It is in a woman’s nature to seek support during the perinatal period. Having a strong community of other support-seekers where one can receive and give help makes the perinatal period more enjoyable. It also, often, forges a bond that lasts far after babies are born and mothers recover.
I was fortunate enough to have two strong support networks while pregnant with my first child. Living in London, we were far from family and long-time friends. But we had the fortunate benefit when taking childbirth classes through the National Childbirth Trust of meeting nine other couples experiencing the transition into parenthood. The other nine families became our family during The Bear’s first year; I don’t want to think about how difficult our early days of parenthood would have been without them. We so bonded with these families that last July, the husband and I took our two boys back to London so that The Bear could celebrate his fifth birthday with his NCT pals. It was a fantastic day of reminiscing and laughing and marvelling at how we had all changed in five years.
I also had a group of girlfriends I met online on a now-defunct message board. These women and I continue to keep up with each others’ lives through LiveJournal— six years after we first started chatting about pregnancy aches, pains, and miracles. I have met many of my online friends in ‘real life’, as we’ve travelled for visits, stayed in each others’ homes, and become much more than chat buddies.
Although I now approach the perinatal world as a professional rather than a participant, I know of two fantastic ways for women to build community. Seek out a perinatal fitness class, such as yoga or a circuit training class like I offer at Soma Vida in Austin. Meeting other perinatal women who are interested in wellness automatically gives you two things in common. Go from there!
Online, there is a fantastic new resource called Pampered Pregger & Beyond, which has especially useful support information for women who suffer from PPD and/or women who have had caesarean section deliveries. There are a multitude of articles linked to the site that have scientifically-based information to help women make informed decisions. There is also a monthly chat and message capabilities to connect perinatal women and experts.
Whether online or in-the-flesh, creating a support network during the perinatal period is a vital element to an overall sense of wellness.
Good health and great happiness to you.