It’s not an exaggeration to say that my mom friends saved my sanity. Moving to New York City while four months pregnant meant that I found myself not knowing a single person in my new Brooklyn neighborhood. Just before my baby was born, I sent an email out to a local parents mailing list asking for recommendations on how to join a mother’s group. As luck had it, a sweet local mom invited me to join hers. She has no idea how grateful I am to her for this as, without that community, I’m not sure I would have made it through my child’s first year.
Turning up to meet the group was insanely nerve wracking – would they like me? What would I have in common with these women? What would I wear? (I was the size of a house at this stage, so like I even had a choice about it!) It was like the first day of high school all over again.
As it turned out, I didn’t have to worry! Everyone was either similarly hugely pregnant or struggling with their newborn, and – for those first crucial months – all that I needed was simply to be around a group of women who understood what I was going through. We met every week and got to know each other under the exhaustion and emotional rollercoaster that is motherhood. While I didn’t have a clue what these women used to do for work, or what their lives were even remotely like pre-baby – all we spoke about for months were infant dilemmas, from messy diapers to coping with no sleep – I knew I could reach out to them whenever I was stressed, miserable or lonely.
Ways to meet other new moms.
Even if you aren’t part of a mother’s group, there are other ways to meet new moms. One of the best things about living in a densely populated, urban area is how easy it is to meet people – if you’re open to it. While you think all of the other moms at the local playground look like they totally have everything together, the truth is that most likely they’re just like you: occasionally overwhelmed, often sleep deprived, and starved for some adult companionship.
While it can feel awkward trying to talk with a stranger, a simple “Your baby is adorable” is usually all it takes to open the door to a conversation. Be prepared to share something about your experience, even if it’s with a complete stranger. If your kid is a breeze, be open about whatever else you’re finding to be difficult – even if it’s just how frustrated you feel trying to get your kid to keep his hat on his head, and ask her how she does it. If you find someone you think you might click with, don’t be shy. Let them know you’re at that park every day at the same time, or ask them if they’d like to get together for a play date soon.
Trying to make friends while living in less populated areas can be more challenging. When it’s hard to get out of the house and there aren’t any parks nearby, you can always turn to our trusty friend, the Internet, and join an online parenting community. If all else fails, check out your local bookstore for other moms trying to waste time wandering around with a sleeping baby.
So when you see groups of happy-looking mommies and babies and wonder how to get yourself into a similar group, just remember: be bold and brave – and say hi! The great thing about moms of new babies is that they’re usually looking to make new friends; they sometimes just need someone to reach out and make the first move.
Our parenting advice is given as suggestions only. We recommend you also consult your healthcare provider, and urge you to contact them immediately if your question is urgent or about a medical condition.