“The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman
existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.”
How do our communities support the motherhood transition? Let me start by saying that the motivation for this topic comes from my strong belief that we are simply not meant to mother in isolation. In certain parts of the world women mother in some form of “community”….women may find themselves with their babies wrapped on their backs washing clothes at the river or selling produce at the market around other mothers, or simply living in extended family households. Whereas with nuclear families, in our culture, in this day in age in particular, mothers tend to find themselves more isolated. Therefore, it often takes a conscious effort to make connections with other mothers.
What kind of support is there for women as they are finding their way as new mothers? There are new mother support groups, “stroller stride” classes, mom & baby yoga classes, breastfeeding support groups, and so much more….
After my son was born I attended a few postnatal groups/classes and benefitted greatly from the community of mothers I connected with. There is something so therapeutic about being in a group where others are expressing similar concerns…..those concerns that often come forth in your life as a mother – sleep (baby’s sleep and yours), baby’s crying, changes with your partner, how to meet your own basic needs, and more….
I like to share this story……
When my son was around 5 weeks old there was something going on with his sleep that was confusing to me. And, I asked one of my friends (who had a 3 year old) about whether she ever had anything like this come up when her child was an infant, and she nonchalantly said “huh….to tell you the truth I don’t remember.” Here I was riding the waves of new motherhood, trying to understand my baby, and I was flabbergasted that my friend did not remember if this was ever even an issue with her baby because honestly for me the question at hand was an earth shattering matter! However, my friend had gone not only through the newborn phase with her little one, but also through the phases of crawling, first steps, first words, potty training, toddler, etc etc.. To her this newborn phase was in a sense “ancient history”. After I came to the realization that we were in very different stages of parenting, I felt further drawn to be around other “brand new” moms, in addition to my mom friends who had older children.
Some mothers have the desire to go to a group or class, but find the thought of getting out of the house with a new baby to be overwhelming. Some of my clients share what goes through their minds when they are considering going to a group – like “what if I am late?, what if the baby has a blowout?, what if my baby screams the entire time?, what if I am the only one there bottle feeding?,” etc, etc. I can appreciate that sometimes finding ones’ way out into the world as a new mother may feel like no small task.
Thankfully, these types of groups/classes meet new mothers with open arms and hearts…and don’t care if moms show up late, with a screaming baby, with their hair unbrushed, etc. And, in these groups there is always someone else who is looking for connection – someone to go have lunch with after the group, someone to meet for a walk by the ocean….
In my case, one of the most wonderful things that came out of me connecting with other mothers was that a group of 8 of us made our own mother’s group . We met weekly – rain or shine – frazzled or not – completely sleep deprived or somewhat together. We met at places like Wilder Ranch, Natural Bridges, one of our living rooms, Nissene Marks, etc. We shared together in the joys and challenges of motherhood. We learned from one another…. We were all in the same boat, riding the waves of new motherhood, finding our way…at times with grace and at times with reckless abandon. Eventually we ended up trading childcare with one another.
And, the cream on top? A few of these women are my closest friends to this day….yes…16 years later. We have watched our kids grow up side by side. Pretty amazing….and, two of the boys from that group happen to be among my son’s best friends!
To name a few of the great resources/groups/classes for new moms in Santa Cruz specifically:
Note: This is not all inclusive and please double check days/times in case they have changed. These happen to be the ones that I am aware of and which my clients rave to me about.
|New Mom & Baby Connection Thurs 1:30-2:30 Luma Yoga
Postnatal Yoga Tues & Thurs 10:30-11:50 at Luma Yoga
Mom & Baby Yoga Wed 10-11:30 at Pacific Cultural Center
Parent Support Circle Fri 10 am at Full Moon
Tummy Time on some Wednesdays at Luma
Postpartum Wellness Group Mon 10-11:30 at Sutter
Parent support group Tues 10-11:30 at Sutter
Stroller Strides walks/classes – various with FIT4MOM SC
Womb Song 3rd Mon of month 7-8:30 at Pacific Cultural Center
Mothersong Wed & Thurs mornings at the Tannery
Santa Cruz Babywearing Meeting 2nd Sun of month 10am at Full Moon