When my son was about 3 months old, a customer of mine suggested that I take him to the library for one of the free classes they provide for parents and kids in the children’s department. I asked her, what could he possibly do there at his young age? She said the programs are not only for him, but they’re for me too. She told me that the local La Leche League group meets there once a month and that I should attend so he can play with other babies and I could meet moms from the area.
So I pushed my social anxiety aside, grabbed his overstuffed diaper bag, our huge coats and headed to our library. Ms. Kathy started out by introducing herself and everyone else introduced themselves and their babies. Most of the babies played on the floor while the moms just talked about the experiences we were having so far. It was so comforting to realize how normal my experiences were after talking about them with other moms that have gone through the same thing. I felt so relieved and thankful that our library hosted groups like this.
We loved our first class and Ms. Kathy was so warm and inviting that we took all of her classes every month. He really looked forward to each one as we started to create relationships with other families that attended. He met his best friend in those classes and four years later, they are still two peas in a pod.And for me, I got to create a network of moms to talk to in the area that really helped me through so many big and small issues in parenting.
When I was pregnant with my second baby, I found myself in need of a community again. I had a lot of trauma from the rough delivery of my son that came to light while I was pregnant with my daughter. With my son, I ended up having an emergency c-section after 4 days of labor. Another mama I met in the library, Jenn, pointed me in the direction of an online support group that also met in the library. I started attending birth talks at the library to help me work through my anxieties of having to labor again. I was petrified of having to labor again and just the thought of it could send me into a panic.
These moms listened to my stories about labor with my first and identified many things I could do differently to avoid repeating my experience again. They said I needed to let my mom come too this time, and I needed to find a doula to attend my birth. Not being able to afford one, they suggested asking someone in training. At this time, Ms. Kathy had just completed her doula certification and was ready to help moms get through their delivery. We already had a great relationship from library classes so it seemed like the perfect fit.
After months of research, birth talks and collecting birth affirmations, I was able to have the birth story that I wanted the first time around. All the moms helped quiet down my anxieties, and I was able to talk about labor without that lump in my throat that was there in the beginning of my pregnancy. I credit my mom and Kathy being there to help me keep going when I didn’t want to anymore. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the community and support that I found in the library.
So new moms, if you are looking to build a community of support to help you survive motherhood, head to your local library and sign up for a program. And to every mom that I’ve met in the library that listened to me and gave me good advice, had a play date with us, helped me wrangle one of my kids when they ran off, thank you for being there for me and happy Mother’s Day.