By Kali Dawson, Crosswalk.com
When I became a new mom seven years ago, I had a great deal of difficulty making new mom friends. This was partially my fault. I had just endured a high-risk pregnancy and six months of bed rest. Not only was I exhausted, like all new moms, but I was also terrified: terrified something might happen to my new baby, who we almost lost more than once. So I kept him very close. I spent a lot of time with just him and no one else. I was scared of him ever getting sick. You read so many horror stories about what can happen to new babies when they get sick. I Googled everything and lived in a constant state of fear for a very long time.
My husband worked 12 hour days and nights. I did not have my license because I had always been scared of driving. So I spent many days with him in a stroller out for walks with our two dogs. I liked having him as my whole world, but eventually, I started having days where I felt incredibly lonely. I felt like a baby feeding machine. I was having so many struggles that I knew my husband would not be able to enter into, and I soon realized:
I needed to make some mom friends. But I had been hurt by girlfriends in the past—many times. So I kept myself very guarded. I was also very vulnerable due to sleep deprivation and not feeling anything like myself postpartum. Most days, I just wanted to cry. But when I was out in public and around family members, I would smile like everything was fine.
I had a friend who had been pregnant at the same time I was, and I'll never forget the day she picked me up to take our little ones to the park. I didn't want to go anywhere. I didn't want to interact with people. I was stressed about having him in the car seat, but I knew it was time to stop isolating myself as a new mom. And so we went to the park. This might sound silly to some, but for me, this was a huge deal. This day was a breakthrough. I met other moms at the park who were just as tired as I was. We talked and laughed. I didn't realize what I was missing out on: until I found it.
A community. A community of moms. I have always been the kind of person who wanted to do everything by myself. But I learned back then that motherhood isn't something I can do all alone. At the very least, I need someone to talk to when times get tough and I feel like I'm failing. And now here I am, two more babies later writing to you about this exact thing:
How to Seek Community as a New Mom
These were some things that helped me since I've become a mom of three, and I pray that they will help you too:
1. Join a Facebook Group:
Find a Facebook Group of Moms that have been through what you're going through. When I asked my doctor how many women he sees a year that have the condition I do, which caused me to have three high-risk pregnancies, he jokingly said, "1.5." That year, he only had me. He explained he had some others over the years, but it was not at all common. And I wasn't surprised because I had never talked to another mom who endured all the scary things and surgeries I did during pregnancy until one night I was so anxious and so alone: I searched my condition on Facebook. And I found a group of moms who had been or were actually in the same position as me from all over the world. And I think it rescued me in a way during that time because I was so scared of everything and something happening to my baby. I was tired of hearing how much my friends loved being pregnant when I was in so much pain and so uncomfortable the whole way through. I was also pregnant with my third baby in 2020 during the onset of the Pandemic, so leaving the house wasn't a possibility for me at all. Finding a group of moms online helped me as a new mom, and perhaps it might help you too.
2. Read articles and True Stories Written by Other Moms
There are tons of Momma writers out there, and it was so uplifting for me to read real stories from real Moms. It was a way for me to seek community while not even realizing I was doing it, and it was a great comfort for me. Her View From Home was one of the first sites I landed on, and the stories I read from other women there had me sobbing happy tears on my kitchen floor. I wasn't alone. They knew what I was going through. I found a whole new community of moms that way, and years later, I now write for them and help other women along their Journey.
3. Seek Community at the playground/park:
It sounds simple, but I've met so many other moms with so much to talk about at the park. Just dying for a little bit of adult time while the kids run and play. My husband and I have had wonderful conversations with other couples at the park while the kids climb and slide. Never underestimate the community you will find at your neighborhood park. It doesn't cost a penny and the moments and memories made there will never be forgotten. When my husband was gone for 12 hour days, and my two youngest were not yet in school, we sometimes went to parks three times a day. It was all they wanted to do, and so it was impossible for me not to talk to another momma at some point.
The biggest thing I can leave you with you, new momma, is this: Never ever isolate yourself.
No matter how tired you are, no matter how disgustingly messy and neglected your house is, don't isolate yourself. If your hair is on day seven of old dry shampoo, throw on a baseball cap and get out with that baby. Do whatever you can wherever you are, and if it is unsafe to see community outside your home, I hope some of my above suggestions will help you.
Don't isolate yourself. You are never alone. God is always with you and so pray out all of those frustrations. He's there, waiting to listen and hold you near while you hold your sweet baby.
Photo credit: © Getty Images/Rawpixel
Kali Dawson graduated from St. Thomas University with a B.A. in English and a Minor in Journalism and Communications. She is a School Teacher, Pilates Instructor, and Mama of two young children and a beautiful 2020 baby. She is married to her real-life Superhero. When she's not holding small hands or looking for raised hands you will find her writing fervently about faith and family. To read more, you can find her on Facebook at Faith, Family, Freelance.