How to Create a Village of Support When Having a Baby
Did you know that 1 in 7 Australian mothers suffer from the “baby blues”? It might last for two or three days or extend much further.
Having a baby can be a daunting experience in a million ways. But, after the birth of your beautiful child, what do you need the most? Probably a solid support network. We all know the old proverb, “it takes a village to raise a child,” but the question is, why? Why does it take a village?
This proverb couldn’t be more relevant to today’s society. We run around filling our diaries with work meetings and zoom calls. So, time for a baby is hard to find. Even within the last ten years, the average age of first-time mothers in Australia has increased.
As such, we need a “village” or support network to help guide and encourage us. By gathering friends, family and local community, you can create a village. Feeling alone can be detrimental to your and your babies health.
So, start on the right foot and build a support network with our easy steps that you can start today.
Be Honest With Yourself and Others
We all have the fairytale dream that our baby will arrive, the birds will sing, and the sun will shine. But, the reality might be something wholly different. You’ve been assessed and poked, possibly anaesthetised, and almost definitely screamed.
Now, after the experience, you’re at home with your newborn, and your whole world has changed. As such, it’s okay, to be honest with yourself. Your new world is tiring and stressful.
But, by recognising that fact, you can avoid conflicts and start reaching out to other new mums right away. Many people say that the best way to support their new mum friend is to normalise their ever-changing range of emotions. So, do the same for yourself.
Research Local Meetings
Woo hoo for the internet! There is a whole wealth of knowledge and support waiting for you. In Australia, there are many support groups designed for new parents.
But, aside from official ones, don’t be afraid to find your own clubs of like-minded people. Sometimes, as new parents, we need a sense of normalcy. This sense could come from meeting up with friends for coffee or doing something fun.
- Meetup.com is the ideal place for finding a support network focused on enjoyment. You can search by keywords such as “new mum” or “coffee” within your area.
- Speak to your doctor, hospital or local council. They will have a network of new parents groups for you to contact.
- Visit your local library. They often host classes and events to build a support network for new parents.
Find a Mothering Mentor
We’re sure that the concept of a mentor isn’t new to you. But, we’re often surprised that people don’t have a mothering mentor. This person could be someone whose parenting style you respect or admire.
If we compare this to the traditional concept of our village, the elders would be the mentor. Their role is to provide advice, support and encouragement to you on this beautiful journey.
If you have someone in mind, ask them if they would consider the role. If you haven’t found someone yet, you can reach out online. Mothering mentors work best when their parenting style matches your own.
So find a mum network that resonates with your own beliefs and values. And remember that creating a support system starts with you and your needs.
Get Comfortable Breastfeeding and Supplementing
Did you know that 96% of us plan to breastfeed when we leave the hospital? It’s a natural instinct, yet many feel awkward or embarrassed about doing it. So, in these cases supplementing with a non-GMO, organic product is an ideal option.
Also, you can book an Australian Breastfeeding Association education class for new parents. Here, you’ll meet a support network of women who have the same questions as you. You’ll learn about different options and techniques while fostering new relationships.
Create Your Village Together
Don’t forget you already have one person in your team. Your partner can be the cornerstone of your support network. But, it’s important to recognise that partners and fathers also need support.
So sit down together and chat about how you can help each other. It is unrealistic for either of you to expect the other to be the sole supporter. Once you’ve had an honest conversation, you can organise your diaries so that you both have time together and separately.
You can also find new groups to attend together. Again you can find these online at sites like meetup.com and even Facebook. In addition, organisations are creating a support network for new fathers and single parents.
Turn Your Hobby Into a Support Group
Suddenly your world feels like it revolves around your new baby. Some mothers thrive in this fact, while others find themselves losing their personal identity.
Yes, you now have a child. But, that doesn’t mean that the previous you should stop existing. If you had a hobby before, continue with it or find a group of new parents doing activities.
We often see new mums doing exercise, shopping and going about their usual commitments. We love this article about how a time management professional managed to balance being a new mum and her old life.
Learn Something New
Sometimes new mums are not quite ready to return to their usual hobbies. If your hobby is strenuous, you will need to regain physical or mental strength. If it will take time before you can re-join, focus on a new hobby instead.
As humans, we need a daily sense of accomplishment. That could come from getting your child to sleep, or it may be something just for yourself. For example, take up dancing, start learning a new language or even brush up on work skills.
If you are in Sydney, Brisbane or Melbourne, check out the trendy Work-Shop courses available. For example, you could start a course on candle making, jewellery design and even welding.
Find a Women’s Circle for a Deeper Connection
There is increasing demand in Australia for natural products. So, if you are a new mum interested in a more natural way of life, a women’s circle will be a great match.
Women’s circles are open to all women through every stage of their lives. It is not just a mum network; it’s about women being women. This supportive and sisterly love might be what you need.
They will host ceremonies, intention setting sessions, and full moon meals. Check online on Facebook or Eventbrite to find your closest holistic women’s circle.
Build a Support Network
If you can’t find a support network to suit your needs, consider starting one yourself. You can use any of the approaches we’ve suggested as the focus for your group. For example, a hobby group such as “new mums who love dancing” or a parenting style group like “people who are permissive parents.”
In addition, you can speak to your local library to host or upload your mum network to Facebook, meetup.com or one of the other sites we’ve mentioned. It might be scary to do it at first, but you’ll soon gather lots of women in the same situation as you.
Don’t Forget Your Coworkers
If you had a job and have chosen to take maternity leave, remember your relationship with your coworkers. Spending time with your friendly coworkers as a support network can help you retain the feeling of “I’m still me.”
Your coworkers will love to see you blossom as a new mum. Also, your new baby will be spoilt rotten. Then, when you are ready to return to work, you won’t feel a disconnect from your colleagues.
Naturally, most of your conversations now will focus on babies. But, as such, we often hear new mothers saying they struggle to reconnect with non-parent friends. So, keeping your coworkers close as a support network from the start will alleviate this problem.
You’re Not Alone; Reach Out to Your Support Network
The most important thing to remember is that there are thousands, no, millions of women, feeling the same as you. So you are not alone.
By having a solid and reliable support network in place, you’ll feel stronger and more positive. You’ll have a fantastic group where you can ask questions, laugh and make memories. Remember, this is the start of the most awe-inspiring and beautiful journey. Make the most of connecting and sharing these early years.
So, now that you’ve finished reading this article open up a new tab and build a support network today. Then, for more advice, guidance and support, get in touch with the village here at Nutura.
This article is designed to provide general advice for parents and guardians, for specific health advice, please consult with your child’s healthcare practitioner.