Everyone expects their lives to change with the birth of their first baby. No one is ever completely prepared for the isolation that can accompany motherhood. Mothers need other mothers in their lives – it’s their first line of defense against postpartum depression (PPD) or the baby blues. For some of us, that means we need to find an entirely new set of friends — girlfriends who understand our deep desire to just pee alone.
To this day I still have (and treasure) friendships that were birthed as a young mother close to four decades ago. Several friendships were formed around my first born son, who was an “energetic” little guy.
We tend to expect our husbands to fill a role in our lives that only girlfriends can. Good friends and meaningful friendships flourish on two elements — need, and a commonality. Enter motherhood.
The first trick is to come out of the house. I know. It’s hard. Sometimes it takes more than two changes of clothes. Diapers always explode 10 minutes before you walk out of the door. Save yourself some frustration and count on it.
I met one of my best friends at a laundromat. I spotted this frazzled mom trying to keep her son from climbing into a clothes dryer. We had an instant bond of understanding and a lifelong friendship was born. I found that the “baby pool” at a local community pool and church nurseries were also great places to strike up friendships.
Moms groups are perfect for meeting lots of mothers in one place, giving you a better chance to connect. Try befriending the mom of the child who just became your three-year-old’s best friend.
Even though we live in a social media age, don’t settle for online friendships alone. Nothing beats sipping Darjeeling while sitting in the middle of another mom’s laundry pile with babies playing happily at your feet.
You’re lucky, this is the information age, so you have lots of options.
Next page: Some options for you to explore.
Here are some organizations you might want to explore:
This organization uses a beautiful website and magazine to create a climate for a community of mothers.
From The Village website:
Under its shell, The Village is more than just a magazine, it’s a community of women, sisters, friends, and mothers who seek to meet, help, encourage, support and love one another. We Gather The Village in a multitude of ways. Including our quarterly dinners for mothers hosted in cities across the globe, workshops, Village Wisdom via our Facebook chat, and last but certainly not least our yearly women’s retreat.
Eight women gathered together to talk, have a bit of creative expression and spiritual refreshing in the early seventies. Today MOPS (short for Mothers of Preschoolers) has grown to be an international organization that continues in that vein and cultivates leadership while helping mothers nurture their children and friendships.
This group believes that being a mother shouldn’t isolate you. It’s a group for all mothers who have chosen to stay at home with their children. They have an established support system, local chapters, and volunteer coordinators. They offer advice, ideas, help, get togethers, newsletters, and luncheons.
LaLache League (LLL)
This has to be my all time favorite. Two of my dearest friendships were formed while we nursed our babies and learned to read the color of baby poop. As a military wife, I needed LLL every time I moved to a new area — they were even in Berlin, Germany. This group started as a group of breastfeeding women that met at a church picnic in 1956 at a time when only 20 percent of mothers were breastfeeding. Formula was considered superior by the medical profession then. These women began to offer other women their wisdom and experience. Together they have literally changed the world by teaching mothers the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding and nurturing friendships.
If none of the above suits your needs, don’t give up, and don’t go it alone — start your own group. Who knows? You could be the next founder of something that changes mothering for your generation!