Where to find support…
We all need support. But, alot changes after you have a baby. And some of your regular outlets or friends may not be as available. Or, your schedule has changed and you’ve lost touch with old activities. Or, you’ve been a mom for so long (or not so long) that you’ve forgotten who else you are and how to make friends.
So, where do you find the support that you need and deserve?
1- Just as their names say, specific support groups either for moms (mostly newer moms attend these) or for more general mental health needs such as depression or anxiety can be the perfect place to find people who can commiserate and identify with where you are at in life. For mom support check postpartumhelp.net and for general mh support check NAMI.org
2- Other moms…moms in your family, friend moms, moms of your kids friends. Being a mom is taxing and lonely sometimes. You may be surprised how unalone you really are if you reach out to other moms you know. If you aren’t ready to disclose how you are feeling, just start with a general lunch or coffee invite and see how much it can help to just be around another mom.
3- Gym classes- these can be intimidating but also empowering. To be in a room with other women. Working hard and being encouraged. Particularly yoga which lends itself to kindness, welcoming, everyone honoring individual abilities. Or small group personal training. This can get expensive unless you find a reasonably priced gym where classes are included. Also, some gyms have organized activities such as basketball or other rec team sports. Awaken your former athlete. And remember, YMCAs and some other gyms offer childcare.
4- Take a class. An art class, a music class, or audit a college course (usually free). Refresh a former talent or learn something new. Go in person (not online) for a break from parenting and a chance to be around people with a shared interest.
5- Religious centers. Whether you attend regularly or have not attended recently. Finding the right religious center for you can create an immense support system. Keep looking until you find the right one for you. Check out volunteer opportunities, women’s groups or coffee gatherings. And don’t forget to see if childcare is offered during service or other meetings so you can fully engage and know your child is cared for nearby.
6- Volunteer opportunities – follow your passion or find an organization that can use skills you have. Get involved. Whether you can serve on a board or only help out in evenings from home, volunteering can give you a new community with a shared interest.
7- Online- I offer this suggestion with reservations. Online support sites or chatrooms can be very supportive but can also encourage isolation at home. Be very careful to choose the right site that is known and trusted, or recommend by someone you trust. And make sure you limit your involvement to a certain amount of time a day so as not to get too consumed. Face-to-face, real world interaction is important.
Whether you try one of the above suggestions or have another idea, there’s no day like today to seize the opportunity. You need support, you deserve support and there are always new places to find it. Take care of you!