum period is a critical time to connect with other moms. The tough times, joys, and surprises of being a new mom foster bonding in a special way.
Bonding with other moms is beyond fun play dates and happy hours. We learn to lean on each other for support, for school admissions, parenting secrets and behavioral training. This is especially important if you might not go back to work after maternity leave. Some eventually find that they lose their colleagues, and the loss of a role and place in a community becomes even more amplified.
So, build your own village, or join one that already exists! Which brings me to my next point….
Moms Learn from Each Other
When you were at your job, you’d likely seek help from a colleague if you needed advise or support regarding a project. It’s the same- you’ve taken on this new job of being a parent, and other parents are you coworkers. It doesn’t matter if they don’t always have the solutions to your troubles, you can bounce ideas off each other and learn from sharing experiences as a parent. And believe me, at times it can be downright entertaining listening to these stories.
Who else is going to be frank with you about all the nitty-gritty details of new parenthood (and not be grossed out by the photos you show of your baby’s diaper rash)? Seriously, though, other moms can help you figure out a great deal of the baby stuff you’re unsure about, and most often, moms are inventive and creative in coming up with solutions and mom-hacks.
Feel Less Isolated, More Confident
It may be obvious, but when moms hunker down in their homes with their newborns it can start feeling isolating, especially during cold seasons, where snow and icy streets make trips to the store so hard. It’s just easier to stay home.
While its clearly easier to stay physically at home, it strains your mental health by staying in too long.
Even if it’s not a formal group or event, some moms may find that the simple act of having something on the calendar that they want to do not only gets them out of the house, but helps them feel more “normal” during the postpartum period. This could be anything from scheduling a doctor’s appointment, to “scheduling” a daily or weekly walk, or an outing to a mall or coffee shop. It might even be dropping your older child off at preschool, and then heading to the market.
Did you know?
Research has shown intimate support from communities moms are connected to helps foster lower stress levels and create positive, optimistic outlooks about parenting. Social support moderated the adverse effects of stress on moms’ life satisfaction.
But wait- What if I don’t feel like socializing?
I understand, not every parent loves going to Mom events, breastfeeding groups and play dates. Some hate the thought of going out and having to make small talk with other parents. It can’t get more exhausting and you just want to lie in after looking after your baby all day. With other people telling you to “get out of the house”, go meet new moms, it might be difficult for some people to find the right balance between networking and the seemingly never-ending to do list that comes with being a parent.
You don’t have to be out and about managing your “village”, but it’s important to meet new mom or dad friends and develop a network of people who can understand what you might be going through and offer their shoulders for you to lean on for support. It might not necessarily be the amount of parent friends you have or the times you went out together, but the quality of the relationships you built. Nurture those few valuable relationships you’ve created, but make sure you spare time for yourself with self-care activities that you enjoy.
If that sounds more like you, go for it! Every woman is different and will go through a postpartum period that’s unique to all. The definition of what constitutes a “support network” varies for everyone, so just do what’s right for you!
So now that we’ve established the importance of meeting other women going through the same things as you and building a support network that works for you, what’s the next step? How on earth can you meet these moms? Don’t panic, we’ve got you covered. Read ahead to get all the latest and greatest ways you can connect with other moms.
How to meet other moms:
- The hospital you gave birth in usually offers nursing support groups.
- Google: “New parents/moms group in______”
- Local libraries (TIP: most bookstores and libraries will hold infant storytimes)
- Meetup.com (TIP: include keywords like ‘moms’, ‘parenting’ in your search)
- Yahoo Groups (TIP: include your own city in your search)
- Moms of Preschoolers
- MOMS Club
- Peanut APP: Tinder for new moms, swipe to meet other moms in your area.
- Life APP: Anyone from anywhere can join to connect with other moms.
A post written by Dr. Brian Murphy
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