For the first time mother, a new moms group can be an anchor during long days of on-demand feedings and unpredictable naps. It's a commitment outside the house. No one cares if there's spit up on the baby's (or your) outfit. And you can find reassurance that others are going through the same challenges, while hearing from the experienced moms of babies a few months older that it does in fact get better - or at least change. Groups combat the stir-crazy.
When your mind immediately imagines getting into an accident every time you put your baby in his car seat; when the pure physical ache of grief floods you each time you try to stand up; when you are facing yet another roller coaster month of hope and despair and anger; when you can't stop yourself from yelling at your child you can feel enveloped in a fog of isolation.
For these individuals dealing with postpartum emotional complications, loss, infertility, parenting challenges—and so many more issues—a support group can be a lifeline.
The mere act of being in a room with others fights that isolation. In a group, you hear that others have said/thought/felt/done similar things. They nod, they pass the tissues, they laugh with you, and their eyes tear up because they recognize your story. Sometimes you have the perfect resource or a "been there done that" to share that helps someone else. Sometimes you just want to go to report a great success. You can leave a support group more confident, less alone, with a tiny bit less stress, with an idea to implement, simply lighter after a good cry or a vent or a laugh. You can find solace in a group.
I recently announced a new group that I'm running at First Connections in Concord. It's a 6-Saturday group and the intention was to schedule a group on the weekend to offer something for parents who've returned to work (or who have always been working outside the home). So, I called it a "Working Parent Group." But, I realized that just perpetuates artificial divisions between parents who work outside the home or at home or stay home or work part-time or some combination, when the goal of the group is to actually make connections among parents! So, I edited how I describe the group here on my website. And this is what parenting is often about: doing your best, recognizing when you've made a mistake, and then fixing it. Certainly not what I imagined parenting to be!
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