Why You Should Join a New Mom (or Dad) Support Group
When I had my first child, I never once considered if I should join a new mom support group. I had a lot of friends and family members who I could lean on for advice and would be there when I needed them. Why would I need a parenting support group?
The answer soon became clear. At Olivia’s one month doctor’s appointment, we discovered that we were having a breastfeeding issue. After a long cry, my doctor recommended I see a lactation consultant to support me in the process of increasing my milk supply. At the first appointment, the lactation consultant recommended a new mom’s support group she organized at the hospital. I didn’t go.
I continued with my bi-weekly appointments for weight checks and progress with latching. Each time the LC gently encouraged me to join her group. But I didn’t want to go because I felt embarrassed about my breastfeeding problems (isn’t this supposed to come naturally?) and wasn’t really up for meeting new people in my harried state of new motherhood (what if these women had it all together?).
But I didn’t realize how isolating it was going to be at home with a newborn. And those friends and family members with the well-intentioned advice for a first-time parent, well, it was helpful to a point. But hearing “it gets easier” and “just enjoy your baby” wasn’t the same as having a group of women that could share their worries and joys about being a first-time mom – from successfully bathing their newborns to crying over three nighttime feedings and no shower for the fifth day in a row.
Joining a New Mom Support Group
Stepping into that room for the first time was hard but I am so glad I did it. The support and friendships I made that day and the weeks and months that followed were priceless. We had each other’s backs, celebrating every ounce gained by each other’s babies, laughing over stories of horrible diaper “blow-outs”, and simply listening on those bad days.
I am so lucky to have found this group. Not only did they pull me through those first months with a newborn but one of my dearest friends today is from that mom group. Our families hike together, camp together and go on vacation together. And though I am not in touch with the others as often (mostly through Facebook), I know I can always turn to any one of those incredible women for support to this day.
A few days ago, Olivia and I were talking about all the people we know whose birthdays are in October. She said, “And Logan’s birthday is three days after mine, right? How long have I known Logan?” My response, “Since you were two months old.” And she said, “I’ve known him my whole life!” It dawned on me that there is another benefit to being in a new parenting group – it’s where children can learn about and build their first friendships.