You’ve heard it takes a village to raise a child, but you’ve been stuck inside your house since the Spring of 2020, and now you are expecting! How do you go about creating a sense of community for you and your new baby at a time when most in person meetups are discouraged?
The first step is figuring out what kind of support you’re looking for. Every online community is different and can fulfill different needs and support styles. Ask yourself questions like:
● Am I looking for expert-moderated support or a community of parents with a variety of sources and perspectives?
● How important is it that my village is my current friends and family?
● Might other parents at the same stage as me outside of my community provide another helpful perspective?
● Do I want to build deep relationships or engage with a large group of loose connections?
● Do I have other to-do list itemsI’d like to do in a group like parenting classes or exercise?
Now that you’ve thought about what you’re looking for more specifically, here are some of our favorite ways to create a support system to see you through the hiccups of pregnancy and early parenthood without compromising your health.
Facebook Groups are a great way to bring people together who share things in common, whether that be an interest in gardening, a passion for cloth diapering, or simply living in the same town while raising children. Try searching Facebook for local parenting and mom’s groups by navigating to the Groups page and searching for the city or county you live in and the term “parents” or “moms.” In these groups you can expect to see everything from advice on baby sleep routines to recommendations for the best local pediatricians to posts venting about the common stressors that parents of young children experience. And since these groups are specific to your region, the friends and connections you make there have the potential to turn into IRL friends once it is safe to gather again.
Organizations like Seven Starling are creating a whole new kind of support system for pregnancy and parenthood, one that’s 100% virtual and expert-led. Get matched with an expert Doula and 5-10 other parents at the same stage of their pregnancy or parenthood journey. Build your community and get all your childbirth education and parenting needs covered through bi-weekly sessions with your group that are led by your Doula. Involve a partner or family member in your journey through regular learnings and exercises in the Seven Starling app. Message your Doula anytime for answers that are always evidence-based and personalized for you. If you’re looking to get expert support, a strong community, and feel confident about all the transitions ahead, this is a great place to start. Schedule a free consult or sign up for a membership to get matched with your dedicated Doula and group.
There are several popular message boards online aimed at connecting parents for peer to peer support. The forums cover a wide range of parenting topics, but also include smaller sub-groups based on things like due date (December 2021 Babies), age (Pregnant After 35), and medical concerns (VBAC Support). Try joining one of these due date specific groups to start chatting with others at the same stage in your parenting journey. It’s important to remember though, that not everything you read on a forum or in a group is evidence-based or right for you. It’s always important to check with your doctor for decisions regarding your health or the health of your baby.
By this point we all have a bit of video chat fatigue, but nothing beats being able to talk to our friends and family face to face. If you don’t live near your family or can’t safely gather together with your friends, consider scheduling a standing Zoom meeting once a month. Pre-arranging a time that works with everyone’s calendar will help make it easier to get your family to hop on to a video chat. This is also a great way to be able to show off your growing baby to those you love. Try using an app like Doodle to make selecting a time for your standing date easier.
In the Before Times, a tried and true way to make new friends was by joining a prenatal or Mommy and Me yoga class. Did you know that many yoga and exercise studios are now offering live online classes? Try searching for local studios with live online offerings, or check out the top rated livestream classes from Class Pass.
Seven Starling is committed to helping you discover your way through pregnancy and parenthood with champions at your side. Our inspiration is drawn from the community that comes forth when a child is brought into our world. Extended families, close friends and neighbors have rallied together as our support systems for generations.
Seven Starling provides expert-facilitated group care to parents because we know that empowered pregnancy and parenthood experiences will lead to happier, healthier, and stronger families.
Callai Nagle is a certified Childbirth Educator and Doula and a Member Advocate at Seven Starling. She is a mom of two school-aged kids living in Vancouver, WA. She has a BA in Art History from UCBerkeley, but becoming a mother radically realigned every aspect of her life, including her career goals. After experiencing two empowering births first-hand, she found a new passion in life and has dedicated herself to supporting families during their transition to parenthood through personalized emotional support and evidenced-based education.
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