Social Connections Building an All-Star Support Team
When you’re a new mom, it can be all too easy to isolate yourself and your newborn. Who wants to see you with spit-up in your hair anyway? All joking aside, a poor support system can increase your risk of postpartum depression, clinical depression, and anxiety. What’s worse, your old friend group may be out of sync with your new lifestyle. Building a support system may require you to step outside your comfort zone to find others who are at the same point in their parenting journey. Here are some tips to ease the transition.
Get out there and get friendly. Go to the places where other moms congregate and screw up the courage to introduce yourself. Common mom-magnets include the local park, indoor play lands, and libraries. At first reaching out might feel awkward – it’s a little like dating – but remember that many moms are searching for the same camaraderie you are. Try a casual approach like, “We usually come here on Friday afternoons, if you’d like to meet up next week?”
Turn your work out into a play date. Many cities have running groups, yoga classes and workout classes designed for you and your baby. These groups are great, because they offer you the opportunity to bond over a common interest in addition to your new motherhood. And of-course, the added bonus of staying in shape will elevate your mood and overall health.
Draw on community resources. Many organizations in your community probably facilitate groups designed to bring new moms and their children together. Check out the local parks and recreation, community education, and public school systems as well as churches and hospitals. Regularly scheduled meeting times give you something to look forward to, and can provide the jumping off point for lasting friendships.
Go online and find your people. The wonderful thing about social media networks, message boards and forums is that you can find like-minded moms from all over the world. Countless websites, blogs and social media groups are devoted to parenting and being a mother. Connecting with kindred spirits that share your views on parenting and life in general is comforting and validating. This can also be a great outlet for introverts who find the prospect of making new friends intimidating.
Don’t forget your childless friends and family. It might seem counter-intuitive, but your existing network of friends might hold back from calling because they assume you’re busy with baby. Take the initiative and call old friends for a laugh, to reminisce about old times and for the comfort of a familiar voice on the end of the line. Live vicariously through them and enjoy listening to problems that don’t revolve around feeding and sleep schedules. Even if they can’t relate to everything you’re going through, they know you well, and want to be there for you. Let them.
However you choose to build your team of all-star team, make sure you find a way to get the support you need. It’s good for you, and good for your baby.
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