Motherhood is a life-changing experience. In those moments immediately following the birth of your first child, you cannot anticipate or truly understand how it will not only change your life, but also your identity. If you are lucky enough to have friends who are also mothers, it can be like joining a club, a welcoming “place” in which the joys and trials of motherhood can be shared. But what if you are the first of your friends to have a child? What if you’ve just moved to a new place with little ones and just don’t know anyone? How do you reach out to others for friendship and support?
As someone who has moved three times during my daughter’s first year of life (which I highly, highly do not recommend), I’ve lived through this scenario multiple times. It can be just plain tough to meet other moms, especially if you don’t know where to start. It is even tougher if you are that “weird” mama who practices natural parenting ideas such as AP, nursing a toddler, or (gasp!) co-sleeping.
There were times that I would be out grocery shopping or running errands with my daughter in her sling and see another mom. We would make eye contact and give each other that smile that often says, “I bet we could be friends, but I’m not sure if you feel the same way.” So many times I wanted to reach out to a fellow mother and say, “Hey, let’s go get coffee and chat about this wild ride called being a mama.” But I didn’t.
I’ve learned over the past year that many other moms feel as lonely as I have. That it doesn’t take much to reach out and say hello. And with my many (really, too many) experiences with trying to meet other women, here is my go-to list of places to start:
- Childbirth classes such as Bradley Method, Brio, Lamaze, or Hypnobirthing are a wonderful place to start. Some hospitals offer excellent courses as well.
- Prenatal fitness classes such as yoga or other low-impact activities geared toward pregnant women.
- Hire a doula or midwife for the birth and tap into her network of like-minded women.
First year and beyond:
- La Leche League offers an excellent breastfeeding resource and community.
- Moms groups such as Holistic Moms Network offer organized playgroups, mom’s night out, and even book clubs. Many communities have their own grassroots version of this, so ask around or even think of starting your own!
- Community and faith-based groups can be a wonderful place to connect with other families that are like-minded.
- Local toy or baby stores also tend to keep a resource list of local moms groups.
The last piece of advice I can offer is to reach out to other mamas that you come across. Say hello and offer a smile, even if it is intimidating. Who knows, that person might end up becoming your new best friend!
What is your best piece of advice for meeting other mothers and building lasting friendships?
Kate, who recently moved cross-country to Oklahoma City, is trying to follow her own advice and reach out to other mamas. You can find her wandering grocery stores, the local cloth diaper store, and mom groups looking for new friends. Follow her adventures in a new city at Boomerang Mama.