Support Groups for Moms
Susie Michelle Cortright
summer, my car died with my baby and I inside,
so I pushed a rickety second-hand stroller nine
miles to my mothers' support group. I didn't
pack a lunch and the trail snaked deep through
an alpine forest - far from the nearest McDonald's
- so I raided my child's bag of Cheerios and
graham crackers along the way.
I appeared at the group, a little sweatier than
usual, we traded stories about the obstacles
we were willing to overcome to meet together
our industrialized world, children and moms
too often stay isolated in their homes. Less
industrialized countries, where moms spend more
time with other moms, report far fewer cases
of postpartum depression. In fact, researchers
say women with support networks are at a lower
risk for minor ailments, such as colds, as well
as more serious conditions, such as heart disease.
Experts agree that a support network provides
mothers with the opportunity to share ideas,
vent frustration, and compare notes.
groups also provide a connection with the outside
world for moms who are feeling cooped up and
isolated with a new baby. Monica Jones, a stay-at-home
mother of two, says, "Talking to others
in similar situations helped me to realize it's
okay to feel frazzled, and I shouldn't feel
guilty for needing time for myself."
moms in your group could become your best friends
throughout your child's life. These networks
also provide opportunities for your child to
learn social skills. My infant has a much better
day after our mom's group.
groups may also provide the opportunity to keep
your professional skills sharp, or to serve
the community through volunteer work.
Finding an existing Group
Check out local bulletin boards and newspapers
for local groups. Or contact national organizations,
which may have a local chapter in your area.
Your local librarian, pediatrician, or social
services office may know about an existing
group of moms with children in similar age
Brugge is a stay-at-home mother of three who
relies on the support of a diverse network of
friends. "I think it's important to surround
yourself with people who have kids around the
same age as your own," she says. "However,
I also think it's important to be with other
friends whose children are older. I've learned
so much from my more experienced friends."
Forming a new group
If a suitable group does not exist in your
area, consider starting one of your own. Place
an ad in your local newspaper describing yourself
as a mother of young children looking to start
a playgroup or mom support group.
you have more than one recruit, it becomes easier.
Word of mouth travels fast, and there may be
more home-based moms in your area than you realize.
The best places to find people like you are
the places you already frequent.
Getting the word out
Post notices in your church or synagogue,
grocery store, and post office. Most groups
meet once each week for two to three hours.
If each mother is a regular, you might want
to keep your group at four to five moms. Limiting
the number of moms can help assure that you
know them and their parenting styles. If one
mother has an especially divergent parenting
philosophy, she may not be a good match in
your group. Look into securing a public meeting
space, or simply rotate hosting duties, each
week meeting in another member's home.
Michelle Cortright is the author of More
Energy for Moms, a book/workbook that features
a revolutionary support community, and Rekindling
Your Romance After Kids, as well as the Soul
Snacks booklet series, featuring creative ways
to nurture yourself and your family in 15 minutes
or less. Each of these publications is available
through Momscape.com, a website devoted to helping
women celebrate and embrace their diverse roles.
Visit Susie at: http://www.momscape.com