Becoming a mom is an amazing, transformative experience but it can also be a lonely one. In fact, feelings of isolation aren’t uncommon starting in pregnancy. Moms-to-be sometimes already feel a sense of separateness because their bodies are changing and the hormonal influence of pregnancy is so strong.
Those feelings can be heightened if a mom is keeping her pregnancy secret for the first trimester or she’s the first in her social circle to have kids. And when the pregnancy is particularly rough physically or emotionally, feelings of loneliness may even be related to very real fears.
Once the baby is born, feelings of isolation can grow even more intense. Breastfeeding can seem like a solitary activity. Partners may have to go back to work immediately after a mom gives birth. And caring for a newborn’s each and every need is exhausting. Babies are draining, no matter what a mom’s circumstances. Add in family challenges, financial concerns, health issues, or other problems and new moms can feel utterly overwhelmed by motherhood.
That’s why it’s so important to start building a network of local moms early. Family can be a huge help and hopefully your partner will do anything you ask and more, but only other moms really get what it’s like to be a first-time mom, how hard pregnancy really is, what birth is really like, and so many of the other experiences of parenthood that are unique to mothers.
Building your network of local moms before you give birth or soon after means you spend less time in that isolation and more time sharing the experience of being a mom with your peers. That’s important because according to studies, moms who get support from other moms are happier and enjoy motherhood more!
Try a prenatal fitness or yoga class to meet local moms. If you’re lucky, you’ll be in a class of moms who are about as far along in their pregnancies as you are in yours. You can begin forging friendships with moms who will be there with you during every age and stage.
Take a group birth class. While private birthing classes are becoming more popular because they offer flexibility and privacy, group birth classes with other local moms are actually a lot of fun. Best of all, you and your partner can connect with other couples due around the same time.
Join your “due date club” on sites like BabyCenter. If you have pregnancy complaints – and what mom doesn’t – due date clubs are the perfect place to let them all out. You’ll find support, commiseration, and advice from moms who are going through the same stuff.
Sign up at HelloMamas.com or use another one of the many mom apps out there. Not every area has groups for expectant moms so going online can be a quick way to find the other pregnant moms or local moms with newborns in your town or city.
Give your hospital mommy group a try. While not every mom’s group will be the right fit for you and your baby, it never hurts to go at least once. You may find that you’re surrounded by supportive mamas who get what you’re going through right now.
Ask your doctor, doula, or midwife to help you find a friend. Of course, they’re not going to be able to give you other moms’ personal information but they may be able to make an introduction or point you toward local moms’ groups or La Leche League meetings.
Look for opportunities to be a part of community happenings. Whether that means volunteering locally, taking Mommy & Me classes, or going to events hosted by your town, leaving the house greatly increases your chances of meeting a fun new mom friend.
Say hello! Sometimes meeting other moms is as easy as making the first move. When you see another mom pushing a stroller in your neighborhood, wave hello and introduce yourself. Maybe she’ll think you’re crazy, or just maybe she’ll be as excited to meet another new mom as you are.
Remember, the best time to make new mom friends is before you need them! Having a group of moms to rely on at the end of pregnancy and the beginning of your motherhood journey is worth all the baby books in the world!